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By: Rafe Needleman, SVP, Technology Content, Allison+Partners

 

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Artificial Intelligence will change your job — not in five years, not next year, but now. If you’re not 100% convinced, spend some time experimenting with ChatGPT, the conversational chatbot released into open beta by OpenAI in November 2022. ChatGPT is the first free and easytouse chat product based on the groundbreaking GPT 3 Large Language Model (LLM). 

The product is a web-based chat system you can have a real conversation with. It is uncanny how well it constructs text output based on almost any input. It can answer questions, generate what appear to be original ideas and hold a decent conversation on any topic. It can also create plausible technical documentation, such as computer code and macros, and food recipes.  

If you haven’t already tried it, you should. This technology will have a huge impact on communications, marketing and advertising. It will change your job, as much as the introduction of the internet did.   

For many people, ChatGPT provides the first glimpse into what this type of AI will do for us in the future. It is both amazing and terrifying. And the revolution starts today.  

Here’s what to know to get started: 

1. You can use ChatGPT today to improve your productivity.

ChatGPT a great collaborator for generating ideas and outlines. Experiencing writer’s block? Ask ChatGPT to help get you going. Try “Outline an article about…” for starters.  

ChatGPT is also good at getting you up to speed on new topics (Try, “Explain Kubernetes”) and summarizing meetings and complex stories: Type, “Give me the bullet points for this:” and then paste in text from a transcript or story. It can even write Excel macros and more advanced computer code. As part of your existing workflow, ChatGPT can be a great starting point. But keep in mind it can’t (yet) replace all your human skills. Keep reading for why.  

2. ChatGPT lies.

ChatGPT is designed to create text that fits a linguistic model. While it is often useful and accurate, it does frequently make stuff up out of nowhere. In some instances, it gets facts completely wrong (ChatGPT seems to be convinced Russia has sent several bears into space, for example; it hasn’t!). Even if it has the correct information in its enormous corpus of knowledge, that doesn’t mean it understands it, and its output can sound completely plausible while being far off target. It’s also critical to remember ChatGPT was trained in 2021. It knows nothing about the world after that.  

Simply put, you can’t trust ChatGPT for accuracy. Always verify what it gives you. 

3. The field is evolving fast, and you need policies.

If you’re going to use this technology, it’s important to lay out clear guidelines as to how. For example, if you use ChatGPT to write an article for a client, does that need to be disclosed? How about if you use it to prepare social media copy? Let’s say you ask it to write a blog post optimized for a particular audience or SEO. Or maybe you just use it to get an article outline started. Is that something you need to tell stakeholders? 

Communications companies have already caught flack for using generative AI to create content. Publications like CNET have used ChatGPT to write articles for months, The Associated Press has incorporated some kind of AI since 2015, and even The Washington Post employed it to help write for the 2020 Presidential Election. They are all still working out how to use it and how they should publicly disclose its use for written articles.  

You must work out how you incorporate the technology into your day-to-day work in a responsible way.  Make it clear how your teams should and shouldn’t use the tool, knowing its limitations and pitfalls. And make sure you communicate this to partners and customers.  

4. Meet the “AI Native”

The capability of AI to generate original and useful creative work at scale will prove to be one of the foundational technologies of the 21st century. It will change how we live, work, learn and even think. The children born into this world will be “AI natives” and will understand the world of ideas in a different way from their parents. We can hope this technology will mostly be used to advance the way we learn and think, just as calculators changed our relationship with math. But we simply do not know yet how the developing brain will react to this type of machine intelligence. 

One thing we do need to look out for, though, is a growing digital divide exacerbated by this technology. AI is not cheap to create or run, and some populations may just not have access to it, potentially putting them at an economic disadvantage. It will be a global challenge to create a responsible framework for the distribution of this tech. 

5. Generative AI will impact your job, but it won’t kill it.

The software’s ability to create useful customized content is staggering and fundamental. It will certainly change how you work, as well as the nature of creative work at all levels and in every industry, worldwide.   

However, no matter how useful (or damaging) this technology becomes, AI will always lack imagination, vision and compassion. Adapting to this new technology will not be easy, it is still only a tool, and we can use it to reinforce our best, most human qualities. It will still need you – your humanity, your personality, your perspective and your soul.   

Be ready to change, adapt and embrace this new technology as another tool in your box of tricks. 

Those who ignore the power of AI in communications will fall behind a skills curve. It’s something we’ve already embraced at A+P as one of the many tools we use. And we help clients navigate how to make the most out of this amazing technology. Keep following this blog and our social media feeds on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook as we continue our series on the power of AI.

Disclosure: This story was written by a human.

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By: Aaron Kwittken, Co-Founder and CEO, PRophet

Originally Published in The Drum

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When I launched PRophet in late 2020 I left behind both the ’comforts’ of agency life and the agency I founded. Fast-forward to 2023 and the road less traveled is now a digital super-highway destined to transform the PR industry as we know it, primarily using AI-driven technologies and techniques designed to make modern communicators more productive.

