In a not so distant future, thanks to big data and predicting computers, brands will create themselves based on automated analysis of consumer demand. But this won’t be enough to have a successful brand.
Although a unique list of the “ten commandments” of brand creation does not exist, there is almost a century of experience explaining the crucial steps: create a brand identity and the values it represents, position it, define the brand language, choose a strong name and a graphic, then launch it making sure products, pricing, channels and communication are coherent with the brand.
My observation is that some of the activities above are “rule-based”, founded on quantitative elements, data driven and rational, while some others are based upon non-routine cognitive tasks (for ex. problem solving and decision making) requiring human skills.
It’s quite logic that computers and AI will step into the data driven activities related to brand creation. Computers will be able to investigate huge amount of fresh data on consumers behaviors and lifestyles and detect yet unseen needs, while artificial intelligence will help to predict future behaviors. If there is an empty space in the market or a un-filled niche, a machine will be able to identify it and suggest a brand / product to fill the gap. And it will happen really fast. I’m also convinced that AI will be able to match the values offered by the brand with the needs of the consumers, giving birth to pragmatic solutions (names, logotypes, colors, shapes, product features etc…), much better than humans. This is because a machine can access to an infinite database of correlations of meanings, updated daily via scan of in-store, digital and social network interactions between already existing brands and people.
Have a look at the Foresight Alliance “Brands 2030” to read ten forecasts on the future of brands and branding.
This may sound great or scaring, the point is that, probably, it will never happen like this for an existing company. Human factor will step in at some point, in the form of C levels / founders / entrepreneurs giving a chance to their intuition or middle managers facing real constraints in their areas (staff, budget, workforce, productive capacity, time, priorities etc…). I can imagine a CEO rejecting a self-generated brand because it’s not coherent with the Corporate Identity or does not have clear geographical or historical roots or a CFO liking the idea but not having the working capital availability for a new launch. It’s likely that this machine generated brand development will come from young companies interested in exploiting a short term opportunity, with an ad-hoc portfolio of self-generated brands.
What I definitely consider possible is that something technically perfect may fail anyway and something imperfect will still be able to touch human cords and be successful. In conclusion, once again, machines will aid but won’t replace us.