Home » We’ve all been using AI for years; the trick is knowing when and how to use it effectively.

We’ve all been using AI for years; the trick is knowing when and how to use it effectively.

by | Feb 16, 2024

By Shay Onorio, Red Thinking

In almost any industry, social media and public-facing marketing can make or break a brand. So now that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become more accessible and mainstream, many of us are curious about the role it will play in almost everything we do.

AI has unknowingly been a part of our everyday lives for years; it’s just now being more formally discussed through applications such as ChatGPT—which is great, but ChatGPT is not going to do your job for you. When it comes to branding and marketing, AI applications may correct grammar and suggest an elevated vocabulary, but it’s not going to create and land an entire branding campaign based on true human interests.

I’ve worked in brand strategy and design for more than 24 years for organizations throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area, and I can admit that AI is cool, scary, and fascinating! But what my Red Thinking digital and creative teams and I provide that AI simply cannot is the ability to nurture the importance of a brand’s “Why.” AI can’t justify and explain why it created or wrote something. It can most likely provide whatever you ask; however, it can’t incorporate context and reasoning as to why it wrote a specific line, or used a particular word—nor can it portray a brand’s “Why,” which is the backbone of every company.

While owning and operating a boutique marketing agency allows me to focus my attention on guiding and nurturing brands’ overall missions, it’s working toward a true understanding of a brand’s identity that’s always my main focus. That understanding allows me and my team of designers, writers, project managers, and digital subject matter experts to nurture a brand’s “Why,” and tell the full story—to the proper audience—every chance we can through digital, print and broadcast communication.

What good is a brand if no one has heard of it? But that doesn’t mean AI and social media are appropriate marketing channels just because they exist. Everywhere we turn we are overwhelmed by ads and marketing, so you’re brand’s “Why” better be on target and ready to own any moment in the spotlight it gets. And if you don’t know “Why” what you’re offering is important or matters, potential buyers or prospects certainly won’t either.

From a professional standpoint, AI has been a gift when it comes to completing more rudimentary tasks. For instance, to ensure we stay in the moment and engage in client conversation, we often take recordings of our calls (with permission!), and apply AI to then create a final transcript of the conversation, including exact quotes and follow-up tasks. Another example is when researching industry and target market datapoints—which are essential for creating a campaign; however, the process is extremely time consuming when done manually. When we set AI to mine data and algorithms based on our target market’s habits and overall end goal, it allows our creative brains to focus on actually designing and implementing our client’s campaign tactics.

For now, we’ll continue to lean on AI to help us organize specific terminology to make what we’re saying more simplified for the end user, i.e. taking a scope and re-arranging it so the client gets a clear view of what is going to happen during a project. On days when we’re working on clearing our inbox and knocking out tasks between meetings, crafting the perfect email can become more difficult than it needs to be. Using AI such as Grammerly, ensures our message is received in the way we intend, allowing our team more confidence in their communication.

As with most trends and tools, AI has its place in every industry. In leading a branding, digital marketing and strategy firm, that place is not in designing human-facing messages and visuals. Because in order to truly connect and influence how people absorb information, a team of talented and experienced human beings needs to be on the other end of the process.

About the author: Shay Onorio is President and owner of Red Thinking, a full-service brand strategy, creative and digital firm based in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Fiercely entrepreneurial, always curious, and connected to everyone and anyone, she has built a respected and bold reputation in the industry for more than two decades. Red Thinking was built on her belief that agency life could be better, and she’s cultivated an on-the-move culture informed and led by her own passion and drive. She supports a team of insightful, organized and energized professionals who motivate one another to push creative and strategic limits.

Image Caption:  While strategic use of AI can enhance aspects of branding and marketing, human strategy and experience are always needed to ensure proper messaging. This custom graphic celebrates Red Thinking’s creative minds while also illustrating the shortcomings of AI. When the Red Thinking team talks about where we are and where we’re going, we’re never satisfied. We want to grow and learn from our past, build on our skills, and continue to educate ourselves on executing superb strategy and design – not hang our hats on AI.

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