Am I losing my job?

Love and terror for AI in brand, marketing and communication

Every day, I spend a bit of time sitting cross-legged at my laptop, scrolling through news and social media, and falling into rabbit holes of personalities who are promoting whatever online. 

I would normally call it 'keeping myself updated with the latest trends.' However, in recent months, this exercise has become more about 'finding new reasons why I will lose my job'.  What a turnaround!


The advent of AI is disrupting the field of content creation and is completely changing the landscape of the profession for those in brand, marketing, and communication.

The DIY Revolution in Branding and Marketing driven by Artificial Intelligence


The more I look out there, the more I see that when it comes to brand, digital marketing, and communication, there is a lot that you can DIY pretty successfully.


 Anyone can access the realm of building strategy. Whether it is a marketing strategy or a business strategy, Open AI sources can provide a detailed step-by-step process guiding you in building the plan you are looking for.  Today, you have even AI tools that can lift your planning and apply it to different fields and topics based on the work unfolding on your own laptop screen.


The Creative Potential of  Artificial Intelligence


With a couple of specific prompts, Open AI can provide you with a colour palette for your brand visual, a brand name and related logos and images (although that's still a bit of a clunky feature). 

I have applied this in my daily work and made a point of trying out its potential.


ChatGPT allowed me to complete a brand guide, including all visual elements, brand name, perception insights, and a few straplines, in 4 hours, on my very first attempt when I was still navigating prompts. 



"Blimey, that was fairly easy!" I said to myself, and suddenly, the fear of being too easy, or as easy as anyone could do it, cast a glum shadow on my excitement for being able to save hours of work and thinking juice by simply pouring instructions and directions into a tool that can translate them into executed outcomes.

A tool for every thing  


The unsettling question of "Will my own expertise be needed anymore in the future?" started to creep in. 

It does not help that often, clients have already undertaken some DIY using  AI tools that are new to me. 

The field is booming and, every day, there is a new platform that can do the same thing a bit differently, a bit better, integrating only with certain other platforms, and works fantastically only in specific circumstances.. Perplexity, Chat GPT, Space Copilot, Scribe, Mailerlite, Impresso, Compose AI, Genesys, Canva AI, Leonardo,, Textio, etc... You get the idea; we simply can't keep up.


New Artificial, old Intelligence. Direct Customer Engagement 3.0


A month ago, I came across a young influencer online. She is building a beauty brand of haircare products, and she is doing it together with her over 700,000 Instagram followers. I'd say a very good ready-to-go pot of potential customers.


She took a direct approach, asking her followers every question about her brand and product. She had the idea and asked for feedback, she showed some brand mood boards to get reactions, she asked for preference over the packaging design, etc. 

Her questions are simple, usually posed during a quick reel where she is sharing her latest update: "Tell me what you think", "do you like it?", "what would you change?". 

The comment-based nature of social media does the rest, and discussions arise. Plenty of feedback to unpack at her fingertips.


My professional certainties trembled when I realised she also built a brand town!  An innovative way to create a community. She encouraged her followers to share AI-generated images of an ideal town that embodies her brand spirit.

The result is the creation of a strong community, engaging in conversations as citizens indulging in the development of their own city.

"This is brilliant, and I am doomed!"


 She is asking her customers to translate their perception of the brand into images. An immediate feedback that can help understand (easily and visually) whether there is an alignment between customers' perceptions and brand messages. Bye Bye long customer surveys.


Does she need someone to develop her digital marketing and brand awareness efforts? Clearly not. She is building dynamic and tight connections with her audience even before launching the product.


Daniel Priestley, recently guest of Steven Bartlett in The Diary of a CEO podcast, among many juicy things, talked about addressing customer appetite for a product/service before launching it, whilst using the engagement in this phase to create a community that can direct your brand/business choices. 

The practice can translate into creating a waiting list for your next product-to-launch and what marcoms people label as 'focus groups' called to discuss the development of the product but also brand perception or culture, depending on what you are trying to assess. Conceptually, these are the same practices deployed by our young influencers minus (or "prior") AI.


Back to her and what she is creating by combining, social media, AI and direct engagement,  she made me wonder 'What would she need me for?'


The future of brand, marketing and communication professionals 


With access to these platforms and tools, 'what can I possibly bring to businesses that they can't do themselves?' 

And then it hit me: 'put it all together' in a way that a business vision and founders' ideas are clearly reflected across the entire journey of the brand and  its stakeholder engagement to  effectively support the business goals. 


On the brink of despair, where I doubted whether this was actually true, our young influencer came to rescue me, publishing a story where she explained that she turned to experts to help her transform her ideas into a plan and actionable concepts.


