When generative AI came to the scene, I was initially sceptical. But as I saw the adoption rates of ChatGPT, amassing 100 million users in just 2 months (the fastest consumer base growth in history), well ahead of TikTok, I realized I needed to investigate further.
As a Brand and Marketing Specialist at DSG Consumer Partners, my role involves supporting our portfolio companies with their branding and marketing efforts, from honing their value propositions and establishing brand identities to developing effective marketing strategies and campaigns that deliver on both brand and financial objectives. In the fast-paced world of early-stage companies where resources are limited, it's not uncommon for marketers to wear different hats, especially the creative hat. With this blog, I aim to share my firsthand experience of navigating the realm of generative AI as a marketer, highlighting the tools that provide the most value and their specific use cases. If you're interested in learning more, keep reading!
First, a quick 101: Traditional vs. Generative AI, what's the difference?
The difference between traditional and generative AI lies in their approach to problem-solving. Traditional AI involves using a set of predefined rules and algorithms to perform specific tasks like image recognition or providing answers to customer inquiries via chatbots. In contrast, generative AI uses deep learning algorithms to learn and understand data patterns to generate entirely new outputs, such as music, art, and articles. Think of generative AI as your imaginative child, full of ideas and creativity, while traditional AI is your disciplined, rule-following child who excels in structured, logical problem-solving.
As the field of generative AI continues to evolve and new tools and applications continue to be developed, we have spoken to experts, marketers, and creatives and conducted research and experiments of our own to identify three main areas where we believe AI can be incredibly useful for brands.
1. Text and content generation stand out as the most prominent and effective use of generative AI today.
When it comes to copywriting for content marketing such as emails, social media captions, blogs, or even crafting campaigns and scripts, text-based generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Copy.ai have undoubtedly proven to be a gamechanger for marketers. In fact, many startups we spoke with have already adopted these tools and see benefits in (1) overcoming writer's block and accelerating the ideation process to spark fresh and creative copy angles and (2) crafting language and creating multiple copy options for A/B/C/D testing tailored to specific target audiences. Take a look at some examples from my experiments using ChatGPT below:
While the role of a copywriter will ultimately be questioned with these powerful capabilities available at the touch of a prompt, it is important to realize that human creativity and judgment is still essential especially when it comes to content accuracy and ensuring the brand’s tone of voice is intact. I see these tools as an incredible shortcut, replacing the need for lengthy brainstorms and reducing the back-and-forth involved in crafting and finessing language.
Copy.ai is another generative AI tool designed specifically to help marketers and content creators with copywriting jobs. It is trained on a large dataset of marketing copy and is geared towards generating persuasive and engaging text for marketing outcomes. In fact, start-up marketers have mentioned that “Copy.ai is their copywriter and has ultimately enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of their copywriting process.” Unlike ChatGPT, Copy.ai guides the prompting process and includes ready-to-use prompt templates for different objectives like promotions, tips and tricks, holiday messaging, and testimonials; it also has different 'tones' to choose from. I would definitely suggest testing it out if you haven’t already:
One skill marketers will ultimately need to get better at to master the full capabilities of these tools is to learn how to write razor-sharp prompts. Similar to how we've mastered the art of writing great briefs for agencies, learning how to brief the tools is what will differentiate great from average output. From my experience, continuous trial and error is the best way.
2. Unlock your mind’s imagination with Image Generation
Have you ever had a brilliant idea that needed a visual touch to make a point or influence a boardroom? The friction of hiring a freelancer, discussing budgets, and briefing back and forth, can be cumbersome. Introducing generative AI use case #2, with tools like Midjourney and Dall-E, marketers get to become a master visualizer (no Photoshop training required!). I find these tools quite empowering as I'm able to translate an image from an idea to reality in a matter of seconds.
