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AI and Brand Devotion: Laying the Groundwork

AI and Brand Devotion: Laying the Groundwork Article Featured Image

Introducing a new series

Developments in artificial intelligence (AI) dominate the zeitgeist. AI’s implications for marketers—particularly in customer relationship management (CRM), loyalty, and engagement—loom large for client collaborations today and moving forward. That’s why, in this new blog series, we’re exploring the possibilities and challenges of AI from the vantage point of our team members at The Lacek Group, a national leader in driving brand devotion. Let’s begin the exploration.

True story

Recently a client asked us to produce a digital brochure for a new service. It’s a rush, our client contact said, but it shouldn’t be difficult. We already have the copy, which is in great shape.

The brochure copy made its first stop with a copywriter, who revised a bit, but hesitated to rewrite because she’d been told the client was really happy with the writing. Next, a designer made the copy look great in a brand-specific design. And finally, the piece skidded to a full stop at the desk of a copy editor who wasn’t privy to the backstory. What’s with all the repeated words? The awkward constructions? And this tone that doesn’t jibe with the client’s brand voice?

The editor marked up the corrections and offered extensive changes. Later that day, the revised piece was shared with the client, along with the diplomatically presented caveat that the Lacek team suggested, in effect, a full rewrite. Quickly, the client agreed to the trimmed and revised copy, and acknowledged that he’d used ChatGPT to produce the initial draft.

Moral of the story

Our client knew the facts that he needed to get across in the electronic brochure, and he fed those into ChatGPT, which spit out information in full paragraphs. However, the copy missed the mark in myriad ways. Because working with language isn’t the client contact’s strength (hence his choice to use AI), he’d read the material produced by ChatGPT and thought it achieved his goals for the communication. And he isn’t alone in turning to AI for professional assistance.

In a recent New York Times article, linguist Noam Chomsky and his coauthors describe ChatGPT as “a kind of super-autocomplete,” meaning its efforts aren’t actually original (as the term “generative AI” might lead us to expect) but essentially an amalgamation of content floating around on the internet. Like autocorrect in text interfaces. Don’t we all have stories of an unintended word inserted in a message, causing confusion, embarrassment, or worse?

The point is, AI has lots of potential but still requires the critical and creative thinking of human beings. The technology isn’t able—at least at present—to weigh the consequences of word choice, tone, cadence, and other subtle but often critical factors that contribute to effective brand communications.

Tantalizing potential

OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, and Microsoft’s Sydney are breathtaking advances—as are AI’s many other uses and potentials across industries. In fact, the authors of a recent Harvard Business Review article assert that business leaders should view generative AI as a revolution “akin to electricity, the steam engine, and the internet.” Impressive! 

But just as notable as AI’s multifaceted capabilities are its obvious pitfalls—e.g., erroneous or entirely invented information, confabulations (i.e., incorrect but seemingly plausible conclusions), privacy and copyright concerns, and problematic social and cultural biases (a reflection of what it finds out there on the internet), to name just a few. 

Given generative AI’s immense—and inevitable—potential to transform and improve work of all kinds, companies in all sectors, including marketing, must explore the aspects of this technological transformation that promise the highest return on investment. 

This new and ongoing AI series will take a kaleidoscopic approach to the topic. Our creatives, strategists, and data mavens will weigh in on how AI is transforming our work. They’ll look at the good and the bad, and they’ll share research and their best guidance for using this new and profound tool with data, demographics, accounts, customer loyalty, brand marketing and more. 

Here are some of the topics we’re thinking about: 

  • What advances will be possible in predictive analytics to precisely deliver messaging and offers to the right consumers at the right time?
  • What new possibilities will emerge out of AI’s potential to deliver quantitative metrics from qualitative data?
  • How might extreme personalization using AI tools improve returns while keeping costs low?
  • What will more sophisticated chatbots and similar AI interfaces mean for engagement possibilities and the customer experience?
  • How will marketers experiment to discover effective ways to offload tedious tasks and free up humans for other strategic and creative thinking?
  • How can marketers anticipate and troubleshoot the legal and ethical questions surrounding AI?
  • And, finally, when exactly will the robot overlords take overt control of everything? (Just kidding!) 

Keep an eye out for coming installments in our AI series. We plan to write it all the old-fashioned way rather than with ChatGPT. But no promises. Who knows what will be possible soon?

 Tess MacGibbon is Vice President of Growth Marketing. For more than 30 years, The Lacek Group has been innovating the art and algorithms of brand devotion. We help world-class brands identify their highest-potential customers, engage them across channels throughout their lifecycles, personalize each relationship for optimal long-term results, and measure the true effectiveness of those efforts.