Originally published on Exchange4Media on June 28th 2017:
Susana Tsui (ST) CEO of PHD Asia Pacific and Jyoti Bansal (JB) Managing Director at PHD India talk about the four marketing essentials for brands to equip themselves to adapt to AI, how audio will leapfrog into another dimension in the near future, targeting e-commerce as a category and more. Edited excerpts:
According to you, what are the four marketing essentials to herald the age of AI (Artificial Intelligence) for brands?
ST: Firstly purposeful innovation, but it is very important to understand that while everyone talks about innovation it needs to have a business objective.
The second essential is you need to embrace technology, which means accepting and embracing change that technology brings.
We talked a lot over the last 10 years about digital transformation so if you are a brand still using transformation as a part of your strategy you are still 10 years late. It is time to talk about digital progression, which essentially means digital enabling your business.
The next one is true integration and I am a huge supporter of traditional media and I believe it must be used correctly. So make sure there is true integration and purpose of communication. We must understand the channel mix and not over emphasise on digital so much.
How much do you think audio will grow in the coming years?
ST: Google Home or Apple TV are good examples of audio because they are all voice activated. One of the trends we are looking at is voice activation and how technology is seeping through to change our lifestyle. Recently we find that a lot of interest has been on audio, we are now on the new phase of audio technology and video is a little out-dated in that sense. Audio will eventually take over because video is imagery and the biggest challenge is typing when it comes to visual technology. Once we see the relevance and convenience of it we start using it. Voice activation is very convenient, it makes our lives easier and that’s how technology seeps in.
JB: Though we may not be hearing or seeing so much of audio currently, but it will quickly leapfrog into another dimension. Because we are not the most literate audience in the world, audio activation will be the way forward and it will make life easier for people. After a lot of backend technology and the kind of dialects we have like when we did “lo kar lo baat” the advertisers were already doing it and we had to do 20 kinds of dialects for “lo kar lo baat” to work. The other direction is the ability to convert whatever language the content was created in and make it into another language. We currently do it in dubbed movies but technology to do it at scale and speed, in real time, is what will make it all exciting and super-efficient and effective.
How are brands looking to adapt AI in India?
ST: Most of them are already investing in some kind of programmatic and it’s a part of AI. There is only so much you can do with just AI, the bigger point is the ability to work with AI to actually apply it to our business and deliver a better product, connect, or experience to our consumers.
JB: The actual conversations with clients are happening into the space where we begin to aid business performance and if we are able to show, it does make a difference then the clients are ready to open up and show deeper interest. It is not the fear of what AI will do but how we can use it to our betterment. For us it is about the opportunity to use the immense power that AI can unleash into making our businesses more relevant to consumers and becoming a part of their lives.
How much does India contribute to APAC revenues currently? Where do you want to take it in 2018? Which is your top market in APAC?
ST: India’s contribution is around 15 per cent, right now, I think the growth should be around 30 per cent in the next couple of years.
China is our top market in the APAC region, and the Chinese market is growing over 50 per cent and it is the top domestic market in Asia.
Any particular category you are targeting in India in terms of clients?
ST: e-commerce is something we are definitely looking at.
How ready is PHD India for this new age of AI?
ST: As an agency we are recruiting to be ahead of others for this age, we are looking at adding skill sets which will equip us to leverage the immense opportunity of AI and these big tech trends for our clients. We are looking at up-skilling and reskilling our people to be on top of this game. You will see our structures adapting to these new realities as they emerge.