How Using AI Can Impact Your Brand Image and Equity

AI is well and truly established in 2023 and it can be an incredible tool in any marketer or business owner’s arsenal.

How Using AI Can Impact Your Brand Image and Equity
Giles Taylor writes for W/Brand Design Blog
Giles Taylor, December 06, 2023

You’re probably most aware of ChatGPT. But AI is much more multi-faceted. It’s capable of everything from solving mathematical problems to analysing large quantities of data, and even making medical breakthroughs.

However, most people's interaction with AI, either using it or consuming its output, is through copy and perhaps imagery, video and sound.

Using AI in your marketing and communications output can bring many benefits, but it also carries considerable risks to your brand image and equity. And this is something that needs to be carefully considered before you delve into the depths of artificial intelligence.

In this post, we’re going to explore when using AI can be beneficial, and when the real, human touch is irreplaceable.

What is a brand image & equity?

We’ve already covered how to create lasting brand equity in one of our recent posts, but first, let’s explore what brand image is.

Philip Kotler broadly defines brand image as the concept that explains how and why your customers form their opinions, perceptions and attitudes of your brand based on their experiences and interactions.

The brand image itself is the result of these interactions, such as exposure to advertising and other marketing collateral, your products or services, your website, interactions with your staff, and other touchpoints.

This is not to be confused with brand identity, which focuses on the tangible elements of your brand such as the logo, fonts, colours, taglines and more. Brand identity covers the what, whereas brand image focuses on how your consumers feel about your brand

What is brand equity?

Brand equity can be thought of as the value that comes from both your brand identity and image. It’s the sum of all the different factors that go into making a brand, how it’s perceived and how it’s unique in the market. Moz defines brand equity in four different parts:

  • Brand awareness
  • Brand associations
  • Perceived quality
  • Brand loyalty

Moz argue that brand equity has a significant impact on the company’s success:

“Stronger brand equity often means brands can justify higher prices, enjoy customer loyalty, and be protected against competitors.”

What does using AI mean for your brand?

AI can have real, tangible benefits to any brand, especially when it comes to producing marketing collateral at speed and scale.

What’s more, the combination of the latest large language models and using well-planned and detailed prompts can result in genuinely good copy, imagery and audio assets.

However, the overuse of it can negatively affect your brand identity and ultimately, your brand value. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of using AI as part of your marketing.

The Pros of Using AI

  • Can create assets at scale: For blog posts, press releases, marketing collateral, ebooks, product descriptions, page copy, and frankly anything else, these tools can create copy faster (and therefore cheaper) than a human copywriter. But just because you can do this, doesn’t mean you should.
  • Can produce consistent output: Due to their nature and the fact they use existing copy to learn from, you can create a prompt that produces results you like, and then replicate it quickly, helping you build a consistent brand voice.
  • Can be trained with your TOV: This takes time, but many AI tools can be trained with your own TOV and style guidelines, which helps ensure their output matches your existing branding.
  • Can be used for customer service and non-critical copy: Some forms of copy and images that are important for a user’s experience have little impact on your brand.
  • Customer service chatbots: Becoming evermore ubiquitous, chatbots are now a vital part of customer service. In many cases, the AI can be used for the initial contact and evaluating the customer’s problem, before handing over to a human operator afterwards.

The Cons of Using AI

  • Quantity over quality: One of the largest drawbacks of AI, the technology simply isn’t at a level where it can provide genuinely valuable, insightful and informative content that meets Google’s E.E.A.T guidelines. If you want to publish a recipe for vegetable soup, AI can be great. If you want to provide commentary on a current event or offer real, personal and expert insight on a niche or complicated subject, it leaves a lot to be desired.
  • It requires editing: AI content still needs a human to review and edit it to ensure it makes sense, is unique and contains the correct information. This negates some of the benefits of speed and scale that it can bring.
  • Loss of the human touch: Unfortunately, even the best AI content can usually be detected by a reader, especially one that’s familiar with your brand. Brands are created for people, by people, and introducing AI into that can reduce the emotional connection between you and your customers.
  • Loss of brand identity and value: The use of AI over time can lead to a loss of brand identity and therefore value. If customers don’t believe you are genuine, they will look for a brand that is, and this can have a significant impact on the long-term performance of your organisation.
  • Reduced Organic Search visibility: A study carried out by Reboot showed that AI-created content performed worse in Organic Search than content created by a human copywriter. Given how vital SEO is to brand awareness, utilising too much AI content can be a big risk to your business.

Why overuse of AI can impact your brand image

Brand image is something that takes years to build. You’ve put in all the hard work. You’ve curated content that’s based around your brand voice and who you are as a company. If you suddenly use AI for all your brand communications, you’ll lose what makes your brand voice unique and special. Yes, AI can be trained to write in your brand voice, but it still doesn’t understand your customers like you do.

AI clearly has many benefits to organisations in a wide variety of use cases. The genie is out of the bottle, it certainly isn’t going anywhere, and will almost certainly continue to improve over time. Will it ever truly replace human-created copy? Who knows. However, what we do know is that while AI can certainly be effectively utilised for many organisations, becoming over reliant on it could well do more harm than good for your brand.

If you need assistance with your B2B branding then don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ve worked with organisations of all sizes to create effective, memorable brands that succeed.

Giles Taylor writes for W/Brand Design Blog

Giles Taylor

Giles is the founder and creative director for W/Brand. A graphic designer from Reading in Berkshire, UK, he's a dad with two wonderful children who enjoys walking and playing the guitar.  

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