Power of synthetic media Part 2: From disrupting production to non-human avatars

Image credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The world is watching with awe at the ability of AI technology to produce synthetic content at scale with a high degree of fidelity. Going forward, the tools to generate synthetic media can do away with traditional linear production processes. Can we expect AI-powered synthetic media being used increasingly by marketers and brands in the day ahead as a cost-effective strategy?

AI-powered media is cost-effective because it eliminates the need for human intervention in many aspects of content creation, says Siddharth Bhansali, Founder, Noesis.Tech, and CTO, Zoo Media. This allows brands to quickly and efficiently create a large volume of content, granting marketers the opportunity to rethink and push the boundaries of creativity and efficiency.

Siddharth Bhansali
Siddharth Bhansali

“The practice of deploying AI media gives us a chance to localise and customise content for different regions and cultures, enabling brands to reach a wider audience with consistent and relevant messaging. It's imperative that marketers also understand that hyper-personalisation can be pretty overwhelming for consumers. We must find a balance between personalising marketing efforts and respecting the end-user's privacy. Too much and we risk creating ads that seem eerily accurate and can make people feel like their digital space is being invaded. Brand and marketers who aim to optimise their targeting using AI will have to exercise cautious restraint on this front,” opines Bhansali.

AI-powered synthetic media has the potential to disrupt traditional linear production processes for localisation, customisation, and personalisation, says Moe’s Art Co-Founder Vishaal Shah

Vishaal Shah
Vishaal Shah

“By using AI-generated media, brands can save time and resources while still achieving a high level of quality and customization. As AI technology continues to advance, it's likely that we'll see an increased use of AI-powered synthetic media by marketers and brands in the future,” says Shah.

Mangesh Bhayde, Senior Creative Director - Design, BC Web Wise, feels that AI-powered synthetic media is likely to be increasingly used by marketers and brands as a cost-effective strategy. He adds that synthetic media has the potential to streamline production processes by automating many tasks, such as localisation, customisation, and personalisation.

Mangesh Bhayde
Mangesh Bhayde

“By reducing the need for manual labour, synthetic media can save time and reduce production costs, making it an attractive option for marketers. Additionally, synthetic media can generate high-quality, highly-realistic audio-visual content at scale, making it a valuable tool for creating personalised, targeted ads and other marketing materials. However, it is important to note that while synthetic media can be cost-effective, it may also require significant investments in technology and infrastructure, as well as specialised expertise,” points out Bhayde.

In addition to the benefits of personalisation, synthetic media also offers significant cost savings compared to traditional linear production processes, says Rashid Khan, CPO & Co-founder, Yellow.ai.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan

“The use of AI in the production process reduces the need for manual labour and streamlines the production process, leading to faster, more efficient, and less expensive production. Synthetic media provides enhanced flexibility and scalability when compared to traditional marketing. Companies have the ability to generate a large amount of content quickly and effortlessly, enabling businesses to test numerous campaign ideas and optimize their marketing approach in real-time. This level of flexibility and scalability empowers businesses to adapt to evolving customer preferences and promptly respond to market shifts and trends. Brands can also quickly and easily update their campaigns as needed, which is particularly valuable in today’s fast-paced, constantly evolving marketing landscape,” he says.

“We have been seeing increasing use of technology and AI in the creation of content, and fully expect this trend to continue on a move-forward basis, even accelerate, as AI gets more and more democratised,” notes Abhishek Gupta, Chief Customer Officer, CleverTap.

Abhishek Gupta
Abhishek Gupta

According to him, one contemporary use of AI in content creation has been brands using AI to deliver emotionally persuasive content that converts, where brands can increase or decrease a particular emotion in the content to suit the audience. At a more comprehensive level, he adds, AI will impact all areas of content creation spanning ideation, creation, optimisation, and recommendation to match audience preferences.

