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Anshul Sushil

The writer is co-founder and CEO, BoringBrands, which specializes in integrated branding and marketing communications for global startups

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Using AI to Give Consumers What They Want

Artificial Intelligence (AI) helps us understand and predict what our customers need more accurately than ever before

Photo Credit : Business Standard,

HDFC's EVA is the first chabot by a bank in India

AI might conjure up images of robots gone rogue, but in reality, it is quite less terrifying. Plus, AI is a lot more than that. When Amazon offers recommendations based on your browsing history that is AI. Siri, Cortana, Google Now – that’s all AI.

Nobody has better understood the usefulness of this technology than the communications industry. Communications have always been at the forefront of enabling consumer and businesses weave coherent messages. Social media was a great disruption because it enabled a dual way of dialogue, which was a pathbreaking success. For the first time, brands were able to not just listen, but also understand (data mine) and communicate in real-time.

The goal of any communication is to influence the audience in some way. And as machines get smarter, we can begin to measure and track human behaviour in ways so we can achieve that goal. As we prepare to deliver key messages, the question on our minds is always ‘Will this work? Will this have the desired effect on my audience?’ With resources invested in test audiences, focus groups, and media monitoring platforms, you may begin to get an answer. Unfortunately, these are mostly expensive and time-consuming. However, developments in technology and data science have led to a new kind of AI — where you can simulate an audience, empowering you to identify in an objective and efficient way, how your message and delivery will land. The communication would now be complete; not only would the artificial media agents be able to reciprocate as per consumer needs, communication will evolve to become highly customised.

For instance, HDFC Bank just launched EVA, a chatbot which helps consumers with activities which otherwise would have taken quite many clicks to find. While the bot is elementary, the change is welcome for consumers. And of course, with every query solved, while humans get fatigued, the chatbot would get better as they are run not on emotions or hurry to go for lunch, but with big data mining engines.

The industry can now also conduct automated content evaluations by using natural language processing — translating human communication into the computer’s processing language. The AI uses algorithms built from years of audience perception and communication research to analyse your content on a wide range of characteristics, and voila! You know exactly what to do to stay ahead of the competition.

Machine learning and big data have also already proved to be a huge boon for the advertising industry. Their application helped in real-time bidding helping digital inventory sold in real time and not on rack rates. And as we speak, work is on to enable consumers to not just react to advertisements, but also interact with them in the real sense. Remarketing helped marketers benefit from decoding the data and now with AI, the brands would be further able to customers the brand message.

Reports are also coming in that there are experiments going on for writing content by AI-run bots, the bots would be able to analyse the data of the app or website, segment the audience, derive a meaningful analysis of content buckets and then get articles written aimed at getting far much more ROI for the brand.

In the era of rapidly expanding industries and higher communication expectations, it is imperative for brand marketers to evolve along with technologies. There will be a future where the person will not just have to be an expert in ‘Brand’, but also a mix of Data, Technology and Communications. This mathematical approach to brands will eventually blur the line between art and science, and help the industry churn out data-driven campaigns effortlessly.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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