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Humanizing Brands

 

Given Brands are made by humans, how have so many become so, well, inhuman?

Many of today’s brand challenges stem from not being human enough resulting in a chasm between the brand and the consumer. Turns out that the solution to ending what are highly robotic brand responses and interactions is a robot.

Efforts to achieve this typically require massive investments in human capital – and while this will remain the ultimate solution, it hinders brand engagement and comes with a raft of issues such as cost, consistency of service and experience, and time.

Digital has long been touted as the solution to these issues – as providing an infinitely scalable way for brands to reach and touch more consumers. In the purchase funnel that might be partially the case – but what about before and after? How do brands address the complex task of engaging and advising the consumer across their entire journey?

Early advances to address this have resulted in a raft of chat-bots, animated digital puppets and “hot cartoons”. These have proven to be little more than PR stunts. They attract eyeballs but don’t engage to deliver any value to them. Operating to rote scripts and responses, consumers have been rewarded with little more than sizzle without the steak.

That’s about to change.

By fusing advanced general intelligence – a type of AI – with a hyper-realistic animation engine, brands can now create human experiences, quickly and at scale. And this will advance brands into a new world of artificial general intelligence. AGI is the intelligence of a machine that could successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can. That means, the new face of a brand – a Digital Human – can operate autonomously and in human ways.

YUMI, unveiled today at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity represents the world’s first autonomously animated Digital Influencer. Developed by Soul Machines and P&G’s SK-II, a global prestige skincare brand, YUMI marks the birth of the first fully autonomous digital influencer capable of interacting as a human would but with the control brands need and expect. The technology advances are significant, as are the implications for marketers:

The Rise of Digital Influencers & Celebrities

YUMI will be the first of thousands of new Digital Influencers – some unique, some founded on actual Digital Celebrities – that express a personality unique to them and the brand. Unlike current, information and interaction poor Digital Puppets, their integration with information and AI will enable them to present meaningful information, in a human way, contextualized to the consumer rather than a pre-programmed script. Digital Humans go beyond current PR Stunts with limited ability to interact and engage. They can evolve over time, humanizing the brand across multiple campaigns, products and services.

Crossing the AI Chasm

Today most marketers’ efforts with AI are confined to mining data that is then used to tailor offers and creative to be delivered in the right place and the right time. Digital Humans represent a new opportunity to fuse this data with customer interactions in real-time. Whether you are a Digital Agency, a Data Agency or Creative Agency, the Digital Human becomes the means to converse at scale.

New Creative Solutions

Current Digital Puppets are created through traditional animation techniques that cost as much as the time they take to create. Higher quality equates to higher cost. Solving this problem through an advanced CGI studio enables Digital Humans to be created with, until now, unseen quality, in days.

A New Interface

Digital Humans aren’t just a new face for brands, they are a new interface for any digital environment. Rather than clicking, scrolling, or searching we chat with a Digital Human who does the work for us. Interactions are simplified and humanized.

Digital Humans, like YUMI, humanize the brand by being human. They are imperfect but perfect. They possess knowledge. They respond to you based on emotion and intelligence. They listen, engage and react – autonomously and at scale. They are serious and funny. Importantly, they break from scripts and engage in conversation – and through this conversation, they do the work of presenting relevant information.

But more than anything, the new wave of Digital Humans will humanize brands by thinking and communicating like a human. And in the process, reinvent customer and brand experience.

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