Artificial intelligence and the future of branding
While the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT has led to many doomsayers, Bos is optimistic. “Marketing is always very quick in adapting to new developments, and that’s the way it should be.
“I don’t think ChatGPT is going to replace anything. It will come on top of all the other innovations we have seen. Your iPad did not replace your TV, we still listen to the radio, we still have our bicycles and all that stuff. Historically, if there’s a new medium, it’s always just on top of the previous one, so in that sense, I don’t think ChatGPT will replace everything,” he says.
“There’s a lot of work in our domain that can be replaced by ChatGPT today if you really wanted to do it. But I think we need to challenge ourselves. We’re supposed to be creative people and A.I. tools like ChatGPT are not. So, by using ChatGPT, there is a risk that every marketing department will start to produce the same stuff — wallpaper — where one of the core tasks is to create differentiating experience. The average human attention span has decreased by over 25% in the past few years. We are now lagging behind the attention span of a goldfish (9 seconds), so I do not believe that the content produced by A.I. will be able to do the job.
“Now, you’re very happy if you have a few seconds of attention from people. And it’s moving so fast, with an explosion of channels where people can interact with you, so trying to manage that is a challenge, at times it seems it’s just impossible. But it seems nowadays everybody’s creative and agile, and powered by A.I., so I think the bar will be raised and there will be new standards of creativity – true creativity will remain paramount”, he concludes.
Heritage vs moving forward. Which is more important?
Next, the conversation shifted to how important a brand’s heritage is compared to the modern need for brands to change and develop with the times.
“We tend not to do enough. That’s my experience after having done 3 rebrands” he says. “So, in the process (of a rebrand implementation), people want to keep to the (existing) identity. So, we tend to get our first proposal from the agency, and it feels safe, and it’s what we’re used to, but it’s often not enough for it to really make an impact with your rebranding programme whatsoever. So, I feel you should go further. If you’re not afraid to move away from your heritage you can move forward in a bold, sleek way. The recent brand move of Twitter to X might be the right one after all, time will tell”.
Bos notes that your need to preserve a brand’s heritage can be very different depending on what your brand does.
“For many fast-moving consumer brands, your brand needs to drive buying behaviour in a supermarket. So, these brands are used to being very careful, of course, because changes would have an impact on the buying behaviour of people. It’s something else if you have a corporate brand and you want to, for example, signal that the organisation is transforming, that you’re moving from one activity to a completely different activity. So, you must really think things through,” he explains.