“While there will be a positive cost impact, we expect a much more disproportionate benefit of synthetic media on the effectiveness of the content and in turn its value to the business. Today’s customer expects hyper-personalisation at all points in their journey with the brand. It’s almost impossible for brands to create millions of pieces of content every day to match the content and preferences of their customers and AI-powered synthetic media tools will precisely solve that problem,” says Gupta.

“We have to understand that content doesn’t exist in isolation. It’s very closely tied to the context of the audience, and we therefore expect marketing platforms to bring both together such that content creation, personalisation and engagement will be most effective when happening through one single platform,” he points out.

He cites a Gartner study, which shows that by 2025, 30% of outbound messages from large organisations will be synthetically generated. “Brands like Mondelez India and Ageas Federal Life Insurance have already used generative AI and synthetic media technology for their marketing needs. As the technology becomes ubiquitous, there is no doubt that marketers and brands will further embrace its adoption. As this technology improves, it will certainly yield the desired ROI and help with a cost-effective marketing strategy,” Gupta adds.

While marketers are familiar with their tools, they often lack a strategic approach to implementing scalable projects, observes Aniket Bajpai, Co-Founder, LimeChat. He further adds that many also struggle to adopt a data-driven, AI-friendly culture and develop the necessary skills.

”However, AI-driven synthetic media is a game-changer for marketers and businesses, streamlining production processes and providing a cost-effective alternative. As AI technology advances, its use in marketing is expected to soar, enabling companies to create personalised content and reach their target audience cost-effectively. Given this, synthetic media’s scalability and flexibility allow for tailoring avatars to specific audiences and using them in various contexts, making it a versatile tool for communication and PR,” Bajpai adds.

Utsav Chaudhuri, Marketing Head – Youth, Music, and English Entertainment, Viacom18, feels that synthetic media may have some limited use cases, for example, brochures or specs sheets, customised to certain markets or consumer segments. Having car or device information available in multiple languages quickly can be a very practical addition. But when it comes to larger scale brand and product communications, something more sensitive is required that takes into consideration the culture and behaviour of the consumers. If AI-generated communications are not handled correctly, it can create havoc on a brand’s reputation owing to cultural faux pas.”

Utsav Chaudhuri
Utsav Chaudhuri

Non-human avatars

In addition to the ability to personalise at scale, there are other use cases of synthetic media, such as deploying non-human avatars, which are not prone to scandals. Such avatars can be used for PR spokespersons during crises.

Mangesh Bhayde agrees that deploying non-human avatars as PR crisis-proof spokespersons is definitely one of the potential use cases of synthetic media. Some of the other potential use cases for synthetic media, according to him, include:

  1. Virtual product demonstrations: Synthetic media can be used to create virtual product demonstrations and presentations that are highly engaging and interactive.
  2. Video game characters: Create video game characters and other in-game assets that are highly realistic and personalised.
  3. Movie and TV special effects: Synthetic media can be used to create realistic special effects for movies and TV shows, reducing the need for costly physical props and sets. Other than this, I am sure, if you get bored with the movies and want to see something specific, you can have your favorite actors, genre, music, duration, etc., and feed it into any AI content maker, and you will get a full movie video within minutes. This is the future.
  4. Virtual reality experiences: Synthetic media can be used to create virtual reality experiences that are highly immersive and personalised.
  5. Social media influencer marketing: Creating highly realistic and personalised avatars that can act as influencers on social media.
  6. Online education and training: Synthetic media can be used to create highly engaging and interactive online education and training experiences.
  7. Customer support: Synthetic media can be used to create customer support chatbots that provide highly personalised and real-time assistance.

He predicts that AI-generated audio/ visual content has the potential to revolutionise the marketing world. By integrating this technology into their brand strategy, marketers can create personalised and engaging ads, virtual product demonstrations, and interactive brand experiences. Additionally, AI can automate tedious tasks and save time and resources.”

Digital avatars are becoming increasingly sophisticated and don’t cost as much as they used to, says Abhishek Gupta.

Gupta considers Synthesia.io as a great example, which allows users to create digital avatars that can be used as a substitute to company spokespersons.

