• ISSN: 2155-7950
  • Journal of Business and Economics

“Alexa, Build Me a Brand” — An Investigation into the I mpact of Artificial Intelligence on Branding

Adam West1, John Clifford1, David Atkinson2 
(1. Pearson Business School, UK; 2. Keele Business School, UK)

Abstract: Brands are built by “wrapping mediocre products in emotive and social associations” (Galloway, 2016). Nike and Coca-Cola differentiate through the emotional benefits associated with their brand, not their products functional benefit — with the latter long considered the worlds’ most valuable brand (Interbrand, 2016). This brand-building model has not been scrutinised in an environment where technology is a primary driver of organisational success, not merely a support function (E&Y, 2011). Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made “giant leaps” (Hosea, 2016) — algorithms — fly our planes and beat us at chess. Organisational spending on AI is set to reach $47 billion by 2020 (Ismail, 2017) with many (32%) claiming its biggest impact will be in marketing. Marketing communities conject that AI will “revolutionise” marketing (John, 2015) and while companies like Amazon appear to use a different model — utilizing AI to fulfil customer’s functional needs (commerce) — AI’s impact on brand has seldom been explored in an academic context. This paper aims to establish the implementation of AI as a source of brand success — recommending to marketing professionals how to allocate resources to sustain brand effectiveness.  Grounded theory research was used; semi-structured interviews were conducted and data collection/analysis was done concurrently. There were three major findings: AI can improve operational efficiency — improving the consistency in which a brand delivers their promise. Natural Language Processing (NLP) can improve elements of customer service. And Machine Learning enables personalized offerings, but organizations are limited by data quality/quantity and knowledge of the technologies applications.

Key words: branding; artificial intelligence; machine learning

         JEL codes: M

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