Author: Mike Dijkstra Taurel.
A few weeks ago, I was with a client for whom we do global naming and brand architecture. Over lunch, they told me about a LinkedIn campaign for one of their products, for which an extensive briefing had been written. As a trial, that briefing was both submitted to their advertising agency and entered on an AI platform. You guessed it, the agency was too expensive, it required extensive discussions with a team and the schedule was not feasible. The AI platform immediately came up with 10 campaigns, complete with images and planning, 2 of which they combined, and they started working with those. And that agency? That came up with arguments and a lower price but didn’t get the job.
This story reminded me of the first vending machine in Amsterdam where lukewarm croquettes came out of a glass lid. Nobody knew what happened behind it, but it was a croquette. Will creativity soon also come out of a flap anonymously? Of course, many people and companies are trying what they can with AI, which will be part of the reason many agencies are under pressure.
Digital transformation has fundamentally changed the relationships between the creative industries and their clients, with digital marketing sometimes reduced to configuring tools and systems. As a result, there is increasing uniformity among companies using the same marketing channels and systems, with data often taking precedence over creativity. In this era of instant gratification and short-term results, the focus is on cost containment. But consumers are more than data; they are individuals with emotions and desires.
In a world where everything seems to be quantified, the drive for data-driven decisions sometimes overshadows the power of intuition and creativity. While data is invaluable, an over-reliance on it can suppress innovation and experimentation. The most groundbreaking ideas sometimes arise precisely by taking risks and embracing failure, experiences from which we learn and innovate. This is why brands willing to explore the unknown, without the safety net of existing data, are needed to encourage creativity and innovation.
In a creative sector dominated by data-based strategies for more than a decade, a realignment is now taking place. While data remains an essential foundation for marketing and sales efforts, the balance between data and creativity is increasingly shifting in favour of the latter.
Evolution of creativity
Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised creativity in this digital age. With access to vast databases of words, languages, images and cultural references, AI can generate a multitude of creative combinations at a breathtaking pace. Algorithms are adept at analysing patterns, semantics, phonetics, and images to produce results that seamlessly match specific brand identities.
The power of AI lies in its ability to process huge amounts of data at lightning speed. It explores countless combinations and draws inspiration from multiple sources, resulting in creative concepts that can be both relevant and amazing. AI’s efficiency is particularly valuable when time is a critical factor, or when an abundance of creative options is needed.
Nice and useful, but while AI can mimic patterns and styles to some extent, it often lacks the depth of human emotion and experience that underpins authentic creativity. AI relies on learned data and patterns, which can lead to predictable results. It often struggles to understand context, culture and the subtle nuances that define groundbreaking artistic and creative expressions.
This is where the ‘gut’ concept emerges as a crucial element in the creative process. Human intuition comes from emotions, experiences, and cultural insights that AI algorithms cannot access. Intuition is a complex interplay between conscious and unconscious thoughts, refined by years of exposure to various influences. It enables creators to produce truly original work that resonates deeply with audiences.
Intuition often leads to creative solutions because it embraces the unpredictable nature of creativity. It encourages creators to take risks, experiment and follow unusual paths. This willingness to explore unexplored territory can yield unexpected connections and push the boundaries of what is considered possible.
The ideal path to creativity in this digital age involves a harmonious synergy between the efficiency of AI and the depth of human intuition. AI can serve as a catalyst, providing inspiration and diverse options. However, it is human intuition that touches the emotions. The magic of creativity lies in harnessing both the precision of AI and the authenticity of human intuition, which work together to drive creativity forward.
Naming: communication and emotional connection
Naming, my profession that I love to talk about, is also related to AI. Human namers, armed with experience, cultural insights, linguistic nuance, and creativity, can give names depth, emotion, and a story. They can come up with names that evoke nostalgia, humour, modernity, or aspiration, making the human connection, often combining intuition, empathy, linguistic expertise, and strategic brand thinking.
A crucial element is ensuring that the name is in line with the brand’s identity, values, and long-term strategy, with factors such as brand positioning, target audience and scalability in the future.
Humans can step forward to think, conceptualise, symbolise and use associations from the underlying strategy, while AI can only construct descriptive and generally non-claimable names. Moreover, an experienced name creative can connect markets and their naming and come up with unexpected discoveries. For example, AI would never have come up with the name Apple for computers, whereas a creative mind draws on its own perceived values.
AI and legal considerations
When it comes to developing names, AI cannot create names that are fully available, but it can quickly perform preliminary searches for an initial indication of availability. AI algorithms can scan huge databases to identify existing trademarks and domain names that match the selected name. Of course, we also tried to get AI to create names and gave the platform an extensive briefing that, in short, amounted to ‘come up with an international name for a new vitamin-based energy drink for athletes that consists of the associations ‘vigour, powerful and winner’ and is trademark and domain.com free.
The results were disappointing: ‘Sure, what do you think of “TriumphCharge Elixir”? This name combines the concepts of triumph (winner), charging with energy (vigor), and a powerful boost (powerful), alluding to a revitalising and energetic beverage. However, I recommend conducting a thorough trademark search and domain availability check to ensure that the name is legally viable and the .com domain is free for use. It’s always important to verify these aspects before finalising a name’. Yes we already knew that and with a name like that you can forget it.
Synergy of AI and human creativity
Still, AI is a wonderful tool. That’s how we should treat it and use it when we can. When it comes to name development, AI and human creativity need not be opposing forces. Instead, they can be used as complementary tools in the pursuit of the perfect name. AI’s speed and analytical capabilities can generate a plethora of options and serve as a springboard for human name developers to select, refine and add emotional depth. This synergy strikes a balance between the precision of AI and the creativity of human imagination.
Underbelly gains ground again
Customers and consumers are not systems, but people. And they can no longer be touched in the longer term with ‘an average score for most people’ or by just offering ‘more and more of the same’. By being distinctive, surprising, and striking and deviating from the norm, you can touch people on an emotional level. And in doing so, creation and ‘the underbelly’ is still leading the way to get attention in a world that is already full of a lot of stimuli. Whereas you can let AI and technology work for you to shape your ideas (or even come up with new ones with a prompt) a human will still currently have to make the decision on what is distinctive, surprising, and striking based on experience and gut.
There are thousands of recipe books while hardly any are cooked from them. Why do we pay a lot of money for good cooks when we can eat ready-made factory food from the microwave? Because we appreciate the distinctive quality of human craftsmanship, even if it costs a bit more.
Text: Mike Dijkstra Taurel (founder Globrands) – FONK magazine – dossier – revival van het onderbuikgevoel nº 371