Meaningfully different brands have a head start with AI

The priority for a brand lies in achieving authenticity, consistency, and being meaningfully different to fuel brand growth. We explore why meaningfully different brands have a head start with AI.
07 March 2024
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EVP Global Thought Leadership, Kantar

Vanessa Munoz

Innovation Manager, Global Offer & Innovation

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The greatest priority for a brand lies in achieving authenticity, consistency, and being meaningfully different to fuel future brand growth. Many GenAI solutions claim to generate on-brand content that uses brand assets like brand voice and identity. But the challenge for brands to make the best use of Generative AI for growth goes beyond teaching algorithms what to do.

In this article, we explore why meaningfully different brands have a head start with AI and a perspective for marketers when using GenAI for creative outputs.

Meaningfully different brands and AI

With the proliferation and potential of GenAI, an authentic, consistent, and meaningfully different brand is more important than ever and requires more strategic thought. Machines can’t do this for us because they lack human intuition, cultural understanding, and the emotional intelligence needed to craft genuinely unique content and resonant brands.

There is more cynicism, channels, influence and competing brands in today’s world. So, it is crucial to have a meaningfully different brand positioning, clarity of purpose and cultural relevance to stand out from the crowd and engage audiences.

In a tough economic environment where fewer than 1 in 10 brands grow, successful brands are the ones that have a strong presence in the market and add real value to people’s lives. Brands with these qualities become irresistible and drive sales.

We need a 360 perspective of what it means to have a meaningfully different brand in the era of AI-assisted thinking.

Brands with meaningfully different identities set companies apart and, opportunities to use GenAI effectively are more tangible for those with distinctive brand assets. For example, a brand with distinctive brand assets should be able to give clear prompts by instructing a defined tone, message, brand and key phrases that reflect the brand promise.

Even with the basic use of GenAI, brands with distinctive and authentic identities will generate on-brand outputs at scale as they know what makes them different.

We have a longstanding tradition of analyzing successful and valuable brands to uncover the secrets to their success. Kantar BrandZ is now in its 18th edition and uses the Meaningful Different Salient framework for brand equity, to understand the drivers that enable some brands to consistently outperform in the long term. The strongest brands create value in more ways than one. They capture 9x more volume share, can charge 2x more, and are 4x as likely to grow future value share.  Learn more HERE

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According to Kantar BrandZ 2023, to drive Pricing Power, brands need to be Meaningful and Different. Salience plays less of a role. Meaningfully Different brands are the brands that are prioritized as people try to cut back on their spending.

However, with increased opportunities come potential risks. New research from Kantar, conducted as part of our Media Reactions study 2023, sheds light on marketers’ and consumers’ attitudes towards GenAI.

Consumers are less positive than marketers about GenAI. Just over half (51.5%) of consumers globally are somewhat or very positive towards it and 6.6% of consumers globally say they haven’t heard of generative AI. Learn more HERE 

As we navigate the contrasting attitudes towards GenAI, we should not lose sight of the continued importance of keeping humans in the loop and involved in the creative process of outputs generated via GenAI tools.

Balancing personalization 

Content personalization is essential to driving engagement. A few years ago, brands needed to develop a brand voice guide, share it with their teams, and then produce content aligned to those guidelines but with GenAI the task could be a lot easier and much more efficient. 

In other words, there is an opportunity for meaningfully different brands to reach many other segments and personalize the messages for each one of those segments without losing authenticity with the support of GenAI tools.

With the explosion of GenAI tools, brands can scale up the production of creative assets. However, the opportunity of global personalization also represents a challenge! How much personalization is necessary? How do we stay true to the brand essence?

Effectiveness using GenAI 

We explored how involving GenAI in the creation process could improve the effectiveness of digital advertising. 

We did this by testing some fully AI-generated ads, along with others where GenAI played a partial role (i.e., writing the script or creating imagery), using LINK AI – our AI-powered ad testing tool which uses data from 250,000 real-world ad tests to give indicative effectiveness results in as little as 15 minutes. In other words, we let our machines score the output of their fellow machines. 

One of the valuable lessons we learned from this test was that there’s more than one route to success and human input was essential for success.

A good example is Coca-Cola. Their brand voice is friendly, inclusive, and optimistic. Their messaging focuses on creating moments of happiness, joy, and togetherness. They use lighthearted, feel-good language to appeal to a wide audience and emphasize the importance of shared happiness and unity.

In the digital ad ‘Masterpiece’, Coca-Cola features a human-created script showing the journey of a bottle of Coca-Cola from canvas to canvas in an art gallery, where AI brought these famous paintings alive.

LINK AI predicted high brand-building potential for the Masterpiece ad.

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Meaningfully different brands have a head start when using AI. When distinctive brand assets are used correctly, their distinctive and authentic identity puts them ahead of the game. But we cannot lose sight of the continued importance of keeping humans in the loop and involved in the personalization process when generating creative outputs via GenAI.

Marketers will need to keep their eye on quality and remember that efficiency should never be at the expense of effectiveness and the brand's meaningful difference when using AI and GenAI solutions.

Brands grow by being meaningfully different to more people. Stay tuned to learn more and discover Kantar’s AI solutions and how we can help you with insights augmented by AI. 

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