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The new breed of brand intelligence

The new breed of brand intelligence Nanette Marcus

Marketers are collecting more data than ever about consumers, but without the right technologies to effectively analyze and react to all of this information, very little proves valuable. To combat fruitless data collection, IBM and the Havas Group have launched Havas Cognitive to bring the cognitive computing power of IBM Watson to marketers and ultimately help them develop marketing campaigns and products better tailored to individual consumers. Havas' Global Head of Experience Design Marc Blanchard, explained to iMedia Breakthrough Summit attendees how marketers can leverage artificial intelligence and move closer to one-on-one audience segmentation as well as examples of how cognitive technology transforms business.

Technologies like social, mobile, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI) are not just disrupting traditional industries and business models. They're also profoundly transforming the way customers expect to engage with brands.

The new normal is that customers have high expectations. It used to be that brands could get away with something generic, but not anymore. Customers want to be understood as an individual. A generic approach can actually hurt a brand.

Customers also expect every interaction to matter. They don't want their time wasted. If brands can't remember them from last time, just please don't even try to engage them, Blanchard noted. Customers want brands to be real. If your business practice doesn't reflect your brand essence, they'll know.
With all of this comes a new virtuous cycle of cognitive marketing. Cognitive data helps personalize cognitive experience, which surfaces to cognitive-ready content.

Data is rocket fuel for the experience economy, Blanchard explained. Fueled by data, the experience economy has reached escape velocity: digital businesses are disrupting virtually every industry and profession.

"Data explosion" is a massive understatement. Blanchard calculated that if you printed all the data in the world as books an inch thick, you could create a stack that reaches 10 times from Earth to Pluto. That's 4 zettabytes.

Interestingly, most of the world's data is "dark." Only 20 percent are things like numbers, database records, and forms, while 80 percent are images and video, audio, written word, and non-verbal.
Cognitive shines the light on the dark data. A cognitive system can, in general, understand dark data. It can reason with that data. It can learn with each interaction. It can interact with humans in a much more natural way.

We're moving full AI to IA -- intelligence automated.

In 2011, IBM decided to go up against Jeopardy's biggest champions. The company built a super computer and on-boarded Wikipedia. The super computer offered instantaneous responses. Back then, it was a computer in a large room. That ended up as an early proof of concept for something that IBM has built a business around – Watson, named after Sherlock Holmes' helpful sidekick.

That's where Havas comes in. Havas has been IBM's agency of record since 2009, working and playing with the Watson systems as it was being developed. It's been a groundbreaking partnership, according to Blanchard, as they work together to pitch Watson experiences to clients.

Watson's cognitive-ready content is personalized for individual users. It’s modular, portable, and reusable. It lets user engage and explore on their own terms, and it was designed for the best next engagement opportunity.

As an example, the Havas team recently launched IBM's cognitive experience offering. The launch even includes a personalized demo with a tone analyzer. As part of a live demo during the Summit, iMedia's Christian Arens volunteered to interact with the TD Ameritrade client. The demo asked him if he could go back in time and redo a game play, what would it be? It also asked him to walk through his thinking for a few questions unrelated to investment. This helped the system compile a body of text to understand Arens' personality traits. The demo models the personality profile to something relevant to investment. Based on that, it gives a personalized curriculum, along with the reason why it's offered such customizations.

Cognitive-ready content like this is designed to drive value for businesses.

Nanette is iMedia Communications' executive editor.   In addition to her roles at iMedia, Nanette has served as a specialist in content marketing, editorial content, public relations and social media for various clients. She's contributed to...

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