There’s been a lot of press lately about OpenAI’s ChatGPT. While mostly positive and exciting, some critics and naysayers claim the tool’s capabilities are overstated, while others worry that it could be the death knell of creativity by catalyzing complacency and plagiarism.

Some are comparing the rapid rise of ChatGPT to the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. One thing is certain, AI is arguably the most consequential innovation in modern history and is undeniably having a deeply profound impact on industries and facets of day-to-day life. For example, you can hire AI interns Aiden and Aiko; chat with any number of historical figures and celebrities that are living, dead, real or imagined through Character.AI; or hire a DJ through PlaylistAI. On a more serious note: thanks to researchers from MassGeneral, AI can accurately predict lung cancer risk in smokers and non-smokers up to six years into the future.

Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, has begun exploring ways to incorporate ChatGPT into its products, leading Google’s management to issue a “code red” and shift focus to developing AI products while laying off thousands of employees. In other words, shit is getting real.

So what does all of this mean for marketers, notably PR professionals and content creators? AI pierced the veil of doubt once upheld by a cabal of Luddites that dominated our industry. PR people who solely rely on or continue to tout their media relationships as their superpower will have the decision to make: become a fossil or become a communications engineer.

A communications engineer sits at the intersection of art and science. They create and manage narratives and drive audience engagement using data and insights to backstop their gut instinct. They build agile teams and fly-wheel tech stacks that deliver specific DIY solutions with minimal human involvement. They use software to find signals in the noise, sussing out and mitigating missiles of misinformation before they can cause harm. They are able to identify journalists’ interests before they make a pitch. And they use technology to generate first drafts of content like press releases, blogs, sticky headlines, crisis statements, bios and social posts.

They will not succumb to the once-dominant, winner-take-all industry tech heavyweights (you all know who I am referring to) who sell analog database systems replete with hackneyed, unfulfilled claims that everything can be done on one platform, from pitching to monitoring to attribution analyses. They see ChatGPT as just the beginning and are looking to continuously improve their performance and experiment with new generative AI models.

Adopting the mindset, tech stack and workflow of a communications engineer will future-proof PR professionals, agencies and brand teams alike. The future is now.

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As we look to the future of marketing, one thing is certain: Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) will play a major role in shaping the industry. From generative A.I. revolutionizing the way we approach creativity to predictive A.I. providing unprecedented insights and analytics, the potential of A.I. in marketing is vast and exciting.  

But what exactly does the next decade hold for this rapidly evolving field? We asked some of the top minds across Stagwell, including leaders from the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, PRophet, Code and Theory, Colle McVoy, Yamamoto, Concentric Health Experience, and Vitro, to share their predictions and insights on the future of A.I. in marketing.  

A.I. Won’t Eat the World – But it Will Give Consumers Time and Brands Opportunity

Mansoor Basha, Chief Technology Officer, Stagwell Marketing Cloud

“AI and ML are at the forefront of driving digital transformation across industries and will undoubtedly continue to do so. In a 2011 op-ed, Marc Andreessen observed an environment in which software was increasingly becoming king, famously stating that ‘software is eating the world.’ His observation came about a decade after the peak of the 1990s dot-com bubble as companies like Facebook and Skype were booming. Looking to the next decade, I believe that AI and ML will be eating the world, changing the way we work, live, and interact with brands. 

I predict that as AI technology changes everything around us—with things like driverless cars and more efficient, sustainable systems—consumers will have more time on their hands. This will give brands the opportunity to leverage more pointed channels to reach audiences that have more free time to participate. AI will find brands’ ideal audiences and reach consumers in the right place at the right time, especially as AR and VR go mainstream. 

And as the hype around ChatGPT and generative AI simmers down, marketing teams will become more comfortable adopting a wide range of AI tools that help them build powerful workflows that drive innovation, aid in decision making, and create new business models. ChatGPT will be an entry point for many marketing teams as they look for relevant ways to use new technologies in their day-to-day work.”
 

Enhance, Not Replace

Aaron Kwittken, Founder and CEO, PRophet

“Generative AI, while not perfect, is the needle that pierced the veil of doubt and fear amongst marketers when it comes to adopting AI technology. The current limitations are only encumbered by the lack of data needed to make it more performative. 

When paired with the right inputs, this technology will make marketers more efficient by enabling them to create base content faster and better, freeing them up for higher value tasks like editing and strategy deployment. In addition to content creation for press releases, social posts, pitches, marketing collateral, blogs, and more, I see this technology as a huge aid when it comes to legal and compliance issues, especially when working with third parties like influencers and celebrity spokespeople.

Make no mistake, though, the downsides will need to be managed. 

