“Alexa, Build Me a Brand” - An investigation into the significant impacts of Artificial Intelligence on Branding

Adam West

West, A., Clifford, J. and Atkinson, D. (2018) “Alexa, build me a brand” - An investigation into the impact of Artificial Intelligence on Branding. Academy of Business and Retail Management (ABRM)

7th International Conference on Business and Economic Development, 9th to 10th April 2018, New York, USA

This undergraduate level paper, written by Adam West and his tutors David Atkinson and John Clifford, was accepted by an academic journal and presented in New York, USA.


Brands are built by “wrapping mediocre products in emotive and social associations” (Galloway, 2016). Nike and Coca-Cola differentiate through the emotional benefits associated with their brand, not by their products functional benefit - with the latter long considered the worlds’ most valuable brand (Interbrand, 2016). This brand-building model has not been scrutinised in an environment where technology is a primary driver of organisational success, not merely a support function (E&Y, 2011). Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made “giant leaps” (Hosea, 2016) - algorithms fly our planes and beat us at chess. Organisational spending on AI is set to reach $47 billion by 2020 (Ismail, 2017) with many (32%) claiming its biggest impact will be in marketing. Marketing communities conject that AI will ‘revolutionise’ marketing (John, 2015) and while companies like Amazon appear to use a different model - utilising AI to fulfil customer’s functional needs (commerce) - AI’s impact on brand has seldom been explored in an academic context. This paper aims to establish the implementation of AI as a source of brand success - recommending to marketing professionals how to allocate resources to sustain brand effectiveness. Grounded theory research was used; semi-structured interviews were conducted and data collection/analysis was done concurrently. There were three major findings: AI can improve operational efficiency - improving the consistency in which a brand delivers their promise. Natural Language Processing (NLP) can improve elements of customer service. And Machine Learning enables personalised offerings, but organisations are limited by data quality/quantity and knowledge of the technologies applications