February 3, 20217 min read
This article was written by Cathy Hackl from Forbes
Artificial intelligence is top of mind for many in the marketing and communications world. Many Marcom departments already use AI to analyze consumer behavior and try to predict future needs. Many brands use algorithms to recommend personalized content, show personalized ads, as well as power customer service chatbots. But what if AI can help brands take their brand voice to the next level?
Brands usually spend thousands, if not millions of dollars, fine-tuning their brand voice, which describes a company’s personality. Now, AI in digital marketing has a whole new face – literally, as digital avatars and synthetic beings enter the digital marketing world. Here are three examples of how brands are using artificial intelligence in interesting new ways to power campaigns beyond what’s been done before.
Before AI marketing, companies would have to shoot the same commercial multiple times but with a different brand name or item, but now AI lets brands reach all markets they operate in with reduced time and money. Synthesia, an artificial intelligence, and video synthesis company, showed that’s no longer the case.
In a recent project posted on their website, Synthesia partnered with global marketing and ad agency Craftww to save their client, JustEat, a lot of money. The agency had worked with JustEat on a widely successful Snoop Dogg advertisement. JustEat’s Australian subsidiary is called MenuLog, and the client wanted to leverage the successful campaign in all the markets they operate. However, they only recorded the original “JustEat” version of the ad.
You can see their first video here.
With Synthesia’s help, they were able to transcreate the ad. They took the Snoop Dogg commercial for Craftww’s JustEat brand and morphed it into a commercial for JustEat’s subsidiary called MenuLog. How they did it is the interesting part of this story.
Synthesia did more than swap out logos. They changed Snoop Dogg’s lip movements in all the shots of the commercial. The outcome was a considerable cost savings for the client because they didn’t need to produce the ad twice.
You can see the version for MenuLog here.
Synthesia believes that synthetic media and deep learning will create a new generation of content creation tools that are “are empowering, effective, and ethical, for everyone.”
The connected world of devices combined with artificial intelligence has created a new frontier for companies to explore: Business to Robot to Consumer (B2R2C). While the new business model may be a lot to take in, the applications are simple but powerful. Marketing to robots happens when more virtual assistants, digital avatars, and even robots become the gatekeepers between brands and consumers. For example, when your voice assistant knows what you need to buy for your pantry before you even know you need it.
Enter the AI Foundation, an organization at the forefront of this new trend. It has been partnering with personalities like Deepak Chopra and Sir Richard Branson to further their mission of responsibly moving the world forward by giving each of us our own AI that shares our personal values and goals.
For the Foundation, AI will revolutionize how people connect, communicate, live, and work. This, in turn, will create a massive potential for those who own it, but AI can pose grave threats when used by a few to manipulate us, when it malfunctions, and when it divides us, but AI itself can help prevent this. For them, AI must be for all, and we each need our own AI — to protect us, make us wiser and more powerful, and unlock the full potential of our world.
The AI Foundation is working on use cases where people can benefit from AI in their day to day life — cooking is one that recently became increasingly important as we’re spending more time in our kitchen’s lately. The are working on an AI chef “who’s familiar with what is in your kitchen, pantry, and even knows what is on your mind for dinner!” The AI chef helps customers perfect their favorite dish or share new recipes based on their favorite ingredients.
”With our technology, companies, and brands can build a stronger connection with their customers/fans through more interactive and intelligent engagement. They can learn exactly what users want and are interested in, and deliver better value and less noise through 1-1 conversations,” said Chris Acosta, VP of Product Innovation & Growth at the AI Foundation.
In a video on the Foundation’s Facebook page, a woman talks to her AI chef. They have a conversation about making a meal or start prepping for dinner. The woman says that she’d like to make stuffed bell peppers. The AI Chef responds that “great stomachs think alike.”
Synthesia & the AI Foundation aren’t the only organizations working to make digital people available to brands for engaging and compelling experiences. Soul Machines announced in May that it’s making their Digital DNA™ Studio (DDNA Studio) available for companies so that “brands can connect with every customer in a personalized way at scale with Soul Machines’ Digital People.”
Soul Machine’s Digital people are “designed to deliver the personalized, emotionally engaging experience that customers crave with brands at a cost that allows them to scale.” Creating digital people no longer takes a team of developers and CGI experts. Brands can now use the Digital DNA studio to develop people that match their brand’s culture and customers to create a more engaging experience. Soul Machine calls the artificial intelligence that powers their digital humans the “Digital Brain,” which drives the Autonomous Animation functionality.
Soul Machine says use cases for digital people range from training, entertainment, and financial services – any type of repetitive business function. But digital people can perform them in ways that seem more helpful than an automated chatbot.
Soul Machine’s Digital People are designed to evolve over time based on user interactions. Soul Machine believes it’s important to see through the “smoke and mirrors of high-tech marketing [it] requires a clear definition and taxonomy for understanding the new generation of Digital Humans that will soon surround us.” In order to give these new digital humans a personality that matches their brand, companies will have to define their brand values, the role they need the digital human to fill, and do it in a way that appeals to their client base.
These examples show that artificial intelligence, when used creatively, can do more than the grunt work. It is a way to build relationships with customers on a personal level while at the same time scaling at large in a cost-effective way. It’s important to go beyond equating AI to only chatbots and have conversations around how AI can actually work in service of brands and, in turn, be used to better their customer’s experience.
We should continue to have meaningful discussions around deepfakes and setting up safeguards and ethics around synthetic media. But, we must also move the conversation beyond just focusing on that element of synthetic media. It’s also time for brands and businesses to better understand the broader trends that are on the horizon, so they are prepared for the future of marketing to come.