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I have a game for you. In your next strategy meeting, tell your team you’re going to automate creative production. Then look at their faces. You should see a mix of blank and interrogative faces. Most people are afraid or suspicious of the unknown. In the era of artificial intelligence, people still want to believe they cannot be replaced or if they are it’s not going to work. We tend to oppose creativity and automation when we should marry them to ‘release the Kraken’.
Being a brand director in the spirits industry, I belong to a very traditional industry with centuries of history and (fortunately) a lot of great physical experiences where people can have the time of their life.
But the way you get attention from consumers has shifted to online channels. You need to be the best storyteller to the right audience with the right content at the right time. The fragmentation of the audiences, their consumption habits and the multiplicity of channels they use makes it more and more difficult for brands and agencies to follow the pace. Insta stories on a daily basis, 100 ad sets running on Facebook, even more on Adwords, resizing your content for 5 different platforms, 80 emails to send each year and so on and so forth…
The speed of change is accelerating a bit more every day. I truly believe we have to embrace change and find ways to automate whatever we can in order to spend more time on pure creativity. I do not believe spending hours to find the right icon, resizing to 10 formats or manually sending emails bring any value to the teams in charge or to the quality of what consumers get.
As of today, we use between 5 and 10 automation services on a weekly basis for Absolut Elyx marketing. For example, we use Canva to produce in-house social or e-commerce assets. No agency involved. We create 1 master from existing template, use their bank of photos or icons and then in one click we can resize this to 10 different social formats. We built an email plan that has at least 20 or 30 triggers to send the right message based on your behavior. We actually rarely hit the send button; everything is planned so we can focus on the messaging and the creative. Most people also schedule their social posts with the exception of time-sensitive operations. Every day, I receive my eCommerce analytics for our store at www.elyxboutique.com via Slack through an app called Arc. Daily, weekly and monthly updates on traffic, time spent, conversions and value generated. Even for existing content, we work with ShuttleRock to take existing still photos and transform them into 6-second animations which they then turn around to us in less than 48 hours and available in many different formats. We also found value in starting a chatbot in Messenger to engage with our audience around cocktail recipes or specific requests. We see it more as an icebreaker but also have notifications if people want to engage with somebody from our team.
“…automation makes it easier to handle your core and basic activities in order to get more breathing room for the real thinking”
On a personal note, I use a French startup called Julie Desk to manage my meeting requests by email. She knows my meeting habits, I add ‘her’ to the conversation and she takes over the messaging with my correspondents to find a time and a place and even sends the invites to everybody. Magic.
Let’s be clear, this doesn’t make you break through the clutter and win as a brand. But whether you are a garage startup with no money or a big brand with hundreds of activations a year, automation makes it easier to handle your core and basic activities in order to get more breathing room for the real thinking. There is no value in spending time resizing, searching, a/b testing, sending emails or replying to the same questions. There is value in creating the most interesting and entertaining content, generating new ideas, new tests and diving into the consumers’ worlds.
This is only the beginning but I strongly encourage everybody to see the glass half full (always the best choice) and embrace automation. Consumers will enjoy a more consistent experience of your brand or product and you will have more time to go the extra mile, have fun and create something amazing.