Retail in Asia

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Breathing life into Gen AI-powered brand communications with verbal strategy

The integration of Generative AI (Gen AI) tools into modern marketing and communication workflows has sparked a content creation revolution. Businesses across industries are recognising the potential of AI-assisted writing to streamline content generation, enhance efficiency and improve collaboration.

SEE ALSO: Singapore shoppers want better personalisation, more transparency with AI while shopping

A recent Gartner survey revealed that nearly half of marketing leaders have already integrated Gen AI tools into their workflows, with another 43 percent planning to follow suit.

The advent of Gen AI, combined with a robust verbal branding strategy, offers a remarkable opportunity for businesses to elevate their marketing effectiveness to new heights. By harnessing the capabilities of technology alongside human experience, a powerful synergy can be achieved, captivating audiences and forging authentic connections.

While AI undoubtedly streamlines content creation, it is the human-centric strategy that truly breathes life into words, allowing brands to leave an indelible mark on their customers.

Driving Impactful Brand Communications Through Verbal Strategy, not Words

Regardless of whether the goal is to stimulate demand, ignite transformation, or nurture customer loyalty, brand strategies must be strategically aligned with these pivotal business imperatives.

In a landscape filled with the allure of advertising and captivating social campaigns, visuals and imagery often command the spotlight. However, a vital strategic element tends to be overlooked – verbal branding. Verbal branding extends far beyond catchy slogans and memorable jingles. It encompasses the strategic use of language across diverse touch points, including voice, messaging, content strategy, and copywriting, all aimed at conveying a brand’s essence and forging emotional connections with the audience.

A successful verbal strategy ensures a consistent and distinctive presence across all consumer touch points – encompassing social media, digital marketing, and product interfaces. By meticulously defining a verbal branding strategy, businesses can carve out a unique space for themselves within a competitive marketplace, striking a resounding chord with their intended audience.

Harnessing the Power of Gen AI in Verbal Branding

Despite having a well-defined verbal strategy, businesses often encounter numerous challenges during execution. From managing content volume and cadence, investing in talents and suppliers, creating iterations and personalisation, to ensuring effective collaboration across departments and accurately measuring return on investment (ROI), the path to successful verbal branding is rarely straightforward.

AI, when strategically applied under the guidance of human experts, can prove to be a game-changer for businesses looking to overcome these hurdles. Gen AI can play a vital role in content generation, coordination, and data analysis, leading to increased efficiency, cost reduction, and an overall improvement in the effectiveness of branding efforts.

Generate formulated copy for digital marketing

For digital marketing, marketers often need to generate precise yet personalised messages at scale – a task that’s highly time consuming, technical and repetitive. Gen AI-powered platforms like ChatGPT are transforming digital marketing by enabling rapid content generation and producing various copy variations, given the appropriate guidance.

Emergent platforms like Lokalise have also allowed for content localisation, especially across different languages, and are much more efficient. Additionally, through meta data and machine learning technologies, AI tools can also improve content personalization. For example, Copy AI is a tool that specializes in personalized sales copy and dynamic social media content. The interactive AI interface allows marketers to experiment with different angles and variations, leading to more effective and compelling messaging.

However, verbal strategy and language refinement remain indispensable in this process. While Gen AI can churn out content quickly, human experts are needed to define the brand’s tone of voice, verbal strategy and personalisation tactics, while curating and elevating AI-generated copy. In this process, human expertise remains crucial to edit, refine, build, and take the content to the next level. Only through the experienced guidance of human experts can businesses create impactful and authentic content that resonates with their target audience.

Provide insights and baselines for content marketing

AI excels in synthesising data, thus can help writers generate topic ideas by identifying trending topics, competitive keywords, and popular content formats. Platforms like Jasper and Content at Scale can do just that. Such assistance can save marketers valuable time in brainstorming ideas for content that’s relevant and engaging at a high cadence. Moreover, Gen AI-powered tools can be used to identify grammatical errors and enhance the overall readability of content.

