The Future of AI in Marketing for Better Brand Strategies

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Using AI to Unleash Brand Potential: Insights from Women Tech Support

The Importance of Branding

In a recent discussion with Women Tech Support, Liza Neevel, a co-founder of predictive brand Tech Galore 'Blue Ocean' shared interesting perspectives on branding. “Brand is not just about the look, the tone, the logo. It's the business, the employees, the product, and the service. It is the influencing force on the market, and the window to creating new markets,” she emphasizes. Being a brand builder is complex, but it is also connected to a pivotal element - value.

Why Are Brands Essential?
Brands hold immense power; their impact can be seen in consistent performance and impressive growth rates. A strong brand can grow at 4% faster rate and they can charge more due to the value they bring. Branding is the element that ties the entire business together.

The Making of a Brand

Liza explains that a brand is made up of three integral parts:

  1. The science: This includes data, insights, understanding consumer behavior, and bringing that knowledge to the table.
  2. The art: Here lies the job of ad agencies and the creative people who launch campaigns. This side of brand building is where people truly connect.
  3. The craft: This is all about execution. You can have all the science, but unless acted upon, it is of no use.

The Role of AI in Branding

AI plays a significant role in accelerating the science behind branding. By using features like automation, natural language processing, and machine learning, AI helps in harnessing the artistic side of brand building. It enables better connections with customers and more effective brand development.

There are a few headwinds that brands are currently facing, including Cancel culture, expectations of direct-to-consumer experiences, and over-reliance on bottom of funnel marketing. Brands must evolve and adapt to these challenges to succeed. With the looming removal of cookie data, understanding and growing a brand has become more crucial than ever. Marketers who do not have a plan to adapt may find themselves at the edge of a cliff.

A New Approach to Brand Building

The traditional methods of brand building involving consultancies, long timelines, and numerous teams are outdated and ineffective. The world already has all the information it needs, and it is time to shift the perspective from inside out to outside in. This is where AI and machine learning come into play, harnessing the vast amount of available data, learning, and training it like a marketer.

To summarize, Liza emphasizes the role of machine learning in offering faster, always-on brand development — tools that every marketer, irrespective of the size of the company, can now afford. Branding is no longer just a part of a marketing budget; it's a critical element that contributes to a company's overall strategy and success.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Liza here. Um Women Tech support. I can see your question. Can you hear me now? Let's see. Ok, thanks Drew Sharp. I appreciate you chiming in. Um, I'm gonna give it one more minute. It's Drew, it's just me and you right now.And Nicolette, I can see you. Oh, we've got some other people joining. So, uh I'll give it just one more second and I'll, I'll jump right in. Um I'm gonna get the chat feature going. Um, so I can hear you or I'll, I'll get your questions as they come in. So. Ok. Well, why don't I jump in? Um I'm gonna set a timer for myself as well because we have 15 minutes to talk and then, you know, we'll leave enough time for Q and A five minutes at the end. But uh put a, put a chat in the uh the log if you'd like and I'll try to answer it in real time. Um, and we'll just jump right in. So my name's Liza Neevel. I'm one of the co-founders of Blue Ocean. We are predictive brand Tech and right now we've uh recently launched our always on brand tracking platform called Brand Navigator.

Um Today is really exciting and I'm gonna just briefly start at the very highest level and come all the way down um into what actually is driving um uh A I in the marketing space. But I think it's really important for us to start with understanding why is brand even important. So less about the A I and what it can do for marketing. But I think an understanding and appreciation of what is the meaning of brand today. And I think so often um it gets relegated to the discussion about the look, the tone um the logo and that's not what brand is at all. Brand is, everything, brand is the business brand, it's your employees, it's your product, it's your service. Um It's the influence you have on the market. It's the opportunity for you to actually create new markets. Um And it's one of the most complex roles you can have in an organization is to be a brand builder because you have to actually affect and touch every asset and every part of the business. And ultimately, it is connected to value um whether you want to call it shareholder value. If you're a public company things, we do know the best. Some of the strongest brands they've consistently outperformed.

Um you know, global indexes like the MS C I Global index consistently, actually two X outperformed performance of other brands. You tend to grow a lot faster. Um You can grow 4% faster with a great brand or strong brand, you can charge more. Um you can do so many things with a really strong brand. Um And it's really important to see that it actually is the tying element throughout your entire business. The second part of that is we have to understand how do you make a brand. And so a brand really has three parts that come together. And I kind of, I have a background in architecture and we talk about this beautiful moment of space creating and brand is very much about a creation of, of a space or an experience. And there's the science that goes into it and that's um everything from, you know, the data that you use to get to insights. Um sort of the, the very um academic approach to understanding your consumer through longitudinal studies, through understanding the purchase behavior, your own first party data, bringing that to the table, bringing it to bear and allowing it to speak and provide some sort of information about who your customer may be, where you'll find them, what they're interested in, what they they aren't being, what needs are not being met and all of the sorts.

And that ultimately is handed to people that are artists that are creative people. And this is where ad agencies come in. This is where creative folks that build brands and launch massive, you know, campaigns come in and I'm gonna just put that on a shelf for a second because the third part of it is the craft, it's all about execution. They have to have the science, but you have to be able to act on it. You have to be able to do something with it. Um A lot of what I'm talking about and where a I that we're focused on right now is about how to un you know, unleash and empower the artistic, the creative side of brand, that's where people really live. And our, our goal is to accelerate the concept of the science behind it. And it help accelerate in some ways the craft side of it, of the execution side to know what, how to act on brand and to actually allow the people, the people that are the artists to actually be much better at what they do.

