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AMA Chicago’s Brand Smart Conference: In the age of disruption

By Hem Chauhan

As creative minds who like to absorb new information, we can get overwhelmed by the amount of marketing jargon that floods our screens. BUZZWORD. BLOCKCHAIN. DISRUPTION. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. BIG DATA. BUZZWORD. Most mornings, we anxiously scroll through social media before we’ve even had a sip of coffee.

Although they may seem superfluous, these buzzwords have a bit more relevance (and urgency) than we think. This past week, I was able to gain some insight into their significance at AMA’s Chicago Brand Smart conference. The topic was on brand reinvention amongst current technology disruptions. I thought I’d share a few takeaways from the event:

Social, emotional and intellectual intelligence > Artificial Intelligence
We’re using AI more than we even realise. We see everyday examples of this new technology on Google maps, Uber, mobile check deposits, Snapchat, and Facebook to name a few. As we consider the mega shifts in innovative technology (cloud, mobilisation, AI, IoT, etc.), we must also recognise that we’re still quite some ways away from “arriving” to a 100% human-like interaction with Artificial Intelligence.

As Jens U. Hansen, Founder and CEO of Future Associates, said, “Anything that cannot be digitalised will be extremely valuable,” which is extremely true. As innovative and glamourous as these technologies are and continue to become, social, emotional, and intellectual intelligence will still be immeasurably valuable for any strong marketing strategy.

The promise of Blockchain = trust
The term “blockchain” is one of those buzzwords that continues to leave people genuinely confused. But if we grasp a basic understanding of blockchain technology first, it’s much less mystifying. Blockhive’s CEO Melvin Petties defines blockchain as a system that shows “When value is moved, and no one can mess with it.” Blockchain operates on a level of trust we can’t ignore. It will ultimately enhance cybersecurity and change the way businesses make transactions, as trust is, and will always be, a key component of any successful business transaction.

Ensure continuous surprise
While the consumer experience is important to consider while building a brand, we have to push ourselves and find new ways to delight our clients. As one speaker noted, “You can’t run an entire brand on creating an experience.” So how do you exceed customers’ expectations? By integrating the element of surprise into your brand-building process. The world of marketing used to put audiences into boxes and only focus on the needs and wants of the customer. Today, it’s so much more than that. To engage any audience, we need to look at their goals and expectations while utilising innovative technology to ensure continuous improvement—continuous surprise.

The amount of technology at our fingertips feels infinite, but it’s more finite and accessible than we think. Clients’ demand for implementing innovative approaches while maintaining a human sense of trust is higher than ever before. So how do we avoid fluffy marketing, implement emerging technologies successfully, and surprise our audiences to make them feel genuine delight?

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