AI is centralising the consumer journey: Here’s how your brand can stand out

AI is centralising the consumer journey: Here’s how your brand can stand out

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in language-based AI models, and their applications within engagement marketing. In fact, by now, there probably aren’t many people who haven’t heard of at least one of these tools.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Google’s Bard. Microsoft’s Bing. These AI models have caught the imagination of consumers and corporate entities alike through their ability to understand and respond to human language in a way that is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

In a previous piece, we spoke in length about the way in which we expect to work with AI not as our replacement, but as an augmentation that enables us to reach our potential more easily. And, as an engagement marketing group leveraging a vast network of innovators and creative thinkers, we stand by the fact that the efficiency and speed of AI is no substitute for the human imagination combined with boundaryless collaboration.

However, search-based AIs are looking increasingly likely to become a substitute for many of the methods through which brands have long engaged with their audiences. More specifically, they connect marketing channels such as websites, blog content and more, together under one, machine-lead roof. That’s because, as these models evolve, so too does the prospective digital consumer experience they can deliver.

At present, users can lean on AI to assist with research, analytics, content creation and education, to name but a few of its practical applications.

But as time goes on, AI will not only answer questions and perform routine tasks more efficiently, it will also be able to interact with a growing number shopping applications, holiday booking companies, and education platforms, as well as providing ever more effective summaries of web pages and literature.

In short, the future of these tools will see them function as a fully integrated one-stop shop for all the consumer’s needs. But what does this mean for brands?

The implications of integration

It may come as a surprise to learn that many of the developments mentioned above are already in play, albeit in a somewhat nascent alpha form.

In fact, OpenAI’s ChatGPT already boasts a number of high-profile plug-ins that allow the tool to reach across several traditional marketing channels. For example, in 2022, Expedia announced that it was integrating ChatGPT into its mobile app. This integration allows users to hold open-ended conversations with ChatGPT about travel recommendations and insights.

And Expedia aren’t the only household brand to get an early seat in this new phase of digital marketing. Payment platform Klarna, automation platform Zapier, and intelligent CRM HubSpot are just a handful of the brands proving that ChatGPT is increasingly commodifying interfaces, therefore becoming an aggregator for other apps, and a homogeniser of the marketplace.

For brands, this represents a potential double-edged sword. Whilst efficiencies may be boosted, this process will also redistribute website traffic and often somewhat detach an organisation’s services from its brand, presenting new hurdles in terms of organic audience engagement.

Furthermore, these tools will stretch ubiquitously across industries, so regardless of the product or service your brand offers, you’ll likely need to optimise your marketing strategy to be AI friendly, in order to ensure you maintain discoverability and exposure.

So, how can that actually be achieved?

Fighting AI with AI

It may seem counterintuitive to some, and possibly obvious to others, but using AI to keep your learning and development at pace with the development of new AI solutions is a great way to ensure your brand cuts through.

There are a number of ways language-based AI models will help you both understand what your audience want to engage with, and how to achieve it. However, chief amongst these, when it comes to keeping up with the centralisation of the consumer journey, is personalisation.

For example, brands could use language-based AI to enhance personalisation by learning about the user’s needs and desires with great efficiency. For more complex or larger datasets, AI could also help you to quickly analyse and interpret insights, enabling you to focus on creating the most engaging marketing possible.

For brands with smaller marketing teams and or resources, AI can also prove useful as a means to bolster your websites, content and social media posts with effective keywords, titles and more, meaning they’ll be more likely to be picked up by chat-based search tools.

By using these learnings, you can ensure that your services are optimised for an AI model that’s looking to provide the most relevant products and services to its users, by matching the level of specificity that a machine learning tool can provide its clients.

However, as with creativity, these tools have their limitations, and are best used in tandem with human expertise and insight. As such, in order to foster the best discoverability and engagement, we recommend combining the efficiency of AI insights with the depth of knowledge an agency or agency group will have in your given industry and/or geography.

Ultimately, discoverability is important, but memorability and true, meaningful interactions between brand and audience are the foundations of positive and lasting engagement. As such, there are two key pillars that we believe will help every brand navigate the changes AI will bring to the marketing landscape: a strong, authentic brand; and the means to effectively express it using an omnichannel approach.

New terrain, same authenticity

Regardless of how consumers arrive at an interaction with your brand, it’s vital that when they get there, they’re met with a brand that not only looks and sounds great, but one that lives and breathes authenticity, warmth, and deep shared values.

If your brand is able to output these factors across all channels, then your audience will be able to connect with them, whether it’s through your website, by attending your live experience, or while accessing your information or services through a streamlined, somewhat detached language-based AI.

Achieving this level of synergy demands a truly holistic engagement marketing approach that encompasses the following key pillars:

  • Understanding your audience: By combining detailed collection and analysis of data with on the ground insights and local knowledge, you can determine not only what your audience needs, but also how they think and what they value. We wrote more about this earlier in the year (link to values piece)
  • An interconnected approach: By ensuring all your marketing efforts are well-connected, both strategically and geographically, your brand, its values and its message can reach audiences around the world with consistency
  • Championing creativity: Great brands and engaging marketing can’t be achieved without creativity and innovation. Brands that find new ways to reach their audiences, and more creative ways to communicate their message will rarely struggle to create brand fans

Reaching this can be a challenge, even without the rising ambiguity caused by developments chat-based AI plugins. However, no brand has to go it alone. By accessing an engagement marketing platform with a network of specialised agencies, tailored to delivering truly globalised, omnichannel marketing strategy and execution, your brand can be ready for whatever market developments come your way.

After all, AI may be able to change the way we do things, but we can only do things that change the world when we work together. So, as AI continues to alter the marketing landscape, we’ll be keeping an eye out for ways to innovate, stay ahead of the curve, and champion human connection.

To find out how mci group can help your brand adapt and thrive in the age of integrated AI, get in touch with us at call +41 22 33 99 500 or Email:

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AI is centralising the consumer journey: Here’s how your brand can stand out

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