And so, there is a future for our profession that we are just about to write (probably with the help of ChatGPT!);  and the beauty of it? The easy access to AI tools empowers others, also not- experts, to help us reshape our profession.

Learning from Clients. Creative Innovation and AI in Pitching


Recently, reviewing an investor pitch deck, I suggested the client not to waste slides and text trying to explain what their groundbreaking startup's product is doing but instead to share a  video demo to show the product in action.


A week later, the client came back with the demo, but added some AI magic to it. They presented me a young female avatar, AI-generated, that acted as the product itself (or herself?!) and introduced a short demo showcasing its (or her?!) functionality.


That day, my client injected extra creativity to my experience baggage and shed more light on what the future of my profession will be made of.  And I totally loved it! 


The Irreplaceable Human Element in Brand and Marketing


Are we losing our job? 

Well, it may be true that ChatGPT and Canva can get us through months of social media marketing posts in the space of minutes or few hours, but someone still needs to put in the effort to come up with a vision and a strategy that can be executed with the support of those tools. 

That's where we stand as professionals in this space.


Can Open AI replace our skillset?

When you research the internet, you can only find what you know you are looking for. The same happens with Open AI; it's the new "science" of prompting.


AI can generate answers, but you won't necessarily get what you are looking for if you don't know what to ask and how to ask.

We, brand, marketing, and comms specialists,  know what to look for, and that's the power of our position.

But it is essential for us to start to learn how to harness new technologies and find what works and what doesn't or we will be cut out of our profession's development.


Embracing AI for Enhanced Creativity and Efficiency


After a period of playing with several AI platforms, I made a suggestion to a client of mine to speed up their content production with the use of an AI tool, Writesonic. They were concerned about generating 'aseptic content' that was not reflective of their personality and true brand self. That is the misconception many AI- skeptical are holding to; they believe it can (and will) replace us and our creative sparks.


But AI is more like a very powerful (and not yet defined) tool that can enhance our efficiency. It requires human know-how to be used for the desired outcomes and specific expertise to be deployed in specific sectors.


A month ago, the case of a football player who sent a direct message to Instagram influencer Emily Pellegrini asking for her personal contact details, only to discover that she was an AI-generated avatar, was concerning and funny at the same time. 

The creative spark is there,  in the man who came up with the idea of creating an AI model that could generate real income on social media. Emily, in fact, boasts today of over 12,000 followers (although at some points, numbers were claimed to be over 130k) and has been responsible for thousands in monthly revenue to her creator. Her newly added sister, Fiona, already counts more than 95,000 followers and is even seen interacting with others in a couple of reels.

Controversial, for sure, but also revolutionary for the cost-effectiveness of digital marketing on social media platforms. You no longer have to pay an influencer or a brand ambassador; you can create one!


Leaving aside whether this would be a winning strategy for brand exposure and product sales, the use of an AI influencer will be determined by someone owning that very strategy.


The Enduring Value of Human Insight in an AI-Driven World


Working in corporations has taught me a thing or two about tools: the most important one is that you need them, but tools do not execute the strategy to succeed, people do. Tools are an essential part of the strategy, but they don't drive it. We do.

Yes, AI can write all your PR and your employees' communication emails, but it can't implement DEI in your company culture. It can write DEI content, but that is just a piece in the  DEI embedding strategy that you owns. It can give you a step-by-step process to deliver critical employee engagement during M&A, but it can't ensure that leadership will execute that process, develop a clear message and consistently deliver it across all their interactions with employees.


Shaping the Future of Brand Marketing  and Communication Professions


So maybe our future as brand and marcoms professionals is about becoming more strategic minds than executors. 

Is that bad? I don't think so. Is that scaring? Possibly, there is so much to learn and to get ready for that it can be overwhelming. Is that exciting? Hell yes! We can pick whatever piece of this new technology we want and learn how to harness it in all its implications; we can specialise or not specialise at all and remain at the helm of high-end strategy. 

We have more to offer than ever, access to more know-how than ever, and everywhere we look there is someone else's creativity to learn from and treasure.


As a good friend of mine and expert in corporate brand and comms put it, 'Camilla, we all have access to the ingredients in the supermarket, but still, you need a well-crafted recipe to make a nice Sacher-torte, and not everyone can follow it. We own the recipes in our space!'


Although I am a total disaster when it comes to baking skills, the future of our profession is promising, filled with novelty and exciting opportunities that will allow us to redefine our jobs.

Approaching AI as an ally and embracing the turbulence of the changes will get us to a new sky- level of working in Brand , marketing and communication.

By Camilla Barlocco and AI

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