Generative AI may reduce the need for junior staff; could be used as an accelerant to create and spread mis and disinformation; and could make professionals more complacent, less creative, and more transactional. This is where it will be on marketers to get creative about how they use this tool to enhance their current activities, not replace them.” 

The Key Word with A.I.? Enablement

Dan Gardner, Code and Theory Co-Founder and Executive Chairman

“At the moment, where we will see AI transformation is in how we conduct business. While traditional creative shops may be focused on stunts and activations, I believe the key word here is ‘enablement,’ and how the technology allows businesses to do what they haven’t been able to do before.

Where the technology is built into systems that yield long-term results. What this looks like exactly, we still do not know for certain, but I do know that technology at its best is when it has the power to drive meaningful change in people’s lives.” 

Watch Out for A.I.’s “WordPress” Era

Yamamoto Digital Team

In the end it’s not the technology that sells, it’s the story it tells.”  

Welcome to AI as shiny new toy, with machine learning, natural language processing and open access combining to create a sandbox for early adopters. Expect showy, public activations (e.g. Ryan Reynolds reading an AI-generated script for Mint Mobile) as well as backstage experimentation. We marketers will find it hard to pass on an instant first draft of everything we do.  

Then AI enters its WordPress phase. Smaller players will benefit from “good enough” templates that auto-generate content. Meanwhile experts will game AI’s limitations to circumvent the inevitable commoditization.  

There are also threats. To brand safety. To copyright laws. To beliefs about creativity. We’ll have hard conversations about everything from unconscious bias to criminal misuse. Then, in ten years, full impact. We imagine a golden age of hyper-targeted, account-based marketing. We also predict AI depreciating the value of individual assets a la Napster killing the compact disc. Expect real people to respond with bespoke, humanistic, artisan campaigns.   

Finally, a confession. That tasty quote at the top? ChatGPT wrote it. The prompt: Crystalize the future of AI in the haunted, optimistic voice of Don Draper. How’d we do?  

“Make it More Human” 

Ben Majoy, Creative Director, Observatory

We’re in the industry of threading the needle of perfection, constantly trying to find new ways to get as close as possible to what sometimes feels like an impossible vision. Artificial Intelligence is now creating a superficial answer to that question, but we’ll soon see that creating something narratively resonant means a lot more than a “vision” coming to life.

In the same way that a perfect cheeseburger just doesn’t taste as good as a sloppy one (or any other curated vs. bespoke experience example you want to use), we’re going to see that no matter how accurate the A.I. responds to our prompt, it will never FEEL as good as the human-made. There’s humanity in what we do.

Until Artificial Intelligence can replicate nostalgia, trauma, and emotions like seeing someone you haven’t seen in ten years and picking up right where you left off, we will also feel like something is missing. We’re about to enter the era of “make it more human,” taking the place of the “I’ll know it when I see it” feedback loop.

Sturgeon’s Law

Tom Sullivan, CEO, Vitro

RESPONSE TO YOUR PROMPT, FROM CHAT GPT (195 words) 

AI is already revolutionizing marketing…and this continue over the next decade. A big step will be through the use of machine learning algorithms to analyze consumer data and make more targeted, personalized recommendations. This will likely include personalized email campaigns, targeted social media ads, and customized product recommendations on e-commerce sites.

Or course…there are chatbots and virtual assistants. These tools allow companies to interact with customers in real-time, providing immediate support and assistance. They will also be able to handle routine tasks, freeing up human customer service reps to handle more complex inquiries. As time marches on these will continue to get better (and seem even more human). 

AI will also have a major impact on content marketing, as machine learning algorithms will be able to analyze consumer data and create more effective content. This could include personalized blog posts, videos, and other types of content that are more likely to engage and convert consumers. 

Overall, the use of AI in marketing is likely to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience. Whilst there may be some initial disruptions as companies adopt these new technologies, the long-term benefits are likely to be significant. 

RESPONSE TO YOUR PROMPT, FROM TOM (195 words) 

See above. It’s so generative. It’s Sturgeon’s Law (90% of everything is crap). My guess is…AI will generate at least 50% of marketing assets/thinking. It’ll probably all be pretty smart…pretty good. But when it gets to emotional storytelling, powerful creative…it’ll be just like people, generating a lot of “crap”. AI is digital. Digital is binary. Zeroes and Ones. Blacks and whites. Much of creativity comes from the muted tones, the instincts and intuitions…the random brain synapses that live in the grays. I’ve spent a lot of time playing with AI in several arts (music, writing, imagery). Some of it really interesting, and maybe even gives bits of inspiration…but so much of it is just a mashup of elements we’ve seen before. Usually…you can tell AI was the ghost in the machine, right away.  

These are relatively early days, and they are super exciting…but here are three watchouts that come to mind:  racial biases and presenting incorrect information as true fact. And…look at the “open” in Open AI. It seems to be claiming that everything is open source. So I wonder; will I will end up being a windfall for intellectual property attorneys? Time will tell.   

