How agencies should embrace AI

Source: PHD Hong Kong

"There’s no reason to be fearful that AI will take over our roles, instead it will open new opportunities and ideas," said Chris Stephenson (pictured), regional head of strategy and planning for PHD APAC, as he and two other executives from PHD APAC held a presentation during an event organised by the HKMA Digital Marketing Community (DMC).

With time and technology, the global media buying agency said we are fast moving towards a world where technologies like AI will be the norm, completely revolutionising the way people buy, work, learn and communicate, and marketers to have to embrace the new technology as soon as possible.

"The time is now to embrace the new renaissance of technology as both economic and consumer behavioural environments are ripe and receptive. We must think like start-ups: be BETA, fail fast and learn fast to succeed. We must look beyond our expertise to explore collaboration with technology partners to continuously innovate," said James Wong, strategy director of PHD Hong Kong.

Agencies must move beyond denial to a point of acceptance of the technology-led inevitabilities, Stephenson added. "This mindset will enable us to be hands-on with data and learn basic skills like SEO, as these are the most transferable skills in the new world. However, we must remain true to our human self, as curiosity and individualism is at the core of creativity and creation”.

Taking PHD as an example, Stephenson said the agency partnered with Wired founder Kevin Kelly in 2016 to understand the technological forces that will shape the future. Kelly, author of The Inevitable, makes a compelling case for how the roots of the digital world are the springboard for the enduring and profound changes everyone will live through over the next thirty years.

The trends included; tracking and filtering- an extension of the quantified self in practically everything around us, sharing – which works on the premise that key innovations in the next few years will be built on our ability to share, amongst others. AI, VR, ubiquitous measurement and algorithmic filtering are just some of the predestined forces that will shape and transform our lives and our industry, Stephenson explained.

"As we future proof ourselves; we must be cognisant that are already sitting on a wealth of data. We need to consciously break these silos and allow for the data to merge and work in the near future. We must learn how to dip into livestream of data and benefit from it," added Michael Lee, head of digital of PHD Hong Kong.