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Humans Wanted


This is a call to arms for strategy people to join a new APG GenAI & AI Working Group that aims to get the best from the technology for the planning and strategy community, and help shape a positive future for the discipline.


Paper was the future once. But then so was Betamax. Some technologies change the world. Many disappear without trace.


But whether something becomes the future and changes our lives forever is mostly out of our hands. For most of us the future is something that’s done to us, not done by us.


We don’t get much of a say in which new technologies will explode and which will fizzle. That’s the combined effect of billions of decisions by engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, early and then late adopters.


Then add to this the swirl of the hype cycle with its cheerleaders, opportunists, profiteers, and its prophets of doom, all adding to the excitement and the confusion. 


But most of us don’t really get a say in this process. We get swept up, dropped down, have our lives changed (or not). We just get left to carry on with things once the circus has packed up, left town and found a new shiny thing to be excited by.


But on those occasions when something does change everything, it’s the silent majority who will have our lives, and our working lives, changed.


And this time, once again, we’re sitting in front of a future that could be changed dramatically. GenAI seems to be leading to a new set of tools that are being adopted faster than many recent technologies by our industry. It’s not just changing marketing in some theoretical future, it seems to be changing marketing’s day-to-day practice.


People are using it to build segmentation studies, create research panels, gather and analyse consumer insight. They’re building tools to help them write strategies and marketing briefs. To generate brand positionings, strategic concepts and creative thought starters.


So it’s starting to change things in our day-to-day work. And it seems to be doing so largely by helping people do some of their more repetitive work faster, helping save time and money.


Whether it’s being used quite as much to help people do things that are loads better is less clear - more actionable insight, more intelligent strategies, more impactful creative, more effective, and not just more efficient, marketing. If that‘s the future we want we’re going to need to take the future into our own hands.


How all this will impact our working lives is impossible to know. It’s going to be a cause for excitement and opportunity for some, uncertainty and anxiety for others, and probably a mix of both for most. Many will have a sense that there is this ‘thing’ happening to them, that is racing ahead, out of control, causing them both excitement but also anxiety about the future. 


This is where the APG comes in. We’re setting up an AI working group to help shape the future of AI for planners and strategists, by working through the consequences and opportunities, harnessing the excitement but also hopefully helping to alleviate some of the uncertainty. The group will seek to calibrate progress and understand what’s going on across our community, and feed back their thinking and findings so that it benefits planners and strategists at large. To help make sure brand strategists feel they can shape GenAI in their roles, not have GenAI shape them.


We’re going to gather people from across the planning and strategy community - enthusiasts and sceptics, experts and newbies. We’ll listen to startups, watch demos and review tools. We’re thinking of running a day where all the strategy AI startups out there will get 5mins to pitch their tools to us. We’ll research the hopes, fears, wants and needs of our community. And will endeavour to report back with actionable insights and helpful recommendations. We’ll meet regularly and keep going until the impact of GenAI on planners and strategists has become clear and there’s no longer a role for us.


As chair of this new working group this is a call for people to get involved and work together in a spirit of competitive collaboration. If you’d like to play a role in it, we’d love to hear from you. This group must not be a monoculture of techbros, fanbois and thinkbois. To work this must be a diverse group.


Whilst the output will mainly be for the small advertising planning and strategy community we hope there will be useful learnings for everyone across the wider marketing world. And maybe inspire other parts of the industry to lead similar initiatives to help people navigate the change, both positive and negative, as all change always is.


If this sounds like your bag, please email sarahnewman@apg.org.uk


And if you'd like to share your own hopes and fears about GenAI and AI for marketing/brand/creative strategy, you can do so using this new AI research tool, Voop, which will be collating and analysing the responses. Clink the link or use the QR code to leave a voice or text response to one simple question: https://beta.voop.ai/feedback/channel/C-gvog-947g-eeqd












Tom Roach

VP Brand Strategy at Jellyfish


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