ChatGPT: Friend or Foe for Marketing Professionals?

When U.S Representative Jake Auchincloss decided to deliver a speech on a bill that would create a U.S.-Israel artificial intelligence center, he let AI do the talking for him. The brief two-paragraph speech was generated by the online chatbot ChatGPT.

Generative AI systems ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 are capturing the headlines. Professionals from all walks of life are testing out its capabilities. Actor and owner of Mint Mobile, Ryan Reynolds, even went as far as making a commercial for his telecommunications company using a ChatGPT-generated script.

ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 are part of a growing class of AI-powered technologies collectively coined as “generative AI.” These systems allow users to interact with AI using natural language. With ChatGPT, users can hold a conversation in a dialogue format while DALL-E 2 allows users to create realistic images and art from a description.

Microsoft recently announced a $10 billion investment in OpenAI, the parent company behind the two AI systems. Partnerships between OpenAI and other companies, such as Shutterstock, a provider of stock photography, are emerging to enhance these tools. The robust interest in OpenAI is triggering other tech companies to shift their focus to AI in order to remain relevant and compete. Generative AI tools are here to stay.

As the debate about AI’s role in the broader marketplace rages on, it made us pause and pose the question: What do generative AI tools mean for the world of branding and marketing? As you would imagine, professionals across all disciplines of the industry — writers, strategists, artists and designers — are starting to question the challenge — and possibly the survival — of their chosen vocation. Does ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 mark the beginning of the end for branding and marketing professionals?

While the AI software capabilities are impressive (or terrifying), it does have its limitations. On the home page of the ChatGPT interface, it cautions users that the system “may occasionally generate incorrect information,” “produce harmful instructions or biased content,” and that it has “limited knowledge of world and events after 2021.” Aside from these limitations, another, and arguably the most notable limitation from a branding standpoint, is its lack of emotional intelligence.

When we asked ChatGPT what level of emotional intelligence it possesses, this was its response:

ChatGPT self-admittedly understands it is not capable of feeling or understanding emotions. Branding is about capturing hearts and minds. It’s about creating an emotional connection between your brand and your target audience, creating preference and loyalty for your brand. Generative AI tools may have the capability to quickly produce content but validating the emotional value of that content is something only humans can do. Because of our emotional intelligence, it’s hard to image AI replacing humans in the world of branding and marketing.

What’s more, humans today can still tell the difference between certain human and AI-generated content. In a recent poll conducted by Gradient Metrics, participants were asked to identify which content was generated by AI software. In three out of five categories, the majority of Americans were able to tell which content was AI-generated.

While the gap between distinguishing human from AI-generated content may be closing, for now, generative AI tools will likely serve as a nice supplemental resource for creatives alike. We think of these AI tools as a convenient idea generator or thought starter upon which disciplines across the branding and marketing realm can build. We foresee clients continuing to trust and rely on humans for their credible years of relevant experience (and knowledge of world and events after 2021), emotional intelligence, and live human-to-human interaction that a chatbot simply can’t provide. If 2020 taught us one thing, it’s that humans crave and need connection with other humans to survive.

The evolution of generative AI tools will be interesting to follow and we are intrigued to see what unfolds. Now the question remains, who do you think wrote this blog — was it me or ChatGPT?