Artificial intelligence makes brand personalities come to life
Presented here for discussion is a synopsis of a current article published with permission from Knowledge@Wharton, the online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is reinventing the creative landscape for marketers. One big leap: Brands are no longer merely seen as objects, but entities with personalities that can interact dynamically with people, according to Winston Binch, chief digital officer for Deutsch North America, the ad agency behind Taco Bell’s award-winning taco-ordering chatbot, the Tacobot.
Tacobot, still in beta mode, lets consumers order tacos via natural language and last year earned a Cannes Lions award. With over 10 million Alexas in the marketplace, however, voice is expected to drive the next step in AI-driven communications for brands.
“When I think about the power of these technologies, they can function like the best advertising, which is to emotionally connect,” said Mr. Binch on a recent “Marketing Matters” show that airs on Wharton Business Radio, SiriusXM. “But it’s not disposable. You can have long-term conversations with your customers. You can learn more about them. This technology gets smarter.”
With most of AI-driven bots being command based, brands tapping AI will have to develop personalities tied to their purpose to “generate real, collaborative discussions and conversations with customers.” He admits that’s easier for a brand like Taco Bell.
“Tacobot is such a defined personality already,” said Mr. Binch. “[Taco Bell is] about igniting the unexpected. They’re surprising, fun, really social. So, it was somewhat easy for us in Taco Bell to write that character. The bigger challenge is when we work with brands that still maybe don’t know who they are.”
Mr. Binch believes most consumers will be open to machine-driven conversations if it speeds processes and makes their lives easier. He doesn’t think, however, that AI will replace marketing creative.
“I believe that if you’re a great writer, there’s lots of opportunity for you in the near future,” he said. “The reality is that AI is just numbers in code. We still need humanity applied to it to make it truly engaging. So, the robots are coming. Maybe the future is a comedian and a robot together.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of using A.I. to help define personalities for brands? Does artificial intelligence technology have the potential to elevate engagement between brands and consumers? Do you see more upside or downside to AI-driven brand communications?