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Leveraging artificial intelligence to enhance brand management

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AI and the robot revolution PHOTO Courtesy: theconversation.com


Once the subject of imaginations and main plot of science fiction movies for decades, today, robots are no longer a piece of fiction, they are now a commonplace in people’s daily lives.

In the 80s, movement of robots thinking and doing things like human beings enthralled children; in fact, it was a common sight to see young ones seated, eyes glued to the television sets, watching science fiction (sci-fi) such as, Space 1999, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek and Star Wars that had robots. There were so many of such sci-fis to watch and these films drove traffic to Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).

Now referred to as Artificial Intelligence (AI), this computer controlled robot think intelligently in a similar manner a human being would have thought. It also refers to the ability of a computer or machine to mimic the competencies of the human mind.

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AI now records and analyses every action made by a user, such as: The items they browsed, the products they added to the cart and then removed, the items remaining in the cart and a call-to-action clicked and left midway.

During the hit of COVID-19 pandemic, machine was employed for screening of the virus and symptoms through studies of outbreaks in history. AI was deployed as an important technology to manage the crisis caused by the virus.

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) experts say AI is slowly gaining ground in customers’ day-to-day lives and as it is making everyday tasks and small chores easier. More and more businesses are leveraging it to develop brand management strategies as a fundamental part of their vision and mission.

Recently, the growing influence and challenge pose by this new technology was the focus of a webinar tagged: Brand Management in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Organised by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), the event provided a platform for professionals to keep abreast of developments in the industry.

It attracted experts such as, Bayo Adekanbi, chief transformation officer of MTN, who was the keynoter; while Mr. Femi Adelusi, president Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN); Mrs. Bunmi Adeniba, acting President Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) and Mr. Lanre Adisa, the Managing Director of Noah’s Ark Communication.

The moderator of the event was Mrs. Temitope Jemerigbe, the CEO DKK & Associates Limited.The Registrar of APCON, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, pointed out the role of AI in modern communications, noting that its growing importance makes it imperative for brand managers to take advantage of its operations.

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Adekanbi, an award-winning business executive with a track record of superior performance in conceptualising and implementing business/commercial/analytical strategy with commendable managerial ability to motivate his team for success, regaled participants with the disruptive influence of AI in a consumer’s life, adding that it has disrupted the Ps of marketing.

Adekanbi said AI has changed the narrative on product development and that has made product become an experience, which people have become used to, even as things are becoming more complex and volatile.

According to the author of The Future is Shared and Artificial Intelligence for Starters, the industry is no longer dealing with rational human beings, but people who are emotionally distracted, and as such, practitioners must be “conscious that people’s attention is actually distracted. We are seeking a share of their attention. We need a destructive approach to position the client’s brand and win a larger share of attention in the emerging complexities.”

He said that brand managers and marketers all over the world are looking up to AI as a game changer to help them navigate the path of optimising the four Ps to create value in an increasing competitive market.

The MTN boss said that to take your brand management a notch higher, there is a need to leverage the benefits of AI to drive marketing engagements, as it would help a business to effectively target the customers and maximise their efforts.

An opinion also supported by IMC experts, who said that effective brand management enables the price of products to go up and build loyal customers through positive images or a strong awareness of the brand. This is where AI comes. It analyses all these behaviours to find out the reason behind customers’ decision to go for leave out a brand.

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Adeniba said, “AI is not just out there, it’s already here happening around us and marketers must do the learning journey and make it work because it can work.”

She said with the use of AI, brand managers would not only be accurate, but also helps to cut wastes.

The ADVAN boss is of the opinion that “there is no way we can represent the consumers unless we know them very well. This is what AI does, it helps us to get specifics which in turn results in sharper innovations, makes predictive forecasting in things like specialisation and social listening.’’

While noting that, the world is getting more and more complex, Adisa added that brand managers needed to look at AI not just as artificial intelligence, but also as a tool that would assist them to get better result.

For him, “the beauty of this technology is that it sees things for us. Though the fear of cost might discourage, you have to embrace it,” adding, “you have to throw away assumptions.”

He, however, puts a caveat. “Though AI can mirror where we are and what we have done, it still needs to mirror human thinking to be able to replicate it at a level that we possibly can’t as individuals.”

He stressed the need to strengthen the human factor in the use of AI because that is why it is needed as a tool, “we will also need to generate relatable communication, which can only come from human beings, AI needs us to project what is possible.”

Adisa said that a fraction of a company’s budget has to go into it. “That’s where we are headed. Don’t let the cost deter you.”

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The global AI market is predicted to snowball in the next few years, reaching a $190.61 billion market value in 2025. The projection is also that the wearable AI market size is predicted to reach $180 billion by 2025. The projection is also that the forecasted AI yearly growth rate between 2020 and 2027 is 33.2 per cent.

According to the global AI chip market revenue is expected to reach $83.25 billion by 2027. Between 2018 and 2025, the Asia-Pacific region will experience the highest compound annual growth rate.

Adekanbi said: “The world is largely seeing the reason why we need to look at AI and embrace it.” The keynote speaker emphasised that AI has come to support practitioners and “it’s not going to replace them, but it has come to give practitioners new areas of exploration. It’s just for us to embrace it and see how we can use it, the possibilities of what AI can do is immense and limitless.”

Mr. Femi Adelusi, President of MIPAN, agreed that the future of AI is great for all. “It is a huge opportunity. It will get better and cheaper with competition. It will be more accessible. It is something to embrace. AI will help to connect our business and manage our reputation. AI is going to help redefine the way the advertising industry approaches marketing and not take over jobs but cautioned, ‘If we don’t unlearn, learn and re-learn on a continuous basis that is exactly what it is going to do, it then means that AI will compete for the jobs we currently have’.’’

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