The InkWell is Half Full for Copywriters

 

John Neerland, VP, Group Creative Director, Colle McVoy

Over the past month, ChatGPT has hit the world, the industry and advertising copywriters in particular, like a ton of virtual bricks.  

The reaction from writers I’ve talked to has ranged from cautious pessimism to downright dread. Gallows humor abounds. One writer quipped that it might finally be time to get HVAC certified.  

But I’m choosing, for now, to see the inkwell as half full. Just like Photoshop didn’t eliminate art directors and designers, ChatGPT won’t make copywriters obsolete.   

Out of the gate, ChatGPT is only as good as the inputs it receives. And even then, ask it to write headlines for a specific product or brand and you get a list that feels more like 50s newspaper retail ads than the One Show.   

So, if it isn’t pumping out pencil-worthy lines just yet, how can copywriters harness ChatGPT (and not be trampled by it)? Some initial ways include using it to get over blank page syndrome, getting unstuck from one idea or approach, exploring new tones and styles, making copy more search friendly and speeding up the more mundane writing tasks to free up time for more interesting ones.   

Over the next decade, my hope is that copywriters find ways to leverage AI not only as a technological aid to make their work easier and more efficient, but a tool to help make their ideas bigger and their writing better than they’ve ever imagined. Or maybe that’s just what the bots want us to believe. 

A Foundational 21st Century Development

 

Allison+Partners Digital team

Generative AI is about to change our world.  The capability of AI to generate original and useful creative work at scale is both amazing and terrifying, yet it will be one of the foundational technologies of the 21st century.  There’s no question it will change how we – as communicators and consumers – live, work, learn and even think.   

Tools like ChatGPT make it easier to quickly create targeted content, both written and visual. What’s more, it will help expedite what was once a very manual (and tedious) process by customizing and personalizing content for journalists, analysts and customers. In turn, there’s every chance that many of these pitches will be received by AIs with subsequent stories likely written by them as well. (In fact, some already are – controversially.)

Yes, AI may help everyone create content, just like calculators and spreadsheets help us generate numbers. But AI cannot imagine. It cannot bring years of client experience and strategy to the table. And it cannot replace passion, empathy or excitement for our clients and their offerings. AI is just one tool, plain and simple. We can and should use it to reinforce our best, most human qualities in the many years ahead. However, it will still need you – your humanity, your personality, your perspective and your soul.  

—-

This piece is part of Stagwell’s Marketing Frontiers content series on Artificial Intelligence. Visit this page to view other perspectives and work from Stagwell’s global teams on A.I.

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NEW HOUSE SPEAKER KEVIN MCCARTHY EMERGES WITH MODERATE CONSERVATIVE IMAGE FROM THE SPEAKERSHIP FIGHT, NOT FAR RIGHT

OVERWHELMING MAJORITY (OVER 8 IN 10 VOTERS) WANTS CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION THAT SECURES SOCIAL SECURITY

TWO-THIRDS OF VOTERS SUPPORT COMPROMISE IMMIGRATION REFORM THAT SECURES THE BORDER AND HELPS DACA RECIPIENTS

NEW YORK and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) today released the results of the January Harvard CAPS / Harris Poll, a monthly collaboration between the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard (CAPS) and the Harris Poll and HarrisX.

President Joe Biden’s approval rating remains stable but underwater at 42%. Ahead of the looming debt ceiling fight, 63% of voters want Congress to raise the limit but with restraints on future spending. Download key results from the poll here.

“Most voters think that the Biden classified documents are a serious issue and there is bipartisan support to investigate what happened, and whether the Biden team was aware of this issue before the midterms,” said Mark Penn, Co-Director of the Harvard-CAPS Harris Poll and Stagwell Chairman and CEO. “The Biden White House has so far appeared flat footed on this issue.”

Added Penn: “Most voters also want Democrats to come to the table on debt ceiling negotiations because their frustrations over what they see as runaway spending are boiling over. Biden and the Democrats will need to act strategically as we head into the 2024 election cycle.”

BIDEN’S CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS CONCERN MOST AMERICANS, INCLUDING DEMOCRATS

  • 64% of voters, including 44% of Democrats, think the presence of classified documents in several unsecure locations is a “serious” breach of national security.
  • Over 7 in 10 voters support both the House of Representatives and the FBI investigating how these documents were misplaced.
  • Half of voters, including one-third of Democrats, think the DOJ treated Biden’s classified documents case more leniently than Donald Trump’s.
  • 74% of voters, including two-thirds of Democrats, support the Attorney General’s appointment of a special prosecutor for the Biden documents case.

