Why human connection matters in experiential marketing: what AI can’t do
We’re having more daily interactions with AI and robots than ever before, sometimes without even realising it.
As habituation would have it, could we become so accustomed to this way of living that the lines become blurred between reality and AI?
Will we ever reach a point where we’re unable to distinguish human interaction from AI?
This is such a broad question and one that’s very much open to debate and interpretation. But from the perspective of marketing, and in particular, brand experience marketing, AI is significantly limited in comparison to human interaction.
Human connection matters. And that’s what we’ll explore in this post. Your audience is human. Your ambassadors are human and you – reading this now – are a human.
It may seem otherworldly, but there are occasions when software users are developing relationships with AI.
Snapchat is a great example. With an AI avatar available to chat at any time, users can indulge in conversations with the avatar, choose its name, and gender, and even assign it with a ‘bitmoji’ identity of their choice. Similarly, Meta is now partnering with celebrities to create AI social media accounts using their face and identity, in which audiences can ask questions, get opinions or interact with the AI version of the celebrity.
This hints at the rapid pace of AI’s evolution. But aside from holograms and chatbots available on devices, in experiential marketing, human interaction will always prevail.
Human interaction and brand ambassadors continue to play a pivotal role in experiential marketing and brand experience in the age of AI. While AI has its merits, it can’t replace the unique qualities that human interaction brings to the industry and marketing in general:
Authentic human interactions form the foundation for meaningful connections, which is the catalyst of a successful experiential marketing campaign. People crave emotional connections that are born out of genuine human exchanges, and it’s upon these connections that brand loyalty is nurtured.
Human brand ambassadors help foster diversity and inclusion in your marketing efforts. They can relate to a wide range of people from different backgrounds, and remove the potential for algorithmic bias. It can be difficult for AI to replicate diversity and inclusion accurately, and there is still a huge question mark over its biased nature. If diversity and inclusion are a part of your strategy (which they should be) humans will without a doubt help you to achieve that.
Human interactions allow for more personalisation. For example, brand ambassadors can adapt their messaging and approach to an individual customer, tailoring the brand experience to their specific needs and preferences.
Humans have an emotional intelligence that cannot be replicated by AI. They have the ability to convey empathy, sympathy, and a wide range of emotions authentically. This emotional resonance can significantly impact how customers perceive your brand and their willingness to engage with it.
Human ambassadors are masters of storytelling and creative expression. They can craft compelling narratives and adapt their communication style based on the audience’s reactions and feedback. Choosing your brand ambassadors based on this aspect alone can give you an edge over AI campaigns.
Brand ambassadors have the advantage of making real-time observations and adjustments. They can sense changes in the audience’s mood, behaviour, or needs and react accordingly. Organic conversations are also a great tool that brand ambassadors can use to gauge the reaction of their audiences.
Human brand ambassadors are trusted more than their AI counterparts. There is no doubt that customers often find human recommendations (from their peers) and insights more reliable and credible than those generated by algorithms or AI.
Human brand ambassadors bring their unique personalities and charisma to the brand experience event. These individual qualities can set your brand apart and make it more memorable.
While AI can enhance the marketing process, it should be viewed as a tool to augment human interactions, not replace them. AI can provide valuable data and insights to inform and enhance human-led strategies.
Ultimately, human interaction and human brand ambassadors remain indispensable in experiential brand marketing because they offer authenticity, emotional engagement, adaptability, and trust that AI simply cannot replicate. AI can support and enhance these efforts, but the human touch continues to be the irreplaceable core of meaningful brand experiences and connections with customers.