Despite these remarkable strides in AI capabilities, the skillset of experienced writers and verbal experts are irreplaceable in content marketing. Developing content calendars based on brand strategy demands a deep understanding of the brand’s marketing priorities, target audience and business objectives. Additionally, human creativity and expertise play a crucial role in crafting high-quality content that is literarily masterful while seamlessly aligning with the brand’s vision to resonate with the audience on a more fundamental level.

Optimise the conversational experience of Chatbots

Customer service is a critical touchpoint for brands, and providing seamless support is essential for building customer loyalty. Chatbots and digital assistants have emerged as powerful tools to enhance business resilience in this aspect. By offering immediate support, reducing operational expenses and capturing valuable customer insights, these AI tools are reshaping the customer service landscape. Although they primarily rely on Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies, companies are now integrating Gen AI into Chatbots to make the experiences richer, more seamless.

However, ensuring a comprehensive brand strategy is in place is vital for creating outstanding conversational experiences. Brand strategy, on one hand, plays a pivotal role in defining the role of the chatbot in the brand portfolio. On the other hand, it is equally important for creating and implementing detailed verbal guidelines for AI-driven interactions. By designing chatbots’ identities through branded personas, businesses can deliver immersive experiences to their customers that are not only authentic, but also instrumental to their brand strategies.

For example, AXA’s humanised user interface, the “Empathetic Navigator” Emma, helps transform the insurer from payer to partner. In doing so, Emma became AXA’s signature experience to offer a more human approach to being a partner and connecting with its customers.

Key Considerations When Applying Gen AI Solutions

Despite its exciting potential, using Gen AI to activate marketing strategies requires careful consideration of several factors. 

  1. Data security and authenticity should be prioritised. As AI tools and practices are currently an emerging area with limited oversight, it’s crucial for businesses to validate that the information provided is accurate and non-proprietary. Keeping confidential and proprietary data out of AI training process is also essential. 
  2. Understanding regional nuances is crucial when deploying Gen AI for verbal branding across different markets and languages. Different AI tools may have varying strengths and weaknesses based on the cultural context they were trained in. For example, in China, Baidu WenxinYiyan, Tencent’s Hunyuan and iFlyTek’s SparkDesk have arisen as admirable contenders. Additionally, policies and regulations as they start to emerge may differ across regions. Just recently, China became the first country to launch official regulations around Gen AI, while the EU is also in the process of evaluating its AI Act. Therefore, businesses should consider using AI models trained specifically for each target market to ensure better relevance and compliance.
  3. Going a step further. Customisation is key to leveraging AI effectively for branding objectives. Tailoring the AI solutions to the business’s unique needs, persona, tone of voice and style can create a more authentic and relatable verbal branding experience for the audience. Continuously verifying and adapting the outputs generated by AI is essential to maintain consistency with the brand’s identity and messaging. Businesses should learn from the AI-generated content and customer feedback to improve the system over time, making it more accurate and reflective of the brand’s values and objectives.

SEE ALSO: Asia Pacific loyalty potential: Harnessing opportunities in diversity

Harmonising Gen AI and Human Expertise: The Path Forward in Verbal Branding

Undoubtedly, the integration of Gen AI in content marketing and brand communications workflows has brought about a transformative shift in content creation. The efficiency and scale at which AI operates are truly remarkable, allowing businesses to achieve more than ever before. However, it is crucial to recognize that the real magic happens when AI collaborates with human expertise.

As AI continues to evolve and become an integral part of our business strategies, our guidance and approach must adapt accordingly. Understanding that AI serves as a valuable tool, rather than a replacement, will be crucial to our success in an ever-competitive landscape. By harnessing the evolving power of AI while embracing the significance of human oversight in verbal branding, we can truly stand out and thrive in this dynamic and rapidly changing world.

About the author

Virginia Ngai is an associate partner at Prophet, a global consultancy. She is a senior creative-strategic leader with close to 20 years of experience in consumer insight, innovation, brand strategy, public relations, digital, advertising and journalism. She has led differentiated brand and communications strategies to help drive business growth for such companies as Facebook, JP Morgan, HSBC, Cigna, Marriott International, and Volkswagen.