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In the midst of an AI boom, let’s not forget Human intelligence and diligence

Behave consulting director cautions that greater automation and efficiency should be a priority for all businesses, but this is not where AI’s utility ends

By Lea Karam

Artificial intelligence (AI) is on everyone’s lips. AI-powered conversational search engines like ChatGPT and Bard are dominating the headlines. But whilst investing in greater automation to unlock improved efficiency should be the priority for any business worth its salt, this is not where AI’s utility ends. 

One-size-fits-all marketing campaigns are obsolete. Two-thirds of consumers believe companies should understand their unique needs. Tailored campaigns that cater to individual preferences are the catalyst to succeeding in today’s ad-saturated landscape. 

AI’s ability to analyse scores of data across social media, online searches and user interactions can be marketers’ new differentiator. Detecting emerging trends and patterns can provide a keen insight into human behaviour - the perfect foundation for improving creative quality and consistently delivering campaigns that resonate with audiences. 

The devil is in the data

Personalisation isn’t an optional extra for marketers - almost nine-in-ten consumers enjoy personalised advertising based on their interests. And although human staff can deliver on this expectation, AI’s speed gives it the edge.

Machine learning algorithms can recognise, aggregate and recreate cultural patterns sourced from millions of data points - something the human eye couldn’t possibly detect. Using consumers’ browsing habits and purchase history to guide the content creation process ensures assets will speak to their preferences. 

This doesn’t just apply on a local scale. International strategists can leverage this data to create mailers and social media posts that embody relevant messaging worldwide, making them more likely to be accepted by different communities with unique values. 

Crunching the numbers is only one feather in AI’s cap. Using innovative tools to go beyond traditional research methods - such as surveys - empowers marketers to stay in-touch with social norms. And it is this comprehensive understanding that can unlock better results across the marketing funnel, driving improvements across attention, engagement and conversion metrics. 

Variety is the spice of (marketing) life

Marketers aren’t short of AI tools that can identify key consumer behaviours. Sentiment analysis tools can detect the tone and emotion behind social media posts and customer reviews, whilst image recognition technology analyses visual content to identify objects, people and locations. 

The emergence of natural language processing (NLP) has opened even more doors: the ability to analyse customer interactions enables marketers to provide personalised recommendations and responses. Adoreboard’s NLP algorithms analyses frequent themes and emotions within consumer discourse to identify communities’ pain points. This data helps businesses create tailored content whilst allowing them to adapt their strategies based on human feeling - not just empty words. 

You can gain insights into key segments that drive a brand's USP (unique selling point). For example, to expand TikTok's user base, we used NLP to analyse social communities, identifying growth audiences like Gamers in Germany, Fashion enthusiasts in Italy, Comedy lovers in France, and Football enthusiasts across the 5EU (the five largest countries in the EU). Recognising their need for "skilled" content, we positioned TikTok as a platform for Creative Education, focusing on Football Skills, Tech Streams, Gaming Events, and Learn on TikTok. NLP helped identify prominent communities, enabling sustainable growth and targeted content investments.

Yet for all AI’s stardust, it is up to marketers to ensure that the behavioural insights it uses to inform creative and strategic decisions are relevant and accurate. Human intelligence and diligence can’t be forgotten. Teams have to be trained to consider the ethical implications of using customer data and balance this against campaign robustness. 

Practise what you preach

Creativity may be an innate human quality - but that doesn’t mean it can’t be supported by technical assistance. 

AI-powered eye-tracking tools facilitate improved logo placements and colour palette choices, thereby driving greater engagement. Emotion AI can dig deeper into the real-time factors affecting target audiences - this equips concept development teams to stay tuned-in to the problems they’re trying to solve. 

Understanding consumers’ tone-of-voice - both in-person and online - is the first step to creating engaging copy. Looking at personality analysis through an AI-lens can streamline keyword selection and provide a better overview of the traits and trends that echo amongst your target demographic. 

Finger licking good

Applying Emotion AI to vast amounts of data helps us gauge the response of key segments to a product launch. For example, we used Emotion AI to analyse sentiment surrounding KFC's vegan options launch and assess its alignment with the brand's core. By examining discussions related to "KFC Vegan options," we identified themes that drove adoption, such as the community's focus on "a KFC miracle" and "indulgence." Emotion AI revealed high levels of "surprise," "anticipation," and "ecstasy" in the community's tone, highlighting the ironic and humorous aspect that resonated with vegans. 

Despite KFC's chicken-centric reputation, the emphasis shifted towards the brand's expertise in delivering taste, with the community desiring a vegan option that satisfied their preferences. Using AI, we can quantify positive sentiment and understand the motivations and emotional cues that resonate based on the brand's unique selling proposition. Creatives should reflect the ironic and humorous aspect of KFC's success in mastering vegan chicken, showcasing how the vegan community can now indulge in a unique and satisfying KFC experience. The goal is not to replace chicken entirely but to pioneer a new type of chicken, symbolising a "finger lickin' good chicken miracle.

Can’t have one without the other…

These steps shouldn’t be taken in isolation. Bridging them together and taking behavioural insights from multiple data points is the most effective way to produce best-in-class creativity. And this isn’t just a short-term stop gap. Adopting a test-and-learn approach will see your AI self-learn and provide input into which elements are performing well. AI judging AI - who knew? 

AI is going from strength-to-strength, with little sign of momentum slowing down. But being able to provide insights into the consumer psyche doesn’t make it the complete package - and it isn’t quite ready to replace traditional research, human innovation and creativity entirely. Marketers have honed their expertise through years of experience; this remains the decisive factor in crafting compelling content that keeps audiences flocking.

Lea Karam is the Consulting Director at Behave


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