It's the age of AI: What brands need to be more than mere messengers

Using AI for content hacks to primarily manipulate search engine rankings will not only be caught by Google but also by a mindful consumer who can put two and two together

Updated: Jun 14, 2023 10:23:39 AM UTC
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Messages come in different forms and proportions. Some take us through the reality that beckons us with an authentic voice, others expose the reality they are meant to hide under the veil of a fancy medium. A few others hide the reality they are meant to expose by focusing attention away from what is the truth. If the message is not distorted out of proportion, you may earnestly ask how does it matter?

Marshall McLuhan coined the expression “the medium is the message" which suggests that media has a significant impact on the messages they deliver. Insofar as the message that came out of any medium goes—however perceptive or impactful the medium was—the final output was always influenced or governed by human input.

However, human input is far from perfect. Humans make mistakes, and we justify that reality with the persona we create out of every human distinguished by unique behaviors, tendencies, and traits that make us who we are. We communicate through messages—some long and research-backed and others short and opinion-based. Machines have learned this art of communication but need to complement data with purpose and empathy—to counterintuitively make up for human vulnerability, where it falls short, and align goals and tactics around a larger brand ethos to make good on the AI promise.

Also Read- Unravelling the ethics of large language models: Navigating concerns in ChatGPT and beyond

According to Google’s position on AI-generated content for the web, “Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines. This means that it is not used to generate content primarily to manipulate search rankings, which is against our spam policies.” Google rewards high-quality content that demonstrates the qualities of what they call E-E-A-T—expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

The craze around ChatGPT to demystify the world around us in a matter of seconds is here to stay. Messages are delivered at the snap of a finger—what we see is what we believe. Humans often fall into the trap of an all-or-nothing mindset. We can either consume the entire reality or not believe anything at all.

A responsible messenger will be able to ensure customers and prospective consumers will believe the content experiences that a brand serves up every single time. Using AI for content hacks to primarily manipulate search engine rankings will not only be caught by Google but also by a mindful consumer who can put two and two together.

As a brand custodian, it is every marketer’s responsibility to ensure that the message is true to the ethos that the brand stands for. AI-powered marketing should help the customer seamlessly identify with the brand, with every transaction, and take us to the reality that beckons with a sense of authenticity, accuracy, and agility. The brand must undergo a transition from being a mere messenger to a responsible messenger.

Responsible messenger (traits) = Authenticity, accuracy, agility (3A model)

If any of the As becomes zero, the brand loses face as a responsible messenger leading to its reputation taking a hit. For marketing in the age of AI to be successful, brands should be able to deliver on the 3As:

1) Authenticity: A customer’s association with the brand is based on a feeling of trust that the brand can deliver what is asked for with clarity of thought and expression. When this trust comes with layers of artificial intelligence it is important to bring in a layer of authenticity through genuine and consistent

However, according to a McKinsey report, only one-third (33 percent) of consumers believe companies use their data responsibly while the remaining 67 percent have a neutral or negative view of how companies use their data. Designing a high-quality user experience must consider an audience’s core pain points to gain insights into the right customer data and deliver superior experiences. This is how AI can be positively used to win back customer trust.

2) Accuracy: Fact-checking becomes very important in this age of alternative facts. With AI tools, data sources are always going to be called into question time and again. Imagine a company’s sales executive who goes in for a meeting with a retail prospect and takes a stance that goes against the client’s Worse still, not having the data or citing the wrong source could severely undermine the brand’s credibility leading to a lost business opportunity. This is where content governance comes in. Marketers must bring in new standards for responsible AI usage to articulate the brand’s position on a given topic with the right quality control by humans in the place.

3) Agility: The best marketers know how to use time to their advantage and automate manually intensive activities or tasks that consume the most time. For instance, data reporting. Manually, this is a cumbersome activity of pulling raw data from multiple data sources into a single consolidated dashboard. Several times, the dashboards are not in sync with what is happening on the ground and pose a significant challenge around real-time consumer insights. AI can help in custom-built dashboards to automate the right metrics for a given campaign or general website analytics. Combine this with a quick AI research tool around SEO suggestions, and you would have a marketer’s quick guide to building insight-based

Also Read- Navigating through the ethos and sophistication of Generative AI

2023 is a year when we need to define content governance best practices so that we lay the roadmap for its adoption at scale. Brands must develop the persona of a responsible messenger to deliver on the 3As of authenticity, accuracy, and agility to build trust and credibility in the minds of their consumers. AI content creation must be met with strong quality standards of governance to stand the test of time. Marketers who perfect this art will be able to take that balance of bringing in generative AI combined with human input for repeatable models of customer-centric excellence.

The writer is working as content marketing strategy and operations excellence leader—Global Marketing at Schneider Electric. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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