VOTERS SIDE WITH REPUBLICANS ON DEBT CEILING NEGOTIATIONS AND SPENDING RESTRAINTS

  • Americans care greatly about default: 69% of voters, including over two-thirds of each party, think a temporary debt default would be a “huge issue.”
  • When given the size of the national debt ($31 trillion), 63% of voters want Congress to raise the debt limit only with restraints on future spending.
  • Americans side with the GOP on negotiations: 61% of voters, including a slim majority of Democrats themselves, think the Democrats should cave to prevent a default.

KEVIN MCCARTHY EMERGES WITH MODERATE IMAGE FROM THE SPEAKERSHIP FIGHT

  • 78% of voters see McCarthy as moderate or conservative, not far right.
  • 53% of voters, including a majority of both parties, think McCarthy will work with Democrats to create bipartisan legislation.

SUPPORT FOR SOCIAL SECURITY AND IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION UNITES AMERICANS

  • 85% of voters, including 88% of Republicans, want legislation that secures Social Security for two more decades.
  • Two-thirds of voters, including 62% of Republicans, want compromise immigration legislation that strengthens the border but also gives DACA recipients a path to citizenship.

AMERICANS ARE SPLIT ON NON-COMPETES BUT WANT MORE CRYPTOCURRENCY REGULATION

  • 60% of Democrats support and 60% of Republicans oppose the prospect of an FTC executive order that would ban all non-compete agreements.
  • A majority of voters want more regulation on cryptocurrencies and consumer privacy/security on the Internet, but less or equal regulation on marijuana.

The January Harvard CAPS / Harris Poll survey was conducted online within the United States from January 18-19, 2023, among 2,050 registered voters by The Harris Poll and HarrisX. Follow the Harvard CAPS Harris Poll podcast at https://www.markpennpolls.com/ or on iHeart Radio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast platforms. 

About The Harris Poll & HarrisX

The Harris Poll is a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. It works with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. One of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., The Harris Poll has tracked public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963, and is now part of Stagwell, the challenger holding company built to transform marketing.

HarrisX is a technology-driven market research and data analytics company that conducts multi-method research in the U.S. and over 40 countries around the world on behalf of Fortune 100 companies, public policy institutions, global leaders, NGOs and philanthropic organizations. HarrisX was the most accurate pollster of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

About the Harvard Center for American Political Studies

The Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) is committed to and fosters the interdisciplinary study of U.S. politics. Governed by a group of political scientists, sociologists, historians, and economists within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, CAPS drives discussion, research, public outreach, and pedagogy about all aspects of U.S. politics. CAPS encourages cutting-edge research using a variety of methodologies, including historical analysis, social surveys, and formal mathematical modeling, and it often cooperates with other Harvard centers to support research training and encourage cross-national research about the United States in comparative and global contexts. More information at https://caps.gov.harvard.edu/.

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As over 100,000 people descended on Las Vegas for CES this year, Stagwell is bringing you access to some of the senior-most business leaders across marketing, electronics, food and drink, luxury, media, sports, tourism and more through our Content Studio on the convention floor. Watch some of our favorite segments from Reddit, Qualcomm, Warner Music Group, Zappos, and Axios to learn about the technology that will impact the next chapter of marketing – and what wowed top brand leaders on the convention floor. 

Reddit VP, Business Development on The Power of Community  

Reddit’s Timo Pelz joined Stagwell Chief Brand and Communications Officer Beth Sidhu to talk about insights from Reddit’s massive Future Tellers study pulling insights from Reddit’ 100K+ active communities, which unveiled on the convention floor at CES.  

Qualcomm CMO Don McGuire on How AI Will Transform Cars into Spaceships  

In the CES tech alphabet, the “A’s” have it – Qualcomm CMO Don McGuire and Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn are bullish that artificial intelligence and augmented reality are the tech to bet on in 2023. Watch their interview with Chief Growth Officer, North America, Robyn Freye. 

Zappos CMO Ginny McCormick on Moving Beyond Demographics  

“Age is just a number.” And, by Zappos CMO Ginny McCormick’s estimate, a number marketers are relying on too heavily to drive consumer segmentation. Catch her interview with Stagwell President, Global Solutions, Julia Hammond on the demographics, metrics, and buzzwords marketers need to ditch in 2023.  

Warner Music Group’s Maria Weaver on “The Three C’S”  

Connecting content, commerce, and community experiences is Warner Music Group President Maria Weaver’s big priority for 2023. Watch her interview with Stagwell Chief Brand Officer, North America, Alexis Williams to learn why you need to invest in the “three c’s”  

Mark Penn and Axios’ Sara Fischer on Where Marketing and Tech Meet Politics 

Tech is about to have a political year – but all is not bad for the digital economy, Stagwell’s CEO Mark Penn tells Axios reporter Sara Fischer in this clip from the Stagwell Content Studio at CES 2023. Catch their interview for insights on the streaming market, data regulation, and whether the U.S. will pursue a TikTok ban in 2023.  

