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AI Brand Strategy Ryan Reynolds

Here’s 3 ways marketers can use generative AI while preserving brand integrity

By Monica Chun, Chief Client Officer and President of Brand Advisory

February 7, 2023 | 6 min read

AI is starting to transform the marketing industry. Acceleration Community of Companies’ chief client officer Monica Chun offers three tips for how brands can leverage this emergent technology without alienating their audiences.

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Chat GPT, launched by OpenAI in November 2022, exceeded 1mn users in just five days. / Adobe Stock

Artificial intelligence (AI) has ignited the next wave of innovation, promising to revolutionize human efficiency, creative output and education.

Fueled by the meteoric rise of consumer-facing tools such as ChatGPT, DALL·E 2, Lensa AI, and Midjourney, AI has become a hot-button topic in nearly every corner of the industry. The buzz has spawned countless articles on how these tools will transform our lives - some of which are even authored using AI.

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Emotionally charged on all sides, brands are jumping into the AI fray with the same fervor – and incomprehension – as the recent NFT, crypto and metaverse ad boom. As brands consider integrating AI into their marketing, here are three key considerations to take into account:

Transparency is key. (Don’t pull a CNET). Poor timing and editorial oversight collided for CNET when it became widely known this month that the tech-focused outlet has been quietly “experimenting” with AI-generated explainers.

Facing mounting scrutiny, CNET apologized for the lack of transparency and announced new policies intended to make it explicitly clear when and where the brand is using AI - but the damage was already done. A few days later, CNET initiated a total pause on all AI-assisted articles.

For brands, this story serves as a cautionary tale: Disclosing when, where, how, and why AI will be used by your business is paramount to maintaining consumer trust.

Think beyond the buzz. (Take a page from Samsung’s playbook). With so many brands hopping on the bandwagon, AI may seem like the latest phenomenon, but as anyone who has desperately yelled “representative!” into the phone can tell you, this technology has already permeated our lives.

So far, popular marketing campaigns that used generative AI have either treated it like a trendy gimmick, as with Mint Mobile and Ryan Reynolds, or harped on the limitations of generative AI, as was done in Hardee’s UnAImaginable campaign. On the other hand, Samsung Europe has already leveraged this technology to automate the creation and publication of digital banner ads running across platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Spotify, freeing up employee time for bigger projects.

Generative AI, while not entirely new, is still in its infancy in terms of capabilities and complexity – and it’s only getting better. So look before you leap: The savviest brands will take a page from Samsung’s playbook and go beyond today’s buzz to plan for the endless possibilities AI might bring tomorrow.

Don’t discount human creativity. (Remember Paul Delaroche.) When 19th-century French painter Paul Delaroche first saw a photograph, he famously declared, “From today, painting is dead.” Painting of course didn’t die, but Delaroche’s statement is a testament to a timeless tug-of-war between art and innovation – and generative AI is the latest battleground.

Viral stories, such as a video game designer using AI to win an art competition in Colorado or an AI hobbyist using ChatGPT to write and illustrate a children’s book, have captivated our imaginations. What these stories share in common is real human beings at the center of the narratives.

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Brands need to remember that AI is a tool, like a camera or a paintbrush, not a replacement for human creativity. AI-generated content must be conjured into existence by human imagination.

Ultimately, the integration of this technology will require a new class of professionals, an evolved way of thinking, flexibility today, and future-proofing tomorrow. It’s the dawning of a new era. Is your brand prepared?

Monica Chun is chief client officer and president of brand advisory at Acceleration Community of Companies. For more on the latest happening in tech, sign up for The Drum’s Inside the Metaverse weekly newsletter here.

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