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  • Thomas Halaczinsky

Brand identity and storytelling in the age of AI

Can a comprehensive dataset encompassing a company's product, market, and customer information be sufficient for AI to craft the ideal narrative to optimize product and service sales? 

What criteria would AI use to digest such data? Logic - would be the first that comes to mind, because logic would most likely be the only one that could deliver measurable results. Wouldn’t logic lead to the conclusion that only most efficient products optimized to fulfill function are viable. If this criterion was in line with consumer decisions, why are there more SUVs taking up valuable space in inner cities than people have for play and recreation?

The reason - as we all know - is that logic is not driving consumers’ decisions, but pure emotions. Intangible ideas about identity, value, status and the beauty in the eye of the beholder.  Often a highly individualized set of criteria of people very specifically defined social spaces.  

One of the key challenges in corporate storytelling is not to respond to such a set of criteria but instill new and decisive ideas and desires in their customers minds that elevates the companie's brand value and sells its products.  Influencing peoples’ minds doesn’t just simply mean manipulating individuals’ action, it often means to instill values and a sense of identity. As such it fulfills a much broader objective than just selling products and services.

When someone asks which job’s AI won’t kill – here is one to consider: Philosophers.  Take this for an example: AI is one of the key components that makes possible self-driving cars, it enables systems to collect information about the environment and adjust its function accordingly, it even can incorporate real time information about weather or current traffic condition. What it cannot is making ethical decisions: faced with the task to either drive into and kill a happy group of people that on a curvy cliff side road suddenly appears in front of the car, too close to come to a stop,  or drive over the cliff and kill the passengers in the car, it only creates one thing for sure – a liability case for the company that built the car.  I asked chatGPT about that and here is what it came up with:  “As an AI-driven entity, much like myself, the self-driving car faces a haunting reality: it lacks the human capacity to navigate moral quandaries, revealing a poignant limitation inherent in its programming.”

As a corporate storyteller how do you communicate that to your audience? AI as we just learned won’t have the answer. More importantly no answer, human or AI generated, will be right or wrong, much more it will depend on a careful value evaluation and the ethical credibility of the entity answering the question.  It requires at its core a brand identity that just like human identity has been shaped through time and history.  

As AI will more and more take over the creation of branded content, it becomes highly important to define brand identity and idiosyncratic values as a central element of a company’s communication stream.  Although AI will revolutionize the execution and production of content in all media with lightning speed, it will actually increase the creative demands within the communication teams. Companies that will neglect this will inevitably fail to win the competition for people’s eyes, mind and trust.

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