The entire day felt very personal, with the itinerary spanning from Halle Berry’s view on embracing new digital realities, to Ginger the Robot’s transfixing interaction with a 12’o’clock crowd, to chat-bots that enhance the customer’s online FAQ experience. A key theme soon became apparent; ‘AI is powering personalisation’.
Entertainment is also a priority, with the growing inclusion of tech in brand communications. Like Mastercard, many brands are hoping to dominate the experiential space, noticing the modern consumer’s appetite for novelty and yearn to really ‘feel’ something. Connecting on a humane level is key, without forcing the brand onto consumers. Entertain, enlighten and heighten emotions, and your brand will organically yield strong PR results as the voice of the consumer is an honest one. On top of that, this builds a brands’ perception of integrity and positive impressions, as the online reviews and real consumer feedback is a key instrument of referral.
Honesty and authenticity were not only highlighted here, but also by Halle Berry who explained how social media has allowed her to breakdown the media barriers and reveal her ‘true self’ to fans. It was also a prevailing topic in Translation’s 4pm session, ‘How Athletes and Brands Can Change the World’. Founder Steve Stoute was a particularly enigmatic speaker, delivering his wisdom from the heart. His future prediction was this; “There will be more women in power in sports [injecting more empathy into this business]. Athletes are recognising that the league will be a vehicle for their future career. They are thinking long-term and brand planning for themselves.” The power relationship between athlete and brand has shifted, with athletes now selecting the ones that enable or often support, causes close to them.
Held on the inspiration stage, the HAKUTO team introduced their new robot, SORATA to an excited audience. The small 4kg robot is set to roam the moon in 2017 and capture hi-res content. Working more frequently with advertising agencies (Dentsu at present), their mission is to reduce the cost of space travel via clever AI design and ‘achieve the goal of transporting 10,000 travelers [to space] per year in 2040.’ Dentsu outlined that a ‘social consciousness’ was born when they branched out into the space sector. The sharing of knowledge, talent and resources has brought “new values, new happiness, new wellbeing” to both industries. Intelligent machines, such as Ginger the Robot are also improving the quality of human lives on an individual level. They are eradicating the loneliness of old people, bringing new life into care homes and improving the social skills of autistic children due to their anthropomorphic nature.
From Mastercard’s growth strategy and Translation’s panel discussion on athlete-branded comms, it’s clear a tension exists in present-day advertising. The mode has gone from product-placement to declaring ‘#ad’ in sponsored posts. "This isn't just a subtle change, it's a massive change” claimed Stoute. Content now has to include a social cause, brand assets, a transact and be entertaining all at the same time. The question remains: what is the perfect formula for the individual consumer? Maybe AI will help us learn that…