AI is all set to disrupt businesses in the new normal, but how ready are brands?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is enhancing organisational resilience in volatile, dynamic, and unpredictable marketplaces, while optimising performance for growth. As per adopting AI organisation-wide is swiftly becoming an integral part of the corporate strategy across industries. Deloitte’s report, ‘State of AI in the Enterprise’, organisations are undertaking multiple initiatives – from setting up AI/ML COEs, training senior and mid-management on leveraging AI, and modernising data infrastructure – to effecting company-wide adoption and gaining a competitive advantage.

The report goes on to state how AI adoption strategies and implementation practices will define the competitive advantage organisations gain as a result. AI offers tremendous growth opportunities for current and future adopters, who can take a centralised federated approach and focus on integrating and scaling across functional units.

AI is a segment of Data Science that trains computers to learn from experience, adjust to inputs, and perform tasks of certain cognitive levels. AI often functions on real-time data.

While the digital development in India is very recent as compared to the rest of the world, it took a pandemic for the market to finally pivot to digital and AI as key elements for growth and sustenance.

Today, every segment right from FMCG, BFSI and Auto to Ed-tech and Gaming, need to have a digital presence. Being digitally relevant not only allows your brand to constantly be in the notice of your target audience, it allows every business to have several touch points while communicating with the audience, allowing the busines to understand the consumer better.

With all the consumer being data being collected, it’s of no use unless it is utilized efficiently. That’s one major place where AI takes the forefront. AI allows efficient collection and understanding of consumer data in real time and then carries out actions according to the data collected. For example, if you’ve recently carried out a google search for Car Insurance, an id is created to which your actions are recorded. AI from the brand’s end collects this data which allows the brand to make a consumer profile. That data allows the AI to target you accordingly and shoot the messaging.

It’s is exactly because of AI that apps and websites have become extremely sensitive to the level of UI and UX. Today, if a consumer gets messaging or content irrelevant to their interests, it’s a massive flop. This demand from users further pushes for AI, UI and UX to be the prime focus of every brand and business.

Here are some interesting statistics when it comes to AI in India (credits: State of Artificial Intelligence in India 2020 report):

  • The Indian Artificial Intelligence market is valued at $6.4 Bn as of July – August 2020
  • MNC IT, Technology, and Electronics category has the highest share of the AI market at 36.2% in percentage share
  • The Domestic firms have a collective AI market share of 7.1% at a market value of 451.9 Mn
  • E-Commerce has8% market share and $ 305.1 Mn market value
  • Boutique Analytics & AI firms, which have a market share of 3.4%, at a market value of $215.1 Mn
  • Aggregator Startups have an AI market value of $85.2 Mn and a market share of 1.3%.

This will not stop here. As the pandemic has been a digital catalyst for global markets, India is a booming market when it comes to digital and AI. According to a report by Accenture, artificial intelligence can possibly add US$957 billion, or 15% of India's present gross value in 2035.

Speaking about the growth of AI, Gautam Mehra, Chief Data & Product Officer- dentsu Asia Pacific (APAC) & CEO - dentsu Programmatic - South Asia, says, “Technology usually grows faster than its adoption. That's been very true with AI as well. The market adoption in practical business implementations has taken a while, but this is absolutely normal and expected. However, now the enterprise products that marketers & businesses use, already have AI embedded in many aspects. Think of how the "design suggestions" in PowerPoint works today or how auto sentence complete in Outlook/ Gmail works.”

Commenting on the role of the pandemic in the growth of AI, Dimpy Yadav, Head of Client Engagement, Xaxis India, says, “With the new normal, brands are mining digital transformation with an outcome driven media approach with a cost-conscious conditions. Campaigns that used to drive personalization basis consumer’s behavior or persona’s driving relevancy are not hitting the mark as the economic conditions are changing consumer’s perceptions and purchase patterns. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning enabled brands to offer hyper-personalised experiences to their consumers with changing times as they are evolving and making informed decisions. Brands are riding on AI to gain insights and capture the audiences in their real-time journey of exploration to purchase. AI is moving the needle beyond consumer segmentation and tailoring the marketing approach with advanced personalisation levels driven by recommendation engines or connecting sales channels from offline to online.”

The pandemic made it extremely clear that we’re entering a state of ‘never normal’. Today, brands can’t function the same way in terms of strategy and communication like they did even just before the pandemic. As Yadav mentions, Hyper-personalisation is key and as consumers adopt newer ways to consume content, Brands and business will need to keep up with this change in demand, and the key is AI.

So, how exactly are marketers looking at AI in 2021 and beyond? According to Mihir Karkare, EVP of Mirum India, “AI is increasingly getting used ‘under the hood’ of various existing products – including ad networks, content optimization / recommendation engines etc. Thus, it is mainly being used to become more effective and efficient at tasks which were already being carried out by brands and marketers.”

Mehra gives his perspective and says, “AI is now reaching the phase where instead of fearing it, marketers are not thinking of it as a powerful tool and embracing it. I find technologies like GPT-3 which can write near-human level ad copies and articles to create a fundamental shift in how we view content production and adaptation. Coming to whether "this is the year". I don't think one can ever pin-point the exact time for any of these technologies to "arrive" or "burst onto". But it is clear that adoption is growing significantly and so are the applications in which one can deploy such technology.”

But, where exactly is AI headed? For the longest time, AI was feared by many and most of the credit could be given to blockbuster movies like ‘Terminator’ or ‘I Robot’. But the ground realities seem far more positive. Yadav gives her vision for AI and says, “In next 5 years, AI will pave its way deeper into marketing making it mainstreams across the functions in digital marketing. A.I will root across the channels like Display, Video, Audio & DOOH with adoption & integration of programmatic. In recent times, Audio channels has leveraged A.I to make ads conversational with formats that can talk back to the ads. However there is still long way to go to make the innovations programmatically enabled.Also, there will be growth of IoT (internet of things)with AI. It will become the key to pushing AI along, in large part because artificial intelligence has significant potential in powering IoT solutions and in crunching the massive volumes of data the IoT is already starting to provide. With lifestyles & consumer preferences evolving, these technologies are being incorporated at a high pace across the industries.”

Artificial Intelligence has finally arrived in India only to make it an even more booming market. As we steadily embark on this digital journey, the importance of AI, Data, UI and UX has disrupted markets for ever. Tools like AI are the flintstones of today. The right spark can definitely create an inferno that will change the world forever, hopefully for the good. Marketers have a great asset in hand, and as we develop a greater understanding and execution of AI, new trends, communications and disruptions are bound to happen. It’ll be interesting to witness an AI disrupted world in the near future.


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