Um Instead of spending, you know, multimillion dollars, many weeks, many months, you know, many years trying to get to the answer. Our goal is to use A I um through, you know, automation, natural language processing and different and various ways of using machine learning to actually help, you know, how to, how to be a better, more creative person. Um There's a few headwinds uh uh that are brands are facing, they, they're tail winds really for what we're doing at pou but I'll talk about some of the headwinds or changes really that are happening and, and why brand is more important than ever. And so I've given a little piece of this presentation before and I've talked about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and, and the first concept is Cancel culture. And obviously, if you're following what's going on with Bill and Melinda Gates, they've been, you know, they're, they're going through a divorce and that's actually really affected um some of their, their opportunities they've had. But previously, we've been speaking with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What they really struggle from is a brand perception because they've actually been negatively impacted um through the election cycles with things like Qanon. Bill Gates was directly for whatever reason, you know, tied as to part of the Qanon movement and the Bill on the Gates Foundation, their brand is what they have and they actually their goal and their mission at the foundation is to work predominantly in third world countries um to reduce the mortality rates of Children under five.

And in the third world countries, there is a, a large acceptance of the, the phenomenon of qanon. And so it's actually been really hard for them and they've had brand struggles because of how they overcome that. So they've had this weird, you know, cancel culture that's happened in areas because of their brand. Um and that connection point, um what we have to understand is all brands are now sort of direct to consumer. At least there's an expectation of that experience. And COVID accelerated that dramatically. Um But brands are digital, they're always on, they're an experience you have with your customer. It doesn't matter if you're B to B or your B to C brand or your services brand, people expect to have a delightful um you know, omni channel experience that they really understand what it is you're standing for and they can access you and engage with you at all times. Um And then what's happening in the brand space and it's really important, you know, a lot of people might show up to this and they might be coming at it from a, you know, a marketing standpoint and particularly Dema demand generation sort of bottom of a funnel marketing standpoint, that brand has been put on the shelf, even though it is 50% of marketing budget goes into brand, which has been so subjective and a little bit squishy.

And that's what's been really challenging with measuring it and where we're using A I to help us measure more um is that people have over rotated in the bottom of funnel and they've really um spent much too much, well, not too much time, but they've really adopted and engaged with tons of resources in a tech stack that allows you to optimize, you know, every single element of how you're engaging with your customers.

Uh you know, really focus on last, last look attribution and just that hardcore c A customer acquisition cost return on investment. Dollar for dollar brand is not, that brand has never been that and, and it'll still continue to be soft. But what you've done is what's happened is people have over rotated into, um, the dollar for dollar return on investment and they've sort of removed the element of brand. And what's gonna happen is that with the removal of the cookie, you know, updates to privacy, everybody, you know, choosing to opt out of what's happening with the iphone and closing the ecosystems that they, that data is about to go away for um that marketers were relying on or rely on and have really built their entire marketing motion around over the last 20 years.

So a big change is about to happen a big cliff and this is me actually standing on a cliff. I wanted to make it a little more personal, but there's brands that are either gonna go over the cliff because they're not going to have a brand that's gonna rescue them when they've suddenly run out of data and they haven't created a great uh you know, multichannel experience or those that are gonna be successful and thrive and survive and do really well that are gonna outpace their competitors that are gonna grow two X um uh uh you know, and continue to beat their competitors.

So what do you do about it? You can go to consultants, don't go to these guys. This is the past, this is how it used to work. Um We don't have to work this way anymore. Consultants are fantastic. They are about unleashing creativity, but you don't need to be a slave to them. You don't need to be a slave to the long timelines and the many hours. Um and the large teams that take, you know, tons of effort and time and money. Um because we believe the world really already has all the information we need about it. And we look at it from a perspective of it's an outside in uh view of the world. So often, you know, brands are created in um through surveys and in panels and in focus groups and in reality, everything you need is sitting out there waiting for you. And so what we're focused on and where machine learning comes in, in A I is taking all this data, large data, um understanding it, learning it, training it like a marketer would think and then making use of it for all marketers out there, not just those that can afford it. So the past really was a six month process. You were maybe, you know, running surveys at one point in time and getting a static data report.

Um It possibly gave you great direction of where to go, but it, it, it maybe didn't, it was pretty limited and really, it was only afforded by, you know, some of the largest companies in the world, what machine learning and A I can do for us, we can do this at, at pace. The world is moving faster than ever, it will continue. Um It's always on and not that we believe brands need to shift, but brands need to understand the past and the ch the changes because of movements that their competitors have taken perhaps or that they've taken and how it's going to impact their brand. So you can learn about what's effective and what isn't even from, you know, small micro tests up to big, you know, brand decisions and campaign changes or product launches. Um Very much of the opportunity to apply, training to learn from the past and apply it to opportunities for the future. Um to think about how do we know if we make this incremental brand change, something that's, you know, been squishy and soft in nature and it can actually drive with some sort of certainty, a revenue outcome.

Um That's what's always been relegated to the demandgen side of the world. And we think that we can bring that upstream into brand.