Through my experimentation with multiple visual-based tools, such as Midjourney, Craiyon, Dall-E, and Leap AI, I still find that text-based AI tools are further along in terms of producing high-quality output when compared to visual tools. With that said, Midjourney, in my opinion, is the strongest visual tool today for marketers designing a commercial application. However, it may not be able to fully incorporate logos, branding, and text seamlessly into the images it generates, therefore a human designer will still need to step in and refine the ideas to accurately reflect your brand's identity. Currently, its primary advantage lies in (1) facilitating the creation of vision boards or mood boards, which can help overcome initial challenges when collaborating or briefing new designers, (2) prototyping various product packaging, designing blog images or even ideating on way for your brand to show up in a pop-up store or offline context- see images below, (3) shortcutting the ideation process for designers and agencies so that they can deliver higher quality output within shorter timeframes.
In fact, Singapore-based creative tech company KittyKat has successfully integrated AI into its creative process, unlocking the potential for a single physical product shoot to generate hundreds of visual assets through its multiplier effect powered by AI. In today's highly visual world, this capability is paramount and captures the best of both worlds. Human designers bring high-quality shoots befitting brands and their identities, and AI multiplies the imagery to provide creative optionality, which, in my view, is a win-win. I anticipate this trend continuing with more agencies embracing generative AI in their creative process.
3. Wiser and better creative decisions with AI
Design can often feel subjective. But when AI helps to aggregate millions of data points to objectively help you assess design, then the game changes. We explored an insight-led tool, 3M VAS that helps predict what viewers will see in the first 3-5 seconds of exposure to a visual ad or packaging with 92% accuracy. 3M VAS has been developed by top neuro and data scientists and validated against academic eye-tracking study results to enable brands to 'design with confidence knowing your key messages are coming through loud and clear."
Reese's is a strong example of an effective and linear messaging hierarchy in packaging. According to 3M VAS, there is an 84% likelihood that consumers will notice the brand name prominently within the first 3-5 seconds of encountering the packaging, followed then by the product name, descriptor and imagery.
Kind Kones' packaging below shows an interesting pattern in consumer attention. The tool indicates that approximately 75% of viewers primarily notice the brand name and flavour, while other messages may go unnoticed. By examining the gaze sequence on the right, we can gain insights into the step-by-step process consumers follow (largely unconsciously) when scanning the packaging. The analysis reveals that consumers first glance at the strawberry imagery, indicating its strong visual appeal, followed by the strawberry flavour written in text, which further reinforces their understanding of the product offering. Only after that do consumers direct their gaze towards the Kind Kones brand name. One important insight that can be drawn from this analysis is the potential benefit of integrating the strawberry design and text so that the Kind Kones brand can be registered by a customer earlier, thereby enhancing brand recognition.
I am optimistic when it comes to the capabilities of AI in analyzing visual data to provide creative insights. The implications for improving crucial elements of the marketing mix, such as packaging and ads, are highly useful. Imagine a world where designing your next social media ad becomes a collaborative effort with a machine learning algorithm as your trusted guide. This AI-powered companion would not only decipher the data but also offer recommendations on modifying specific attributes: visuals, copy, colours, and layouts – all aimed at growing your conversions and clicks. No more relying solely on guesswork or gut instincts! Marketers and creatives will join forces, armed with data-driven insights, to make informed, impactful decisions - a blend of art and science where the era of data-driven creativity is taken to the next level.
A thought for the future...
In the ever-evolving world of marketing, staying ahead of the game is crucial. Generative AI frees up time and resources, allowing marketers to focus on bigger, more strategic efforts. However, with the countless AI tools sprouting up and their continuous developments, the real game changer in terms of which tools will really become widely adopted are the ones which integrate into the very ecosystems people and marketers are already using. Google’s Sundar Pichai recently announced: "We are at an exciting inflection point. We have an opportunity to make AI even more helpful. We are redesigning all of our core products around AI." When the apps we use daily like Google, seamlessly integrate the power of generative AI like Google's Bard this becomes not just a technological leap, but a revolution that has the potential to transform how marketing is executed. By infusing AI into our existing tools, marketers can unlock unprecedented efficiency, unleash untapped creativity, and achieve better success in their campaigns.
I believe the future is now, and it's time for marketers to embrace the potential of generative AI. Are you ready to join me in this marketing revolution?
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