Artificial intelligence is far from a new concept; at more than 70 years old, it predates most of us. Yet recent product launches and capabilities are fueling both human and AI-generated conversations worldwide and on the internet. Some dialogue has been thought-provoking and exciting; other exchanges are disheartening and defensive. And unless it's coming from a source who understands the intersection of AI, technology, and humanity, it’s probably just a hypothesis (or an output of regurgitated information).
The purpose of this article, though, is slightly different. And if you’re reading this, chances are you understand AI — its benefit, limitations, and possibilities — at both a high and a granular level. We don’t need to explain it to you. What we can help you with (or increase your knowledge in) is branding an artificial intelligence or machine learning company. When the technological landscape shifts and our tools become smarter and more efficient, there are different concerns and opportunities companies need to address before introducing themselves to potential customers. If you want to gain authority and build trust in the space as an AI company, you have to be positioned to tackle those concerns head-on. Trust is the keyword here — don’t worry, we’ll get to that shortly.
Read on to learn how to best brand and position your AI company in order to achieve success, scalability, and lasting power.
Humanity has long been plagued by worry caused by the “unknown,” whether it’s something small — like a potential thunderstorm — or something more culturally significant, like the evolution of digital media altering the print landscape. Many times these anxieties are valid. Getting stuck walking home without an umbrella would be unfortunate; job security is important. When it comes to AI, specifically, the unknown commonly prompts fear-based questions: How will AI change what I do each day? Will I lose my job? Can AI take over the world?
Shifting that perception is at the forefront of branding an AI company. While it’s not the company’s job to convert Luddites into AI enthusiasts, it is in their best interest to follow best branding practices — in the Big Human book, that means creating a brand that balances innovation with steadiness and reliability.
So how do you do that?
Leverage transparency. Your company must explain technology in terms most people can understand. If you veer too complex, your product immediately becomes associated with the unknown — and the customer will gravitate toward something more familiar.
Speak and act with candor. In the same vein, each action — whether it’s a landing page CTA or a push notification — must be backed up in truth. Being honest about the implications of your tech is encouraged (they should mostly be positive implications, anyway).
Avoid obfuscation and cloudy language. Be upfront and clear; ambiguity can be cause for suspicion.
Maintain approachability — whether it’s through visuals or language. If your brand looks and sounds too technical, sterile, and, well, inhuman, people will assume you're building Skynet.
"Open AI" is named that for a reason. It uses simple word association to boost the perception of the brand. It is worth noting, though, that this particular example has led to a not-insignificant online discussion about the name potentially being disingenuous.
ChatGPT could use some work in the “human voice” department, but that doesn’t mean your AI company should follow suit.
The current cultural zeitgeist centers around the ethics of AI — particularly when it comes to data privacy, surveillance, and bias and discrimination. While branding doesn’t typically address any areas of legality, there are ways to utilize our true human experiences, points of view, and skillsets to encourage a more grounded, approachable brand. After all, it stands to reason the businesses your AI solves problems for, the people purchasing your product, and the people talking about your product's impact are all just that: people.
Focus on understanding user stories, perspectives, and fears. If you know your ideal user is wary of a particular aspect of your company, you’ll want to approach them with empathy. Answer the question: How can your particular service help with their specific needs?
Take AI-powered design tools (Khroma, Designs.ai, Uizard), for example. The pitch to designers centers around making them better— speeding up workflows, reducing tedium, and providing additional inspiration — not replacing them.
Communicate the uniquely human excitement about the future. Part of the buzz around AI is in the fact that it has managed to capture that feeling of "magic" that's been missing from tech and the web since the invention of the smartphone. OpenAI understood this — and the effectiveness of showing vs. telling — and allowed anyone to use ChatGPT. Verbally describing your product or service falls short when compared to actually experiencing it.
Lean into that magic feeling, and embrace the whimsy and the excitement of the future to light some inspirational fire in people.
Interested in partnering with Big Human to build your AI company? Reach out.