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“We have the technology!” Now: what will your brand do with it?  With CES 2023 in the rearview mirror, we’re looking to see how technology can provide outsized business results for CMOs while helping their brands transform society for good. The devices on the CES floor this year proved we’ll only see more convergence between marketing and tech transformation in the years to come.

Here’s what CES suggests about the year ahead for brand leaders: 

‘COME TOGETHER’ ISN’T JUST A BEATLES SONG – IT’S THE MISSION FOR BRAND ECOSYSTEM IN 2023 

More technology exists than ever before to ensure every digital touchpoint your consumer encounters conveys a consistent and authentic brand experience. Now it’s on CMOs and CTOs to collaborate closer than ever before, unleashing true connected brand experiences at scale. Wearable technology and ever-more-immersive entertainment experiences are opportunities to get this right – but challenges for brands who haven’t yet asked themselves: have you set a plan for unifying online and offline brand, marketing, product, and customer experiences? 

2023 IS THE YEAR FOR AI, BUT DON’T OVERDO IT

AI is the tech darling of 2023, and for good reason. We’ve quickly seen it evolve from basic communication and assistance on tasks to understanding your routine, predicting your behavior, and getting you a C+ on your English paper. OpenAI and other lay-consumer-friendly tools will power an AI-knowledge revolution in 2023. But while AI is great for providing creative activation energy and can get you 85% of the way there, the last 15% requires the near-impossible-to-duplicate human element.

Brands and agencies will need to responsibly blend talent + technology together in 2023 to make AI an effective addition to the marketing tech stack. 

‘COMMUNITY’ IS WHAT CONTENT WAS FOR BRANDS A DECADE AGO

From Stagwell’s own experiments in shared augmented reality, to new social platforms that let friends share content and buy and sell NFT art, brand experiences are starting to hinge on the ability to connect consumers to one another. Community is the new driver of commerce; look out for more brands using technology as a platform to create engaging, 3D and 360 marketing experience for more than one consumer. 

Live from the Stagwell Content Studio @ CES 2023

Stagwell’s Content Studio returned at CES, delivering behind-the-scenes interviews with C-Suite execs at the world’s most ambitious brands on the trends and transformations they’re tracking at CES.  

In this episode, Wells Enterprises Chief Commercial Officer Santhi Ramesh talks data anonymity, immersive experiences, and using robotics to drive automation with Stagwell President, Global Solutions, Julia Hammond.

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Yariv Drori,
Chief Strategy Officer, Multiview

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I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that when we look up at the night sky, we don’t see the stars as they are but as they were. Even the star closest to us, other than the sun, takes 4.3 years to reach our eyes. It makes you think about that journey, and all the moments that lead up to that single speck of light emerging in the distance.

As human beings, the shaping of our identity is often just as complex. Like the starlight taking years to hit our eyes, we can’t always pinpoint the exact correlation between events of the past and who we are today. We are moments that add up, collected and built upon like a scrapbook. Not just life’s big occasions, but the everyday ones too—a lazy day reading, a camping trip, a bike ride in the rain, the sound of the trees outside our childhood windows. It’s these fleeting moments in time that shape who we are and how people perceive us. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” wrote Annie Dillard, which rings true.

At Instrument, when we talk about branding, we think about experience in a similar way. To us, a brand is defined by numerous interactions between them and a customer. Each of these moments represent an opportunity for a brand to create a deeper, more meaningful connection—whether it’s a social post, a billboard, a mobile checkout experience, or a simple push notification. How a brand shows up in those places shapes people’s feelings and perception towards it.

This is especially pertinent in our current times, where brands are more fragmented than ever. The very pace of life has changed, and every pocket now holds a news feed, a television, a billboard, and a storefront. Because of this multitude of touchpoints, it’s no longer just about showing up once a year with a lofty statement or a million-dollar tv spot; it’s about all the little moments that add up. It’s about connecting the dots between brand, marketing, and product and having each of those experiences ladder up to the company’s core. When a brand consistently demonstrates its reason for existing it will naturally build trust through positive experiences. Over time, many good experiences lead to a deeper connection, while a handful of bad ones inevitably end in apathy.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. There is such a cacophony of information out in the world that to cut through it all and be heard, or seen, a level of consistency and repeat excellence is needed. Brands need systems and platforms that increase their efficiency, and remove variability. But these systems should go beyond codifying a brand into rigorous style guides. Brands don’t just live inside pitch decks and brand books. They live out there in the real world, in people’s minds and hearts. Or at least on their periphery. Many brands make the mistake of defaulting to consistency above all else. But inevitably, this leads to sameness and complacency. In order to reach people and stay relevant, brands need to be fluid. The goal is to provide tools that empower internal teams to engage with customers in new creative ways that express that brand’s unique personality—all while staying grounded in their values.

Brands succeed when they show customers that their purpose is more than a marketing initiative—prioritizing real action over hollow virtue signaling. For us at Instrument, that applies to everything we do.

