The impact of AI and our experience

As with any agency, we thrive on ideas. And we wanted to explore the opportunities that AI could potentially offer. As AI becomes embedded in everyday work, we’ve taken the time to reflect on our experience of tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney.

Getting to know our audiences

Drafting prompts (for tools like ChatGPT) which include a few known characteristics and behaviours has helped to better bring our audiences to life at an early stage. From niche ideas on what keeps these people up at night, to more intricate traits that impact how they interact with brands, we’ve found it valuable to identify new strands to research. It’s also been useful to generate ideas on how these audiences use search terms and engage with different online and offline marketing channels, giving us a steer on what to explore in more detail.

We’re well aware of the risk with ChatGPT producing answers with some inaccuracy and we’re keen to validate assumptions about our audiences too. This has given us a chance to hypothesise about our audiences and build new campaign ideas to test response. Used in conjunction with our tried and tested methods such as persona building, workshops and focus groups, AI has given us another complimentary way to build out our audiences and has uncovered additional ways of thinking.

Tailoring messages that resonate

A successful campaign often hinges on hitting the right audiences, at the right time, with the right messages.

As an agency, we have a high volume of long-form content in our archives, but these pieces aren’t always ready to be posted on wider channels. For example, many long-form case studies are already live on our website. However, it takes time to adapt these for promotion across different social media channels. AI has helped us streamline this process by interpreting copy, tweaking the tone, and reducing the length. It can’t reproduce our specific Jacob Bailey tone of voice just yet. Although the output almost certainly needs another pair of (human) eyes, it does save us time on initial content generation.

The output of AI is dependent on the amount that goes in – having a clear understanding of the desired output has helped to steer our prompts. We have also been able to use some of the identified audience traits and characteristics to improve our prompt writing. Being able to quickly generate an outline persona and including this in our prompts means that we have a headstart on messaging ideas and wider campaign context too.

Moodboarding with Midjourney

Our studio team have enjoyed exploring Midjourney and Photoshop Beta AI. It has been good to use AI-generated imagery for pitch preparation, internal moodboards and style inspiration. The results can also strengthen written briefs by setting the tone for a project – especially helpful in providing direction for photography and CGI briefs.

While AI can generate imagery from scratch and provide useful editing tools, our team is confident that the human touch and skill will be required for a long time to come. AI prompts need to be detailed and backed up with knowledge of what the outcome needs to be, else the results can be wayward to say the least. Without creative experience, the output can be limited. Most importantly, different clients have different set styles, so all outputs need to be interpreted with brand guardianship and governance in mind.

Midjourney has sparked conversations around the evolution of image sourcing – from flipping through contact sheets in printed folders and requesting floppy disks with limited capacity, to scrolling through seemingly endless stock libraries, and now generating bespoke images from our wildest imagination in seconds.

Improving digital campaign performance
Although machine learning has driven paid search campaigns for years now, more recent campaign types such as Google’s Performance Max have driven significant growth for our clients. Combining the best headlines, imagery and calls to action at certain times of day, on particular devices and for a particular user demographic to achieve the best conversions makes for a powerful system. We’ve enjoyed testing these campaigns with clients and have seen improved value over time.

We know tasks and tools powered by artificial intelligence still have a way to go. But there’s no doubt they’ve helped to improve our efficiency in recent months. For the moment we see the benefits early on in our project process. With such rapid progression, we’re excited to see how it will impact wider ways of working in years to come.

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