The AI-augmented future is already here and it can serve as a tool for brands to supercharge their creative and cut costs, while differentiating themselves in a hyper-competitive marketplace.

To say that artificial intelligence has made a splash in the cultural consciousness would be an understatement: tech enthusiasts and everyday people alike have quickly adopted a variety of AI-powered tools and platforms, inspiring questions about how exactly AI will integrate into our daily lives. For brands, the AI-augmented future is already here, serving as a tool that can supercharge the creative spark of marketing teams and help brands differentiate in a hyper-competitive marketplace. 

Generative AI is of particular interest to brands here in Asia Pacific. This is AI that can be used to create new content, including images, audio, text, code, simulations and videos. Examples include Open AI’s ChatGPT, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. This is technology that has been ramping up significantly since 2017 and has emerged in the public sphere in just the past few months.

Generative AI’s use cases are multiplying exponentially when it comes to marketing. AI is set to unlock significant efficiencies in marketing operations (read: save serious coin) and elicit powerful insights in real time, while also facilitating personalisation on an ambitious scale. These are refreshing developments for brands that wish to lead us into the next era of digital experiences in a streamlined and cost-efficient manner.

At Media.Monks, we’ve gained incredible experience with generative AI and machine learning since 2018, well before the recent hype. From our vantage point, AI is not only a disruptive force but a permanent foundational change aiming to elevate the brand experience, drive efficiencies and streamline processes, while also saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in production costs and ultimately, driving ROI and sales. 

AI is already driving significant growth in APAC

We can already see how AI has far-reaching potential in the ways it is already impacting different industries, such as healthcare, financial services, travel and tourism in APAC. The healthcare AI market in APAC is expected to reach US$17,797.42 million in 2027, growing at a CAGR of 50.8% from 2020 to 2027. AI is revolutionising the sector with personalised health recommendations, remote consultations and administrative automation. Singapore's Biofourmis, for example, uses AI to predict potential health issues and provide personalised care.

For financial services, digital banking in APAC is rapidly expanding, with 20% of the world's digital banks operating in the region. AI has the potential to transform the financial sector by enhancing financial literacy, providing seamless customer support and detecting fraudulent activities, ultimately easing users' transition to a cashless and digital transaction-led society.

As banks like Siam Commercial Bank in Thailand explore AI integration, the industry is poised for innovation beyond chatbots, addressing the complexity and intimidation of managing finances for customers in emerging markets.

As for travel and tourism, the Southeast Asia travel and tourism market is projected to reach US$77 billion by 2024, fueled by factors such as increasing numbers of Chinese outbound travellers and the growing middle class in the region. As the market expands, AI can enhance the brand experience by offering personalised recommendations, dynamic pricing and intelligent booking systems. Companies like Airbnb and already utilise AI but further potential for AI integration remains, enabling innovative services like virtual concierge services, smart itinerary planning and advanced analytics for a better understanding of customer preferences.

So the question today is not whether to participate in the AI revolution but how. How do brands maximise their potential with this unique tool? Here are the most titillating developments within brands’ grasp now as they prepare for the supercharged era of AI.

Accelerate content creation

Thanks to generative AI, spinning up creative content has become a tremendously fluid process. This allows teams the freedom to experiment with different takes on an idea at the concept stage without needing to sink additional hours at the drawing board. 

For instance, teams can create dozens of backgrounds for an animation with AI, then easily swap them in or out until they discover the perfect option. This touch-of-a-button flexibility allows creatives to iterate effortlessly, granting the power to differentiate across a wide range of touchpoints 

In addition to building content at scale with generative AI, machine learning helps automate and optimise, saving time for engineers. Together, these efficiencies and optimisations level up the brand experience and output, leading into the next key benefit.

Hyper-personalise marketing  

AI, already a key contributor to personalised marketing today, is permanently altering how brands express themselves by delivering experiences that cater to customers as individuals. As content becomes increasingly personalised, it will become more relevant, respectful of consumers’ attention and ultimately more meaningful. This will markedly improve customers’ relationships with brands while also saving time and money as teams execute these strategies. 

It’s important to note that the road to hyper-personalisation will rely on data to achieve these results: brands will need to deliver exponentially more content driven by more data points, not to mention make sense of it all. Success in the AI era will require greater precision, challenging brands to develop new workflows and ownable AI models. 

Brands that miss the boat on building a solid data foundation will find themselves falling behind, unable to deliver the hyper-personalised experiences AI unlocks, so don’t wait to get your house in order when it comes to data.

Boost predictive marketing intelligence

There’s another key benefit to a data foundation enhanced by AI: more intelligent marketing insights. AI can aid in predicting market impact due to its sheer processing power and speed of data retrieval and analysis. But one needs to know how to ask the right questions to yield the best insights. 

It will take time to incorporate the raw information or data and make the best use of it to ensure a particular brand will stand out in the universe. Predictive marketing – anticipating trends based on multiple data points – has never been done like this before. A more complete understanding of what makes a useful data model will be of importance for brands moving ahead, as a solid data foundation will allow them to maximise the potential of their AI experience and achieve business goals. 

Upskill teams

For brands, empowering teams with the knowledge they require to leverage these tools is essential.

At Media.Monks, we’ve launched an Automation Initiative as a way to provide our people with access to tools, teams and training to become better acquainted with automation and AI, and to continually seek opportunities for their application.

This initiative began last year and has already saved hundreds of thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of hours. Likewise, brands can make similar gains by prioritising the upskilling of their teams.

Ethical considerations

While it’s impossible to deny the benefits of AI, there are still vital considerations to be made regarding its ethics. There are possibilities of misuse, for instance, when it comes to reinforcing human biases that are prevalent in marketing today. Realising the need to tread carefully, we may plan to operate in a world where AI becomes increasingly regulated. At that point, business will have to adapt to a morphing and evolving regulatory landscape, similar to how we work with data today. 

AI is changing brand experience for the better

Now is not the time to shy away from this new frontier full of complexity and possibility. Having already seen how AI has positively impacted our own team at Media.Monks, I’m confident brands that embrace the technology will see benefits to their customer relationships and ultimately their bottom line.

Brands will stand out by catering to their customers’ specific needs and the powers of hyper-personalisation and enhanced marketing intelligence will certainly help them do that. While challenges may arise, there’s no doubt that generative AI is a potent force and there’s no going back from here. New realities will require new ways of thinking and executing.