By Mahadev Srivatsa
Technology is the long-term propeller for the growth of a brand and often finds expression in its creative manifestation. The fused power of technology and creativity, when underpinned with a clear brand vision, can be one of the strongest tools to garner consumer attention by creating disruption. Using tech to add a different element has always influenced advertising and created unique ways to promote the brand, its products and services. It is nearly impossible to contest the impact of novel technologies in assisting advertising efforts and creating an immersive experience for the consumer.
We have seen many instances of new age technologies used in advertising. One of them is ‘Extended Reality or XR’, an umbrella term inclusive of immersive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR). Extended reality has an incredible potential to assist businesses and brands in engaging audiences, shaping customer perception (especially of products and services), as well as providing interactive, consumer-driven marketing solutions that could significantly transform marketing at large. The use of technology in advertising helps organizations maintain their brand, engage and interact with the majority audience (mostly millennials and Gen Z), and leave a lasting impression.
One of the most noticeable and widely used technology trends, especially in Mainline communication in 2022 is that of Deepfake, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Let’s deep dive to understand how unique these technologies are and their respective impact on MarCom.
Deepfake technology, in its simplest sense, is a type of artificial intelligence applied to create different yet convincing images, audio and video hoaxes. An example of where Deepfake is used in Indian advertising is Pepsi’s campaign with Salman khan with the ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’ theme. Another example is the recent ‘Mann Kiya Zomato Kiya’ campaign, which stars another Bollywood actor, Hrithik Roshan. Owing to their engaging nature, these campaigns proved to be instantaneous hits with consumers. There are several benefits of using Deepfake tech, a major merit being the creation of better omni channel campaigns for stronger engagement of consumers across platforms. It also provides a hyper-personalized experience for the customer, with a tailor-made communication approach, while significantly lowering the cost of production for these TVCs/DVCs.
Another breakthrough in technology which has been extremely beneficial to advertising is Artificial Intelligence (AI). As we know, it refers to the ability of a computer or a robot controlled by a computer to do tasks that are usually done by humans, because they require human intelligence and discernment. For a marketeer, this unleashes a whole new world of possibilities. From common concepts like chat bots to the intriguing one of robot waiters at Japanese restaurants that took the internet by storm last year, a fitting example of AI technology leading the marketing efforts of a company successfully. Sophia, the humanoid robot enjoys a celebrity following on her Instagram, proving yet again, the immersive power of AI Tech.
Machine Learning (ML) aids AI in advertising by improving the backend analytics before launching a campaign. It is a tech process which deep dives into data i.e., takes information, analyses it and formulates the best solution basis the objective. These insights can then be applied for better audience targeting, customisation through AI. This technique finds wide usage in automation and enhancing consumer journey, engagement and experience especially for apps. There are numerous merits of using AI in advertising and more so in Automation and CRM. It helps in creating personalized experiences to trigger brand loyalty and sustain a competitive edge. Decision-making and problem solving is enhanced by several notches as it is done through meticulous analysis of data. Furthermore, target audiences are correctly identified and approached, resulting in an improved ROI. The widely appreciated Cadbury’s Diwali campaign that drove a case for local retail, used AI and dynamic creative optimisation to create personalisation is a good example of the same.
Industry reports (Source: ‘Promises and Perils of Artificial Intelligence and Advertising from University of Missouri), suggest that the disruptive technology of AI is predicted to take up to 80 per cent of global advertising spending by 2023, reaching $517.51 billion. Around 75% of global advertisers use AI in their services.
Another trend that is slowly yet surely picking up in the world of advertising, is the concept of ‘Interactive Advertisements’. Interactive ads are advertisements that users actively participate in or those that present the product as part of the content they are experiencing. Interactive advertising optimizes offline and online media channels to engage and communicate with consumers. Some examples of the use of Interactive Advertisements are playable in-app ads, interactive display ads, and AR. This model can be a strong asset in increasing brand awareness and appeal to your audience.
While most of these technologies were used in building innovative products in leading tech companies, the key differentiator in recent times is how they have become mainstream and found their creative expression in advertising. Few leading brands have also been quick to jump on the bandwagon to drive differentiated tech led campaigns. The response generated indicates positive adoption of tech trends from here on. These immersive trends in the evolved advertising world will help drive improved customer attention, sustained brand awareness and a more engaged audience. It will also help overcome the challenges marketeers have traditionally faced of serving customizable & local content to their TG in a cost effective and efficient manner.
The emergence of these new trends will soon transform into dominance in delivering innovative marketing campaigns. Marketers will also need to be extra cautious to ensure none of the customised messages trigger any unintended impact or controversies.
The author is vice president, marketing and brand strategy, Practically