Six Examples of Where a Creative Use of AI Can Build Businesses and Brands
Aloísio Pinto, chief product officer from Isobar Brazil digs into short-termism, draws from the results of Isobar’s latest creative experience survey and lists six examples where a creative use of AI can transform businesses and brands.
It has been said that the world of communication and marketing can be easily seduced by anything ‘new’. These novel jewels show off such an intense glow and gleaming allure that they are explored superficially in the name of prizes, news stories and momentary attention.
Artificial Intelligence is one of today’s novel jewels. The market, stimulated by the spotlight on virtual assistants fed by machine learning, is currently reviewing the tremendous potential for efficiency brought about by this technology and how it impacts the chain of supply and demand. The communications and marketing industry has created media innovations to put machines in service of people but it yet to leverage the technologies full potential to improve businesses and brands.
Isobar’s recent study of over 1,350 global CMOs, ‘Isobar Creative Experience Survey 2020’ found that while AI is the most used emerging technology – already used by some 36% of CMOs – Voice and Chat based interfaces follow closely behind at 29% and 28% adoption respectively. But why are Voice and chat-based interfaces getting most of the limelight?
From inventory management to the creation of products and services, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can enable deep transformation in the way companies operate, sell their products and relate to their customers. Despite its limited use by agencies for creative experiences, it is a mandatory part of commerce, on any platform, from social media to marketplaces and in proprietary e-commerce solutions. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, the ‘The Mobile Economy 2019’ study by the GSMA Association, suggested that AI would be the key for the future of business and for digital transformation, thanks to its capacity of making commercial transactions increasingly smarter and efficient. To give you an idea, the total online spending this May hit US$ 82.5 billion, an increase of 77% against last year (Forbes, 2020) and, as everybody knows, this is a path of no return.
In our survey (issued in the middle of the pandemic) some 64% of CMOs said that they have changed their strategy completely or moderately in response to the Covid crisis and 39% of CMOs having made commerce a greater focus. 36% having implemented Direct-to-Consumer approaches. We also found that 35% of CMOs are considering using AI to bolster their efforts in the future, rising to 52% in Large companies.
But how could CMOs will be using AI specifically to power more than Commerce Experiences?
Artificial Intelligence brings benefits beyond commerce. It will become an unrivalled resource for the growth and competitiveness of companies. However, to be truly effective and differentiating, its technology needs to be woven into layers of creativity, design and customer experience to solve business and brand challenges.
There are many possibilities for how AI could be used to ensure efficiency, long-term effectiveness and differentiation, and not just an elusive spark, but here are some of the best:
Voice commerce on mobile: using AI to create human and individual connections. A great example of this is shown in a partnership with The Zoo/Google and Dentsu Webchutney. The Indian retailer Flipkart created a program to support sales through voice command. Named ‘Hagglebot’, the program allows the client to interact with the company bots and negotiate customised discounts – facilitating the local cultural insight of bargaining in India. Using voice is a growing trend, as proven by a survey from iProspect, showing that 51% of smartphone users from 55 countries use digital assistants. In Brazil, this rate hits 49% (Meioemensagem, 2019). This is a sign that the market is mature enough for brands to think about ways to integrate Artificial Intelligence with these features, aiming at offering convenience and a personalised journey for the consumer.
Inventory management: the right product in the right place at the right time. Based on technology developed at MIT, the program Celest promises to reinvent inventory management, by optimising the decisions made by retailers using intelligent analysis of consumer data. Via AI, the system can identify trends and business opportunities not revealed by traditional procedures. Celest was born to help its clients increase sales and profit margins by putting the right product in the right place at the right time, throughout all sales channels. Among the companies that use the solution, there is Aldo, a footwear and accessories brand that highlights the program’s capacity to help make real-time decisions related to inventory.
Professional selection: less prejudice, more diversity. AI can be used to support professional recruiting processes in becoming more effective and free from biases, for example in the Pymetrics system (Harvard Business School, 2019) . Through a game, the program uses AI to select the best candidates for each position, promising more impartiality than in human-conducted procedures. People are interviewed by a human only in the final phase.
Creation and production: disruptive combinations of shapes and materials. A program from the company Autodesk uses AI to help human designers in the creation and development of products, exploring the so-called generative design. From a few inputs, the software presents hundreds of options – far beyond what could be imagined in terms of innovation and optimisation of shapes and materials. When the product is prototyped, the system will also assess its performance in real time and will feed itself with information to enhance the object being made. The system has been applied, for example, in a new project from Volkswagen (Autodesk, 2020).
Document registration and management: less paper, more agility and precision. With the help of blockchain and AI systems, the government of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates has implemented a document registration and management program that will completely eliminate the use of paper by the local public administration (Smart Dubai, 2020). The project, named Paperless City, will allow all operations to be conducted online. During the pilot phase, the use of paper decreased 60%, an impressive rate.
Automation of marketing processes: differentiation for the consumer experience. Artificial Intelligence is a strong ally to increase the value of a product or service. Whether to customise what each person wants or to eliminate all friction in the acquisition journey. For example, in Japan Isobar re-imagined the way a chain of flavoured coffees operates. With more than 120 possible combinations of aromas and essences, people could create their exclusive blend on mobile while commuting on a train. Then, they picked up their coffee on a pavement-facing locker on their way to work. The coffee is customised with the person’s name and the ingredients from the ‘recipe’. The consumer experience is simple, quick, free from human contact (which is becoming increasingly important in a post-COVID world). The solution creates more than 40,000 individual mixes every morning and delivers them in customised packages virtually at the same time. Only through Artificial Intelligence can this scale be achieved. Through this experience the population of Tokyo has gained a few extra minutes for itself.
These are some examples where a creative use of AI goes further than the instant fame of virtual assistants, to truly impact the lives of people and businesses. Cases like the ones mentioned are still not common in Brazil but in our survey 50% of Brazilian CMOs said they were already using AI and 52% are considering investing more in the future. What is missing in order to take up the opportunity to leverage AI? There are not structural or behavioural barriers. Perhaps it’s a simple matter of putting this topic on the top of the list of company investment priorities? Or perhaps it is because, compared to other markets, Brazilian CMOs see less value in leveraging a galvanising organisational idea (47%) or Creative Storytelling (30%) (Isobar, 2020) as key ingredients for creative experience – and it is creativity that will make the use of Artificial Intelligence memorable.
The return to creativity X Artificial Intelligence will ensure a considerable increase in the prosperity of the companies’ core business and their brand health. We’re living in a time when the entire business world is moving to design and experience to differentiate and grow – it’s high time investment was made in creativity to drive AI to the next level.