“Besides this, Murf AI is another great example of a platform that is innovative in the synthetic speech category. Gartner predicts that by 2024, 60% of the data used for the development of AI and analytics will be synthetically generated. Synthetic media will be used to generate characters in animated movies or enhance the live action movies. As more and more start-ups experiment with this technology, we will witness more use cases. We expect the field of education to be also revolutionized as there will be an opportunity to create and curate the content based on the preferences of a learner and the content can evolve with the learner. Generally, any industry that’s content-intensive will change forever with synthetic media becoming mainstream,” Gupta concludes.

Non-human avatars offer a more efficient and cost-effective solution for customer service, as they can handle a large volume of enquiries and interactions simultaneously, Siddharth Bhansali points out. According to him, these avatars can also act as "crisis-proof" spokespeople, who are not subject to scandals, controversies, or accidents as their human counterparts. He adds that it is up to the marketers and brands to always take into account diverse cultural norms and values that span across audience demographics and use the avatar to help the brand be engaging, relatable, and inclusive.

Concurring with the rest, Vishaal Shah also feels that synthetic media can be used for a wide range of applications, including deploying non-human avatars as PR spokespersons. “This has the potential to provide a level of stability and consistency in crisis situations, as the avatars would be impervious to scandals or personal flaws. In addition to its use as a PR tool, synthetic media has the potential to be used in areas such as entertainment, education, and more.”

The ability of non-human avatars to keep away from scandals and safeguard a brand’s reputation is a huge advantage for marketers, as it eliminates the uncertainty of human error, says Priyanka Chugh, Founder & Creative Director, Gypsy Moth.

 Priyanka Chugh
Priyanka Chugh

According to her, bringing non-human avatars into play is a cost-effective and customisable option that is in sync with the brand’s message and communication; it carries the tone and the correct image that the brand wants to represent. “They are available to the brand at any moment, enabling an immediate response to critical situations and greater flexibility. Though non-human avatars are great for brand recall, they certainly lack the most important aspects of communication – the human touch, emotional intelligence, and sensitivity. This serves as a drawback during a crisis and might make it challenging for the brand to understand and interact with its audience on a deeper level,” she adds.

Synthetic media is a rapidly evolving field, and the possibilities for its use are still being explored and discovered, says Aniket Bajpai.

“That being said, some specific examples of the use of synthetic media include creating virtual customer service representatives for companies, generating realistic virtual environments for gaming and simulation purposes, and producing personalised video content, such as personalised movie trailers or advertisements. The key advantage of synthetic media is its ability to be customized and personalised at scale, which opens up a wide range of possibilities for its use,” he adds.

Utsav Chaudhuri, however, believes that synthetic media and non-human avatars are not yet immune to crisis and controversies.

“Given marketers are yet to gain a comprehensive understanding of something as complex and evolving as human behaviour and culture, AI and ML still have a long way to go. However, there may be some use cases where a personalised AV message from an avatar would be preferable to the automated – ‘We will get back to you ASAP’ – template, for first-level addressal of, for example, subpar customer service or unmet, missed brand expectations, online. Businesses will therefore need to thoroughly evaluate their AI/ML use-case and make decisions accordingly,” he adds.

Hyper-personalised ads, powered by AI and ML, can help brands achieve higher brand recall by putting the consumer at the center of their campaigns, points out Deepsense Digital Co-founder Ritesh R. This approach, he adds, caters to individual consumer preferences and offers a unique and memorable experience.

“The rise of AI-powered synthetic media is changing the game for marketers and brands. This technology offers a cost-effective solution for localisation, customisation, and personalisation, and can do away with traditional linear production processes. Synthetic media offers numerous potential use cases for marketers, including the deployment of non-human avatars as PR crisis-proof spokespersons. In addition to the ability to personalize at scale, synthetic media can also be used for creating virtual influencers, generating realistic product demos, and creating personalised content for social media and e-commerce platforms,” Ritesh adds.


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