It’s not all about technology…

by / Tuesday, 31 January 2017 / Published in Uncategorized

I’m sure most of us took time over the holidays, not only to rest but also to catch up on our reading. (Happy New Year, by the way). Seems to me that away from the madness of world politics, the most prevalent theme in my reading seemed to be discussions about Artificial Intelligence.

Even in the last few days, I’ve read articles featuring pictures of Japanese robot concierges telling us how robots are going to transform health care, others saying robots will take over all the dangerous jobs in the world and even how robots will solve climate change. Oddly enough, solving climate change is possibly the most likely…

Having worked with AI for a few months now, I’ve learned many things, but re-learned one thing above all.

However brilliant and world changing the possibilities of this and other mind bending technologies, the most important strategic focus for executives trying to “keep up with it all” shouldn’t ever be worrying about understanding complex technology, especially not robots.

Instead, the prime focus of every business executive should remain the same as it’s ever been.

> How can you improve your product or service?

> What will delight and surprise your customers?

> How can you do things better?

Over the last three months, it just so happens that at GovCom we’ve been beta testing a unique AI based tool that is demonstrably helping our clients truly understand their audiences.

By searching every piece of open data or online content and aggregating it all into structured narratives, the unique tool, developed by Japanese based scientists, can quickly tell our clients what the really key issues are for any given category (and of course which ones to safely ignore).

The AI tool, (which we are calling GovCom Intel), provides insights into what content people are liking, commentating on and sharing. It reveals who the key influencers are, not by assessing how many people looked at something, but instead by finding which pieces of content, thoughts and opinions people actually engaged with. In a world increasingly dominated by social media feeds, “linkbait” and 24/7 news, it’s no longer enough to just to measure fleeting views. It takes effort and commitment to share something. And that’s one of the keys to true understanding.

The fact that you can easily analyse up to 50 separate search strings or phrases in any category for less than the cost (and time) of four focus groups all adds to the value. As does the fact that it works in 30 languages and also measures emotions far more deeply than just positive or negative. But as we’ve learned over the last few months, the fact that the genius behind it is driven by brilliant technology isn’t actually the main cause of our excitement anymore.

The real strategic value of this extraordinary innovation is that it tells you what your audience is thinking. Right now. Without them filling in a single questionnaire. It tells you how your audiences feels today and why. Without a single telephone interview. And in a time of crisis, it can repeat the process every few days or hours to help you understand changes and manage your response.

That’s something that in 30 years in marketing I’ve never been able to do before. It’s an awfully long way from basing everything on a Mintel report.

If you’d like to know more about what’s going on in your market or about a burning new issue, it could probably help you too. It’s especially brilliant in Government where nobody really wants to talk to you.

Let me know and I’ll give you a demo of how it works. But don’t be disappointed if you don’t see any robots. They’re still a work in progress. Happy New Year to all.