Artificial Intelligence has entered the chat
October 4, 2011 - The first time the world heard the words, “Hey, Siri!”, it was the first day Artificial Intelligence (AI) was introduced into the day-to-day lives of the common people. Siri quickly became the one-stop solution for all our questions. Starting from our morning alarms to recommending a restaurant nearby - everything became extremely simple. AI entered our lives in the form of a hyper-personalised assistant.
It was not long before different brands started relying on AI to assist their users and learn more about their habits, thoughts, and patterns. Brands that were till now just names and logos came alive. They were not just interacting with the user but also learning and growing with them.
This was a decade ago. Now in 2021, AI has gone beyond assisting users - it is shaping the user’s thought process and behavioural patterns. The world of marketing has moved on from targeting audiences to targeting individuals and their needs. The question is how are these new technologies and developments changing brands?
AI is opening new avenues for brands to reimagine, reinvent and revamp themselves.
According to Forbes, the AI adoption rate in the industry is set to go up by 155%.
Let’s consider the case of Amazon. Amazon has been a pioneer in the art of personalised recommendations. They use their consumer data to enhance the user’s experience. As their algorithms become more and more sophisticated, they’ve started using the individual’s thought patterns beyond the world of Amazon. The recommendations now are largely based on your internet search and on people who are similar to you. With dynamic pricing, Amazon has also been able to optimise its revenue and sales.
Living up to their reputation as a leader in the field, Amazon has recently introduced checkout-free physical stores in Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco. Equipped with AI-powered sensors and cameras, this technology can tell exactly which items a customer has picked up and will charge them automatically as they walk out of the store using the Amazon Go app.
Even brands that are not essentially technology-based have integrated AI into their fabric to make their consumer experience more than just their product. A great example of this is Nike, which started with a fitness monitoring AI system and have evolved into using algorithms to empower a user to design their shoes at the store. According to Nike Chief Digital Officer Adam Sussman, Nike wants to, “deepen our bench of digital talent and further our capabilities in computer vision and artificial intelligence as we create the most compelling Nike consumer experience at every touchpoint.”
As more and more parameters are emerging, brands are also developing and growing in real-time. Brands have gone from marketing to a group to hyper-personalization in a very short period. In the coming times, that is closer than we can anticipate, brands that understand the data and utilise it in new ways while creating new patterns and thought processes will hold an edge over others.
With the enormous amount of data at the disposal, brands have the potential to create and change mindsets. They need to push the boundaries and try different permutations and combinations to hit the right chords with their consumers. For example, in a bold move, Samsung kept the voice of a mother alive as an AI to guide the child through her life after being diagnosed with a terminally ill disease. This is just a small example that perfectly portrays the ocean of opportunities AI opens up for brands.
The global AI market is predicted to snowball in the next few years, reaching a $190.61 billion market value in 2025. This just indicates how vastly the opportunity for a brand to optimise the use of artificial intelligence runs.
AI-led customer experience is becoming a top priority for brands.
One of the most important tasks that can be assigned to an AI is to identify the right set of consumers. Ones that are not just giving you sales but are also in line with the ideals of the brand. We can identify customer behaviours, expectations, buying patterns, amongst other things, which further enables us to reshape our strategies accordingly.
In a recent survey, it was revealed that between developing a customer experience, pricing, and product, the top priority for brands is customer experience. It can also be argued that for a user, customer experience has overshadowed pricing and product as a deciding factor while making the purchase. 86% of the customers don’t mind paying extra for a better user experience.
According to Forbes, it has been estimated that by 2025, 95% of customer interactions will be led by AI.
Artificial intelligence can not just help you drive revenue and sales, it can also help create a user experience so enthralling, it can retain the consumer irrespective of the product and the services offered.
While incredibly helpful, AI poses many ethical challenges for brands.
While Artificial Intelligence has become an indispensable part of many brands and marketing exercises and there is a growing consensus in favour of using AI as an aid to better marketing, there is also a growing scepticism around the ethical and moral aspect of AI.
Marketers have an ethical responsibility to ensure the safe and effective use of consumer data when it comes to using AI. Instances of unethical use of consumer data is not an unknown phenomenon but a small slip can cause a huge dent in the brand’s reputation.
When it comes to exploiting the data available on a consumer, marketers should make sure that they are not exploitative or harmful.
Almost 80% of respondents in a current survey said they are very or somewhat concerned about how companies are using the data they collect about them.
In Conclusion: The Future is just like the present - FLUID
For an increasing number of businesses, customer experience using artificial intelligence is their top priority in 2021.
With more and more ways to use data, brands have entered the era of adaptability. The notion of brands being consistent and stable has become redundant. There is a great need for brands to get used to the idea that they can give their customers anything and everything they want and at the right time. A more flexible approach will make space for innovative brand solutions and stronger customer bonds. Your brand should be able to flow as the trends and moods flow without being exploitative and using the consumer data responsibly.
The future of branding is going to be defined by how well a brand can understand and use the data generated by its users. The challenge has shifted from procuring the data to understanding that data, decoding it, absorbing it, and then optimising it to benefit the brand.
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