As a part of our Second Digital Leadership Summit at Mumbai, a panel discussion was held on the future trends of digital marketing - AI, augmented reality and vernacular content. The two panellists were Ms Channan Sawhney - Head, Digital Marketing, Johnson & Johnson and Mr. Prathyush Kukreja – Head, Product Monetisation at Haptik. The session was moderated by Mr. David Appasamy, Head of Brand & Strategy, Social Beat.
Prathyush from Johnson & Johnson enlightened the
audience on how the perception of AI has changed over the years. He said that
in 2015, AI was just a buzz word and no one really knew what AI was. The
preconceived notion was that AI will automate everything, leading to
unemployment. But, in 2018, the scenario has changed. Expectations have become
realistic and technology has come to a place where it can add value to
achieving the necessary business objectives.
According to Prathyush, this is an era of Conversational AI, a subset of Artificial Intelligence backed with data collected by brands and advertisers. Brands must build conversational AI to communicate with the users based on their behavioural and transactional or historical behaviour. Unlike a television commercial or a radio advertisement, conversational AI is not linear and one-to-one. When you use conversational AI in advertising and branding, each and every customer is unique and the content will be customised according to the needs of that particular user. He further added that Artificial Intelligence considers several other factors such as the buying nature and purchase frequency of the user. This where AI is today. AI is no longer a buzz word today, but, it is a tool of competitive advantage. Currently, brands are competing with each other to develop better AI to deliver better ROI in terms of acquiring users and telling better brand stories.
Channan from Johnson & Johnson said that AI technology is not utilised to its fullest in FMCG industry. If used properly, AI has the power to break the clutter and make the brand stand out. Brands can convey right messages to the user in such a way so as to create a long lasting impact on the audience. Johnson & Johnson is employing AI technology rather than AR. Google and Facebook have already started their AI and AR journey. Other brands have huge benefits from this. But, for FMCG companies, implementation of AI technology is extremely important since this is an industry that communicates with its audience on a day-to-day basis.
According to Channan, consumers are always on a look out for good content on the Internet. In the case of Johnson & Johnson, there is a huge demand for content related to pregnancy and newborn care. It is observed that most of the customers prefer consuming the content in their own local languages. If you are a market leader in a particular industry, it is important to take the lead and provide the kind of content that the consumer is looking for. That’s why Johnson & Johnson has adopted an active native content strategy. One of the biggest priorities for Johnson & Johnson is to strengthen their regional content strategy so as to deliver the right brand messages for the audience in a manner that they want to hear.
Prathyush highlighted the importance of integrating voice search and vernacular content to build the effectiveness of conversational AI. Nowdays, majority of people are accessing the Internet using vernacular languages rather than English. The Internet has witnessed a commendable shift with the introduction of voice search. This technology is much user-friendly in the sense that users can directly talk to the device without even touching it. Hence the power of voice search is immense. According to data from Google, after the introduction of voice search, Hindi is the most preferred language for content consumption. Taking this into consideration, Haptik is also working on developing a conversational AI with vernacular capabilities. Many of the leading advertisers are also leveraging Devanagari scripts and other local languages in their lead generation and branding campaigns on various digital platforms.
Channan cited that one of the biggest wins of investing in AI is that market study has become easier like never before. With the adoption of AI technology, brands can provide efficient solutions to customers in a much faster manner. This technology has the huge power to transform the way in which data is processed and maintained for delivering business results
Prathyush spoke about an interesting campaign that Haptik had conceptualised for the Bollywood movie Thugs of Hindostan. Google Maps was a great digital marketing tool for this movie. When somebody asked for directions, instead of the usual voice, users could hear directions from Aamir Khan himself. These innovations by Google and Facebook can be adopted by companies specialised in AI technology in order to help brands and advertisers offer value to their customers.
Prathyush cited a recent case study on how HDFC Life
executed a branding campaign using AI. The brand wanted to create awareness
about importance on investing in Life Insurance among the millennials. For this
Haptik created an AI personality called Shayari
wala who educated the millennials on the importance of investing in the
form of shayaris. The main reasons why HDFC strategised their campaign in this
way is primarily because millennials love story telling and they consume
content that is fun and quirky.
According to Channan, Augmented Reality is a great
story telling tool for brands if it is used for delivering the right message.
For instance, some of the brands have incorporated AR for product packaging. A
well conceptualised AR lead can communicate great brand stories to the
On the contrary, Prathyush said that the use of AR in
branding and digital marketing is still vague and unclear. There is no clarity
on how brands can measure ROI, drive sales and generate leads using an AR
campaign. Augmented reality is a great platform for education and can be easily
adopted by real estate and gaming industries. But, it will take a few more years
for AR to establish itself in the digital landscape.
AI plays a huge role in automation of ads, said
Prathyush. The time taken for education and lead generation have become much
faster with the use of AI technology. According to Channan, marketing
automation is all about programmatic ads, best custom audiences and precision
marketing that help in delivering right brand messages for the right target audience.
Channan also highlighted the importance for brands to
identify ways to migrate content users to vernacular chatbots. For this, brands
must focus on investing in real time machine learning and customised content
that can play a huge role in understanding your customers, drive sales and
This was indeed an insightful panel discussion and brand strategists from across sectors understood the need for adopting such advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality to drive sales, generate leads and withstand competition.