AI is rewriting the rules of brand building | HT Brand Leadership Series

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AI is rewriting the rules of brand building

  • Manish Sinha
  • February 12, 2020

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook—what’s common between these companies other than them being new-age technology companies? What makes them so unique and favourable? How do they connect so well with consumers?

Brand building in the digital era

Today, brand building is all about creating value for consumers. It encompasses identifying the right audience, engaging them at a personalised level and delivering an experience that guarantees brand intimacy. Brands are now built on every single interaction between a customer/ consumer and a business, both in person and online.

Over the years, brands have aligned their purposes with customer choices. Content plays a key role in customer engagement. But the sealing of the deal always happens through the experience delivered at the right time and at the right place – the proverbial eating of the pudding.

Technology impacting brand building

Today, technology is a buzzword in the marketing world. It’s a part of every brand’s conversation, and helps drive strategies and amplification. Keeping up with technology trends can be an intimidating investment to make. But if your brand doesn’t keep pace with technology, it can run the risk of becoming obsolete.

AI isn’t arriving; it’s arrived

AI is rewriting the rules of brand building with access to data and personalisation. AI is such a rapidly evolving technology that it can sometimes be difficult to envisage its real-world applications. Some of the world’s most successful brands have been using AI for several years and are reaping rewards in terms of profits, brand reputation, and visibility. Here’s a low-down.

1. Understanding customers and their micro-preferences. AI helps understand what a customer likes during a particular time of the day, in a particular city, or at a particular location. Connecting with an audience today is all about embracing and managing data effectively, especially the first-party data collected in these natural, digital relationships. The trick lies in connecting with customers when they are in the right mood.

AI is at the heart of BMW’s manufacturing processes. The automotive OEM uses Big Data to power its design and engineering processes, sales, and customer support. Predictive analytics is used to create the car designs of tomorrow. The company has already built an AI-enhanced sports car that learns about its driver to automatically adjust systems and the cabin experience.

2. Presenting content based on live engagement and identity/mood cohorts: Netflix and YouTube recommend content based on past as well as present behaviour. AI is your personal mood secretary. Who wouldn’t want that?

Amazon also uses AI to drive dynamic pricing – reducing prices to elicit more sales when needed, and increasing prices when the demand is high. The algorithm helps drive optimal sales and revenue.   

3. The final deal is experience: This is what needs a substantial amount of investment, so that you can maintain a network that is personalized, connected, and runs at a high speed. Starbucks uses its data from 90 million transactions every week to inform business decisions such as where to open new stores, and which products they should offer.

Embrace AI

There is no denying that AI is gaining prominence in nearly every aspect of branding. Thankfully, AI will only help brands to stay relevant to their customers. The catch is in knowing how to leverage it to its full potential.

Manish Sinha
Manish Sinha | Chief Marketing Officer, STL

Manish has donned many hats – from consultant at McKinsey & Co. and Infosys and leading operations at WNS and Capital One to being a ‘start-up guy’ at Quikr Homes and CommonFloor. An enthusiastic culture champion, he joined STL in 2017, and soon became the face of change.