9 Minute Read

Navigating the AI Journey: Lessons from the Frontlines

Alright, let’s set the scene. Picture this: San Diego, 2023 (If you are NOT hearing Sophia Petrillo rn, we can’t be friends), and the world is buzzing with excitement about AI.

It’s everywhere—transforming industries left and right, and people are scrambling to keep up. But amidst all the hype, there’s something missing. Something that’s been overlooked in all the aspirational talks and big-picture discussions.

AI isn’t just about the future—it’s about the here and now. And as someone knee-deep in the worlds of marketing and HR Tech, let me tell you, the impact of AI on our businesses today is massive.

Sure, we’ve all heard about the foundational principles of AI, the legislation, the corporate policies—but what about the practical stuff? What about how AI is changing the way we work right this minute?

While the world might be caught up in the possibilities of AI, what’s far less talked about is how it’s actually impacting businesses on a day-to-day basis. As the CEO of Red Branch Media, I’ve had the privilege of steering our agency through the transformative waves of Artificial Intelligence (AI) integration. Over the past five years, we’ve embarked on a journey that’s reshaped not only our operations but also our industry outlook.

From getting serious about data to demanding more from our vendors, AI has forced us to rethink the way we do business. We’ve had to navigate the murky waters of AI ethics and best practices, all while staying ahead of the curve.

Generative AI isn’t just about recognizing patterns and making predictions like its traditional counterparts. Nope, it goes above and beyond by actually creating brand-new content based on the data it’s been trained on. Think images, text, audio—the whole shebang.

It’s safe to say that Generative AI is turning the sales and marketing world upside down—in the best possible way. IF you know what you’re doing…

Generative AI isn’t just a tool; it’s a game-changer. It’s like having a supercharged creative assistant on your team, freeing up your time to focus on the big-picture stuff while it handles the nitty-gritty details. From the outset, our approach to AI has been grounded in transparency, honesty, and a commitment to our team and clients. We didn’t view AI as a threat to job security; rather, we saw it as a tool to amplify human potential and drive innovation. Our journey wasn’t without its challenges, but by embracing a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, we’ve emerged stronger and more resilient.

Our appointment of a VP of Gen AI Strategy marks an exciting new chapter in our AI narrative. With a focus on setting ethical policies, ensuring compliance, and optimizing workflows, this role will serve as a guiding light in our quest to harness the full potential of AI. From building custom ML models to advising clients on intelligent AI integration, Red Branch Media’s VP of Gen AI Strategy will play a pivotal role in shaping our future trajectory.

Here at Red Branch Media, we’re big supporters of using AI responsibly. We’ve been working closely with our vendors to make sure they share our ethical values. Our membership model, the heart of our client relationships, will become even more valuable as we keep using AI to achieve real business results.

  • Generative AI Unfolds at Breakneck Speed: We realized that if we didn’t explore, we’d get lapped. So we dove into the lightning-fast evolution of Generative AI, realizing it demands a fresh outlook on technology, unlike anything we’ve witnessed before. However, it’s CRUCIAL not to let fear of being left behind augment considered, strategic use of these tools.
  • Play to Win: When you dive into Generative AI, think curiosity and experimentation! Platforms like ChatGPT value exploration and feedback over precision and sophistication. That said, don’t play games with data, whether it’s yours or someone else’s; guardrails (yes even if you think ‘they’re listening’) are paramount.
  • Clear Communication is Key: Just like any other good employee, Generative AI platforms require clear communication and continuous feedback to optimize results. For all of my jokes about being polite to the robots so they’ll spare me when they inevitably take over, I do find it valuable to be clear, refine, ask questions ask what additional information is needed, give guidance on length, tone, and give clear examples on what I do NOT want, offering encouragement and admonishment in equal measure to further narrow and perfect results.
  • Don’t Chase the “Magic Prompt”: Don’t get too caught up trying to find the perfect prompt or input. Even with all the buzz, there isn’t one magic formula for success with Generative AI. Just keep iterating and be clear about what you want to achieve. But when you get that perfect output, no, you didn’t. If you are dumping output directly onto a blog, or into a white paper, or heck, even a LinkedIn update, two things are happening. 1) you are lazy and 2) everyone knows it. (I have this whole ‘uncanny valley’ hypothesis around AI content I wanna talk about someday.)
  • Leverage Talent for Maximum Gain: Recognize that the true value of Generative AI comes from pairing it with talented individuals who can guide and enhance its output. While AI can’t turn mediocre writers into literary giants, it can amplify the abilities of skilled professionals.

But perhaps the most valuable lesson we’ve learned is that the AI journey is a collective endeavor. From our early explorations internally to our ongoing collaborations with clients, and our entire team, every voice and perspective has contributed to our collective understanding.

For those just beginning their AI journey, I offer the following advice: Embrace curiosity and experimentation. AI rewards those who aren’t afraid to explore new possibilities and push boundaries. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks or failures; they’re simply opportunities to learn and grow. And most importantly, remember that AI is a tool, not a replacement for human creativity and expertise. It’s up to us to harness its power responsibly and ethically.

See, Generative AI isn’t here to replace us—it’s here to elevate us. It’s like having a never-ending source of inspiration at your fingertips, ready to help you create jaw-dropping marketing copy or bring your wildest design ideas to life.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it. With AI predicted to account for over a quarter of the global GDP by 2030, it’s clear that this technology is here to stay. So let’s embrace it, let’s educate ourselves about its potential, and let’s use it to take our businesses to new heights.

And yeah, it’s been a journey. We’ve had our fair share of missteps and mistakes along the way. But through it all, we’ve learned one thing: AI is only as good as the people behind it.

The future of work isn’t just about AI—it’s about us.