Building from the core

During our recent work with Dropbox, the goal was to evolve the perception of the brand from transactional, to something that is inherently more human and emotional. We realized that a single campaign wasn’t going to be enough. Marketing wasn’t enough. We had to reconsider what Dropbox stood for before we could begin to spark that connection to their audience. Through research, we realized that Dropbox was having the wrong conversation. Previous campaigns centered around aspirational narratives of collaboration and the future of work. But when we talked with customers, we realized that their experience wasn’t so much about the product itself, but what they were doing with it—that was what gave it value.

The “For All Things Worth” platform connects those dots between what the brand offers and what the customer experience is. For example, this first campaign focuses on file storage, but seeks out the humanity in it—emphasising the emotional value of our digital files and artifacts.

To re-engage with customers, this idea isn’t just expressed in a single spot. It’s reiterated across everything Dropbox is doing, from video content, to podcasts, to OOH marketing, right down to onboarding language. This idea of worth will be embedded across every brand experience, supporting Dropbox on their journey to becoming a multi-product company. It’s a shift that represents a recalibration between brand and consumer, and a foundation to grow and evolve that relationship.

Find out more about this project in our Dropbox Case Study

Unifying a brand

When we started working with Sonos, they were known for their exceptional hardware. But the quality of the experience customers were having with their speakers wasn’t translating to the broader brand experience. It was a company led by engineers, so that was naturally their primary focus.

To expand that level of quality and excellence beyond their speakers, we worked with their product design teams to establish a robust design system that elevated the user experience of the app.

Beyond design, we also helped reimagine how Sonos engages with new and existing customers through a content-driven approach featuring curated playlists, podcasts, movies, and television recommendations. This allowed Sonos to build an ongoing relationship with their customers at every interaction, to create a cohesive brand story and find new ways to add value for users.

Find out more about this project in our Sonos Case Study

At Instrument, we take into account the entire brand experience and this process shapes how we partner with clients. Sometimes the product is strong, but the branding feels like an afterthought, and sometimes the vision and purpose of a business are clear, but the product fails to deliver on its promise. Viewing brands holistically, as a series of experiences, allows us to navigate challenges, connect the dots, and understand where we can have the most impact.

As a recap, here are 5 principles that shape our POV on brand experiences:

  • Brand experiences are centered around the foundation of a strong mission, vision, and (most importantly) values. Understanding and acting in line with the vision is essential in building trust with customers.
  • The vision and values of a brand should inform the entire customer experience and unify how they show up in people’s lives—from marketing and push notifications to digital products and customer service. Consistency leads to trust.
  • It’s not just about what you say, but also about what you do. The experiences in product and the impact in society are equally as important as the ones expressed on a billboard.
  • Brand systems and platforms aren’t just about enforcing consistency, they’re also about enabling the personality of a brand to shine. A brand’s personality creates intrigue and sparks a human connection.
  • While a brand’s core is fixed, the way that brand is expressed should remain fluid. This allows them to show up in the world at the right time, with the right message, and engage in relevant conversations

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that we are humans communicating with humans. A former mentor used to say, “use your mouth words,” and that always stuck with me. We often get so lost in terms like “Business-to-Business” or “Business-to-Consumer” when we really should be focused on building a human-to-human connection.

If brand equals experience, then think about the types of experiences you want customers to have with the brand. Think about what you’d like to see more of in the world. The things that make us smile, or gasp, evoke a sense of wonder or make us feel invincible. Think about what it takes to build trust with someone—our family, our friends, our communities—and the ongoing investments needed to live up to that trust.

Think about all the time it takes for that single speck of light to emerge in our night sky. Much like that star, a connection with a brand isn’t instant. It’s something that’s built slowly but surely and thoughtfully over time. Reminding us, that every little moment along the way counts.

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Stagwell kicked off 2023 in Las Vegas as the only global marketing services network on the main convention floor. And we made the most of it, announcing three key focus areas for the future of media innovation within our company. Read on for a snapshot of our week at CES 2023, and reach out at hello@stagwellglobal.com if you’d like to connect further about any of these announcements.  

GIVING BRANDS STADIUM-SIZED MEDIA INVENTORY 

First up, we launched the Specialty Media Business Unit within the Stagwell Marketing Cloud (SMC). This unit will focus on creating unique media formats that allow brands to connect with and monetize key consumer segments across a range of industries, including sports, travel, retail, news, and dining. Some of the standout offerings within the unit include our shared AR product, currently in use by the Los Angeles Rams, a new QR code ad marketplace that we are in talks with a global liquor client to implement, and a new travel marketplace from Ink. 

Why does this matter? By introducing these new experiences for consumers, whether at a stadium, in a restaurant, or on a plane, we are also providing a wealth of creative marketing opportunities for brands. This helps to keep the SMC at the forefront of new, targeted media forms, according to Digiday. 

