Think back to your college days. Whether two years ago or 25, remember how a marketing degree lured you because you wanted to effect change. The notion that you could influence, impact, and, dare we say it — inspire — the masses through brand storytelling was attractive. As you learned how to monitor metrics and see the responses to your work, you became curious and excited. You thought to yourself, "This stuff works!"
And work, it does. Not only for the giant mega-corporations, the Walmarts and McDonalds and Googles, but also small businesses and startups. Maybe you're old enough to remember when Netflix was a DVD delivery service. Through branding, fast decision-making, and technology adoption, Netflix became the # 1 streaming service.
Heck, even individuals are self-branding in our current age of social media, online dating and gig economies.
Well, we have a new tool today, artificial intelligence (AI), that can mimic the brilliance of a human mind but on a much larger scale and faster pace. There are countless uses for AI in business generally, and we're only beginning to scratch the surface of its capabilities.
But specifically, today we're going to explain how you can use AI to supplement three primary marketing topics which are top-of-mind in 2022:
- Branding and Storytelling
- Organic community creation
- And monitoring / analysis
Let's dive in.
AI and the Art of Storytelling
As Yuval Noah Harari wrote, "Fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively." Storytelling has been called the superpower of humankind. Consider some epic fictions of humankind and how they've affected our collective behavior. The ultimate example is the Bible, but it's so deeply embedded into many people's lives, subjectively, it might be hard to view objectively. So let's use a different book.
The Lasting Effects of a Powerful Story: Dante's Inferno
Dante's poetic description of a nine-layered hell was written 700 years ago and was utter fiction. But it resonated with the medieval Christians of the day so profoundly that it became ingrained in their culture. Europeans accepted the detailed, gory, horrific descriptions of and afterlife of torture as truth. Thanks to the Roman Catholic church and Pope Boniface VIII, this controlling imagery was pushed and propounded.
Dante's Inferno began to appear in paintings and stained glassworks. And the impact continues for centuries. Many people still imagine an afterlife complete with a perfectly appropriate and endless punishment for evil-doers. Do you? That was all Dante's idea.
Dante's imagined hell is still relevant and fascinating to audiences worldwide. Salvador Dali painted it in the 1950s. It's been reimagined in movies and media as recently as 2020, in the movie Friend of the World.
The question becomes, how can we leverage modern tech and AI to have that kind of impact?
Create Impactful Stories with AI
Thankfully, the days of annoying pop-ups are coming to an end. Marketing managers now know modern audiences have both the technology and the attention span to get involved in deeper brand content, longer videos, and more detailed research. Just as Dante's epic poem was long and detailed, your content can be just as detailed, graphic (in a good way), and granular, as long as it’s relevant, of course.
Having a relevant brand today is more important than ever if a company intends to succeed because the competition has never been more fierce.
“Branding has always been a vital part of business, but it may be more important now than ever before. With social media, consumers get exposed to new brands every day. This can be great for consumers who have plenty of options and are able to do research to find the best one, but it makes it harder for businesses.
There’s a huge amount of competition today, so businesses need to go the extra mile of ensuring they stand out in a crowd. To do this, you should invest in creating a strong brand that will get and keep people’s attention. With the right branding, you have the chance to get some control over how people perceive your business, so you don’t want to overlook this.” writes Kristopher Jones in his Forbes article.
The good news is that you don't need to completely understand Artificial Intelligence to make it work for your brand. All you need to know is AI is a set of tools that make computers think more like humans. Here are some ways you can use AI to build a powerful brand.
- Help you understand how relevant your brand is against your competitors and the most influential brands in the world
- Understand how each of your brand pillars is driving engagement and how to optimize
- Analyze images and tell you which attributes in images are performing the best for you to
- Identify keywords to drive differentiation for your brand
- Help you craft more impactful storytelling for your brand
Now, while that swirls around in your mind, let's shift gears and think about effective marketing in a post-pandemic world.
Creating Impact via Brand Community
If you're like this author, you'd LOVE to forget the COVID-19 pandemic completely. But we did learn a lot about human behavior, advertising, and the importance of social contact — both real and perceived — during that time.
What Chief Marketing Officers Learned from the Pandemic
American consumers crave community. Think back to 2021 (sorry) and remember the marketing magic of Peloton, a $2,400 exercise bike plus monthly membership fees ad infinitum.
The marketing masters at Peloton were hugely successful at pitching the supportive fitness community available in the privacy of your home. Their commercials featured healthy-looking individuals from diverse backgrounds enjoying the social aspects of classes, not the health benefits of fitness. It worked because people had a deep need for social interaction to fulfill. We humans need to belong, it is hard-wired in our nature, we release Oxytocin when we bond with others and it makes us feel good.
And artificial intelligence is the perfect tool for marketers who wish to build a community around their brand and keep tabs on the hive mind. You can use it to:
- Monitor the relevance of your brand to your audiences
- Identify sentiment towards your brand and your content
- Take a pulse on how your creative initiatives are resonating with your brand’s audiences.
- Keep a finger on reputation management
- Learn about slang related to your service as it rises and falls away quickly
- Explore diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in your brand storytelling
This leads nicely into our last marketing topic related to AI, monitoring and market research.
Using Your AI to Answer New Questions
You already know about Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and traditional business metrics, and you've likely established current averages and considered some future goals. We're not going to bore you with the same old stuff.
At the risk of sounding cliche, we will ask you to think outside that box. What are some new questions you'd like to have answered? Artificial intelligence can help you answer those questions and even create new ones.
Stumped for fresh questions to ask? How about:
- What is my brand’s most engaging visual attribute?
- Which of my brand pillars is the best to drive differentiation?
- What is working for the best brands in the world that I could apply to my own brand?
These are only a few ideas to help you get that creative juice flowing. We can use artificial intelligence to get fast answers quickly and get new questions posed to us.
Ultimately, once armed with new information, we can create impactful and engaging stories that resonate with our target markets. We can build communities around our brand and ensure the message circulating within them is on-brand and positive. Finally, we can stay on top of this information in real-time, from as broad or as granular a perspective as we like.
So check out Crant's cutting-edge Brand Tracker to beat the competition and aim for sustainable growth in the future.
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