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Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity. He is a best-selling author of over 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has a combined following of 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world.

Bernard’s latest books are ‘Future Skills’, ‘The Future Internet’, ‘Business Trends in Practice’ and ‘Generative AI in Practice’.

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Bernard Marr ist ein weltbekannter Futurist, Influencer und Vordenker in den Bereichen Wirtschaft und Technologie mit einer Leidenschaft für den Einsatz von Technologie zum Wohle der Menschheit. Er ist Bestsellerautor von 20 Büchern, schreibt eine regelmäßige Kolumne für Forbes und berät und coacht viele der weltweit bekanntesten Organisationen. Er hat über 2 Millionen Social-Media-Follower, 1 Million Newsletter-Abonnenten und wurde von LinkedIn als einer der Top-5-Business-Influencer der Welt und von Xing als Top Mind 2021 ausgezeichnet.

Bernards neueste Bücher sind ‘Künstliche Intelligenz im Unternehmen: Innovative Anwendungen in 50 Erfolgreichen Unternehmen’

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Coca-Cola’s Latest Generative AI Initiative Is All About Festive Customer Engagement

3 January 2024

Generative AI is transforming the way that brands engage with consumers. A recent example can be found in Coca-Cola’s innovative Christmas Card campaign. This isn’t the first generative AI initiative launched by the soft drinks giant. Previously, it produced the impressive Masterpiece advert, which brought some of the world’s most famous works of art to life in front of our eyes. It also launched Coke Studio, allowing its audience to experiment with AI music creation.

Coca-Cola’s Latest Generative AI Initiative Is All About Festive Customer Engagement | Bernard Marr

The latest initiative, however, has a suitably festive twist. Visitors to its Create Real Magic site can use generative tools, powered by image generator Dall-E and language model GPT-4, to create their own coke-themed cards to send to friends and family.

Crucially, Coca-Cola provides users with branded elements, including the iconic logo and glass bottle, along with full permission to use them in whatever way the user wants.

Festive Spirit

Recently, I spoke to Selman Careaga, president of the global Coca-Cola category at Coca-Cola, who provided some insights into what the campaign hoped to achieve.

He told me that as well as fitting into the company’s 130-year-plus tradition of creating uplifting, optimistic and family-oriented messaging, tapping into new technology has proven highly effective at driving engagement.

Careaga said, "I think we’re adding a layer of innovation that’s exciting for people, and at the same time kind of letting people play with the brand – just letting the brand go and see how people react to it.”

Although this promotion has only just launched, so there are no real metrics available showing how successful it’s been, the company is optimistic that it will have a similar impact as other AI marketing initiatives.

"What I can tell you is that everything that we've done with AI generates double the engagement of any other content that we create," he tells me.

It also hits new audiences – 60 percent of those who engaged with previous AI marketing initiatives had not previously engaged with the brand through other digital channels, such as social media.

A Growing Trend

One thing that’s certain is that the enthusiasm shown by Coca-Cola for this transformative technology is indicative of broader trends sweeping through marketing. As the technology becomes more powerful and pervasive, I predict that we will see even more businesses adopting it for creative customer engagement initiatives.

The possibilities are virtually endless – it’s easy to imagine personalized marketing campaigns where adverts and promotions are targeted specifically towards individual customers and their interests.

The accessibility and ease of use mean that its use is unlikely to be restricted to global enterprises of the scale of Coca-Cola. It’s likely to become an increasingly valuable and fertile channel of audience engagement for businesses of any size looking for innovative ways to interact with their fans and customers.

Challenges And Brand Values

Despite the clear opportunities, there are obviously also a number of challenges and ethical considerations. It’s possible that brands like Coca-Cola could face reputational damage if the technology is used in a way that creates negative associations, for example.

To this end, Coca-Cola has ensured there are a number of “guard rails” in place that prevent its tools from being misused in certain ways.

The tool won't allow certain words to be used, for example, Careaga tells me.

“There’s some filters to make sure that the cards represent the values of the brand because you can imagine, if you just don’t put any guardrails, you can end up in many places that you don’t want to. So there are some tools behind the AI that you can filter so that you can prevent any content that would not be brand appropriate.”

The Future Of Generative AI Marketing?

Looking to the future, it’s clear to me that AI is set to play a significant role in the way that marketers build connections between brands and audiences. The ability to create personalized content, alongside the efficiency and scalability, makes it a powerful technology with many practical implications.

However, it’s a path that must be carefully trodden. AI companies themselves have, on several occasions, ended up backfiring. Anyone who has used generative AI tools for any length of time knows that they are often far from flawless, and their potential to hallucinate or misfire could easily lead to egg on the face of insufficiently cautious advertisers.

All of this calls for a careful approach. It is, however, unlikely to change the fact that AI will continue to be used in marketing strategies in increasingly innovative and creative ways.

Most excitingly, it offers the opportunity for brands and marketers to build more interactive, engaging relationships. The role of “consumer” has always carried connotations of passiveness, but hopefully, generative AI gives us the chance to play a more active role in the relationship.

This could have far-reaching implications on the dynamic between brands and consumers, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing where it takes us.

Business Trends In Practice | Bernard Marr
Business Trends In Practice | Bernard Marr

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Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity.

He is a best-selling author of over 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations.

He has a combined following of 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world.

Bernard’s latest book is ‘Generative AI in Practice’.

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