MOVING MEDIA BEYOND JUST CPMs 

Next, GALE, our integrated business agency, unveiled Advance Party, a new practice focused on effective storytelling for clients through the use of technology, platform partners, and audience data and targeting. Already, GALE has attracted NBCU, Snap, and TikTok as early partners in this endeavor. 

Why does this matter? Advance Party will help GALE continue its track record of integrating emerging and innovative formats into its storytelling approach, driving growth for clients. As Campaign US reports, this new practice also represents a shift in the relationship between agencies and partners beyond just CPMs. 

PUTTING DECARBONIZATION IN FOCUS  

Finally, Assembly, our global omnichannel media agency, announced an increased commitment to developing sustainable media solutions that reduce the carbon footprint of marketing and media. To support these efforts, Assembly is launching the Clean Media Lab and will soon unveil its first product, a media decarbonization minimizer, available in Europe before rolling out globally. 

Why does this matter? As Assembly CEO James Townsend explains to The Drum, many clients have set sustainability targets and media is a key area where they can make a meaningful impact on their carbon footprint. 

Keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for more updates throughout January, including insights on digital marketing trends from CES. In the meantime, be sure to read keep up with the latest from Stagwell by visiting stagwellglobal.com 

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We’re home from CES 2023 and abuzz with the latest tech powering the next chapter of modern marketing. Read on for three quick things you need to know about how technology will impact brand marketing this year. Reach out if you’d like to connect on any of these trends. 

TECH RISING = DATA RISING

While the tech at CES is dazzling in its own right, the data it unlocks for brands is the true thought-provoker as we leave Vegas. Every tech advancement is generating fresh ways to capture first-party data from consumers. It’s on marketers to scope these technologies with a healthy mix of skepticism about privacy implications and eagerness about the ability to (more) seamlessly connect consumers to brands.  

Watch this Space: Pinterest announced a new data clean room collaboration with LiveRamp and Albertsons as the latter seeks to build a retail media network. 

Get Smart on Impact: Do Consumers Understand the Bargain of Digital Data?

THE THREE C’S

Whether it was ever-more integrated home devices, new content partnerships, or gifting modern travelers with free wifi, the power of truly connected brands to drive performance is clear. In the year ahead, marketers need to prioritize linking content, commerce, and community in order to effectively serve consumers and boost brand efforts. Tech companies learned “built it and they will come” is a bad way to engage consumers; marketers, too, need to focus on delivering the content consumers want, when they want it, and engage digital and IRl communities to power better experiences.

Watch this Space: Delta announces Delta Sync, a new chapter of connected travel.

Get Smart on Impact: How Warner Music Group is Preparing for Connected Consumers in 2023

TECH IS ABOUT TO HAVE A POLITICAL YEAR

TECH IS ABOUT TO HAVE A POLITICAL YEAR  – The subtext on the convention floor this year was that tech is about to face increased scrutiny and possibly even regulatory action from governments around the world in the year ahead amid growing concerns that products and services are veering us closer to “1984” than 2023. Expect the industry’s practices around data privacy, competition, and content moderation to come under close examination and consider the reputational risks of marketing certain products or services if they are perceived as “bad tech.”  

Watch this Space: How TikTok Became a Diplomatic Crisis

Get Smart on Impact: Mark Penn in Forbes on Twitter, TikTok, and the Year Ahead  

🤖 Category Transformations

Check out the announcements from the past week we predict will drive the biggest vertical transformations in the year ahead. 

Live from the Stagwell Content Studio @ CES 2023

Stagwell’s Content Studio returned at CES, delivering behind-the-scenes interviews with C-Suite execs at the world’s most ambitious brands on the trends and transformations they’re tracking at CES.

In this episode, Qualcomm CMO Don McGuire and Stagwell Chairman and CEO Mark Penn share why artificial intelligence and augmented reality are the two trends to bet on in 2023.

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Originally Released On

PR Newswire

CONTACT:

Jason Reid
ir@stagwellglobal.com

NEW YORK, Jan. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) announced today that Chairman and CEO Mark Penn will present at the upcoming 25th Annual Needham Growth Conference on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2022, from 2:15 to 2:55 PM ET. Penn will also be available for 1:1 investor meetings. To schedule a meeting, please reach out to ir@stagwellglobal.com.

Visit this page to view upcoming investor events and programming from Stagwell, and this page for the latest news and announcements from Stagwell.

About Stagwell

Stagwell is the challenger network built to transform marketing. We deliver scaled creative performance for the world’s most ambitious brands, connecting culture-moving creativity with leading-edge technology to harmonize the art and science of marketing.  Led by entrepreneurs, our 13,000+ specialists in 34+ countries are unified under a single purpose: to drive effectiveness and improve business results for their clients. Join us at www.stagwellglobal.com.

For more information on Stagwell, please visit www.stagwellglobal.com

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