Generative AI: Let’s Reimagine What’s Possible | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

Generative AI: Let’s Reimagine What’s Possible


AI has been the buzzword for some time now with companies like Microsoft and Alphabet investing billions in AI technologies.

According to Bombora Company Surge, interest in AI topics remains strong. Intent data in the graph below show that one of the AI topics that has sparked the greatest increase in interest in recent months is AI content creation, as marketers look for powerful ways to apply generative AI to their workflows.

Why is generative AI so topical? It comes down to every organization's constant quest for new thinking, new ideas, and new innovations that will give them an edge in an increasingly competitive world. According to Gartner, generative AI is at the peak of inflated expectations, projected to meet transformational benefit within two to five years. What that means is that we are beyond being wowed by the possibilities, and are now in the phase of looking for practical applications that will drive creativity, efficiencies, and speed to market.

In the creative industries, generative AI can automate the generation of audio, text, images, and video and accelerate the ability to generate new ideas. This is an exciting opportunity, but one that also leads to tremendous apprehension in terms of how this will affect peoples' roles. End users must be realistic about the value they are looking to achieve with generative AI. Artifacts can be inaccurate, biased, or not always right for the questions at hand, which is where human ingenuity and intelligence comes in.

The true value of generative AI tools is not to think of them as replacing humans, but more as an incredible opportunity to accelerate creative thinking and inventiveness. Generative AI can analyze vast volumes of data very quickly, combining seemingly unrelated datasets to identify patterns that the human brain may struggle to find.

However, what generative AI cannot do is apply empathy or understanding of human beliefs and behaviors. It cannot intuitively review ideas to know which ones will spark. This is where humans come in. Generative AI can ignite interesting thinking, but it cannot operate alone. The value comes from augmenting human creativity, not replacing it.

It is also important to remember that any AI tool is only as good as the dataset that it ingests. There are two aspects of AI to consider: training, the ingestion and learning of data; and inference, the analysis of that data. The answers that come back are built from the dataset that your AI tool accesses.

Brands must start using generative AI as a creative co-pilot to avoid falling behind competitors. Here are a few ways generative AI can create value moving forward:

  • It can support divergent thinking: Generative AI can make associations amongst remote concepts and datasets, identifying patterns, making unexpected connections from massive datasets, and producing ideas incredibly quickly.

  • It can challenge expert bias: We are all influenced by our experiences, even if we try to avoid biased views. Generative AI has the potential to generate content, imagery, and ideas that we may not think of due to our preconceptions about what is right and wrong.

  • It can broaden our knowledge base: For researchers and strategists, generative AI can help to quickly pull together brand SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analyses, trending topics and themes for a category, and conversations associated with brands from a wealth of data. It can accelerate research phases — but again, it can't replace the human mind. Data sources and recency of data are often unclear, so deeper analysis is still required.

Without question generative AI will continue to transform industries, but its true value will only be realized when we bring together man and machine. Rather than feeling concerned that generative AI tools could replace people within an organization, we should look at these tools as a way to lift their positions and move to a higher place. Generative AI tools bring enormous benefits in terms of accelerating creativity, efficiency, and speed to market, and will become essential in the future. They bring the power to release human potential. Reimagine what's possible when human creativity is combined with AI.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Georgia Bradley is SVP of Strategy at Merkle.