Brands urged to get agencies to inject AI from outset

tech1Creatives might want to look away now; marketers are being urged to challenge their agencies to inject data and artificial intelligence in the creative process from the “get-go”, so they can understand the emotional state of customers and optimise creative impact across all stages of their marketing activity.

So says a new Forrester Report, “AI Is A New Kind Of Creative Partner”, which argues that AI will enable creatives to become ‘creators’, embracing new and more complex creative disciplines – like 3D and immersive design – and to make breakthroughs in disruptive thinking.

To tap into AI’s full potential, the report says that the first step is not to think about the marketing and advertising production output but to add more rationality, analysis, and measurement throughout the entire creative marketing process.

Instead of focusing on efficiency, marketing leaders should infuse data into the creative brief and at iterative design stages. This approach develops an “always-informed” creative process that can refine small and large ideas along the entire customer journey, while instilling greater confidence in the overall campaign direction from day one, the report insists.

Another benefit of AI is in tackling the significant portions of the creative process which are mundane. By automating necessary but tedious tasks, such as image search, AI saves time, so more of hours can be spent “thinking and creating”.

Forrester details five key areas where AI can have a major impact:

– Fuelling the creative brief with deeper customer understanding. Less guesswork and more frequent customer insights enable marketers to improve the creative brief, share guidelines, and unleash creativity on targeted experiences down to a single moment.

AI will tame the data deluge to deepen customer understanding. Mixing streams of hybrid data sets, including behavioural and emotional, is key to understanding how customers perceive and react to brand interactions. By quantifying trends, identifying weak signals, and making unexpected behavioural correlations, AI is a great ally to help companies rethink their approach and take a fresh look at customer expectations.

– Identifying signals in the data to power customers’ moments. Matching the right formats to the right moment in a timely fashion requires a deep understanding of the customer journey. Customer journey analytics compiled with the right signals can activate always-on creative content across channels and media, whether on a 6-second vertical video via Snapchat or through a traditional radio ad.

– Orchestrating creative consistently across channels. Instead of singularly obsessing over one spot, TV or other, creative directors should inject creativity where it is not expected and spend more time delivering content throughout the customer journey.

Guillaume de Roquemaurel, co-founder and CEO of AI and data-driven agency Artefact, said: “If you leverage data and tech to power creativity where it is not expected – that is to say, if you surprise and delight customers during key customer experience pain points and moments, like a form to fill in – sales uplift can be 20% or 30%.”

– Using content and social intelligence to improve the creative. Content intelligence, defined as the use of AI technologies to understand and capture the qualities inherent in any content (emotional attributes, subject matter, style, tone, or sentiment), is crucial to improving engagement throughout key moments of the customer journey, the report insists.

Having a deep, emotional, and data-informed understanding of the creative content enables brands to optimise creative ideas. The report cites the example of Vodafone Italy, which used Persado’s AI-powered platform to activate the words and emotions which had the most impact in SMS and push campaigns, powering an average 42% lift in conversion rates.

– Aiming for near real-time, creative performance. Creativity is a significant driver of emotion, engagement, and memorisation in the context of ad over-exposure. Rapidly sharing fresh campaign insights with the creative team enables them to learn what works for each audience and channel.

Mihkel Jäätma, CEO at emotion-measuring company Realeyes, said: “Being able to identify strong creative with high sales impact enables advertisers to push these ads and avoid putting media spend behind those with low or – worse – no sales impact.”

Forrester concludes: “For years, the agency ecosystem worked as if data and analytics were killers of intuition and creativity. It’s time to embrace the idea that data in the creative process can stimulate thinking way beyond advertising.”

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