How Brands are Using AI to Accelerate Their Purpose-Driven Marketing Programs

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While brands typically rely on people to help develop purpose-driven initiatives and the community to spread them, technology is playing an increasingly central role in helping brands accomplish their purpose-driven goals.

Today more than ever, leading brands are seeking to create purpose-driven marketing programs as a way to connect with consumers, who often look to support brands that share their values. 

While brands typically rely on people to help develop these story-driven initiatives and the community to spread them, technology is playing an increasingly central role in helping brands accomplish their purpose-driven goals. For example, AI can help brands by using data to help marketers track and evolve their messaging based on how it is resonating with consumers.

“Virtually every brand leader I know wants to do more social good and have their brands help address the issues we collectively face,” said Randi Stipes, CMO, Watson Advertising and Weather, Developer Marketing at IBM. “Consumers expect the brands to which they are loyal to take action and to take a stand on the issues that matter to them.”

Last year, IBM Watson Advertising launched Call for Creative, an initiative that showcased how AI advertising technology can help socially invested brands expand their purpose-driven messaging at scale. “The impact in 2020 - with brands realizing an average 120% lift in performance while simultaneously inspiring change - compelled us to keep it going in 2021,” explained Stipes. “We’ve seen the tremendous difference AI technology can make in this space and are excited to continue the momentum.”

For example, Kimberly-Clark’s U by Kotex brand participated in the program. After identifying that one in four U.S. women struggles to afford period products, the brand – which partnered with the National Diaper Bank Network in 2018 to become the founding sponsor of the Alliance for Period Supplies (APS) – launched the End Period Poverty initiative and called on consumers to donate products, money or their influence by spreading the word on social media. Through Call for Creative, Kimberly-Clark leveraged IBM Watson Advertising Accelerator, an AI-powered predictive creative solution that helps optimize the performance of campaign display ads over time by identifying creative elements that resonate most with specific audience demographics and serving them up based on real-time consumer engagement. Learnings from the campaign results also helped the brand shape future campaign and messaging strategy.

"Kimberly-Clark continually looks for different ways to leverage progressive forms of technology, such as artificial intelligence, to drive the positive change we want to see in the world," said Zena Arnold, Chief Digital & Marketing Officer at Kimberly-Clark. "When we heard about IBM Watson Advertising's Call for Creative program, we were excited to learn how IBM shared our passion and belief that progressive technology can make a meaningful impact on society. For Kimberly-Clark's U by Kotex brand, our work with IBM Watson Advertising is an opportunity to use new technologies to accelerate awareness of our ‘End Period Poverty’ initiative and elevate the conversation around the inequity that many women and girls face when trying to access period supplies." 

The Ad Council has also participated in the Call for Creative program with their Love Have No Labels campaign, an effort supported by various brands that give consumers the tools to take action to promote diversity, equity and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability. Specifically, the campaign used AI technology to help with its “Fight for Freedom” PSA throughout the summer of 2020 during the height of the Black Lives Matter  social justice protests. 

"When our Love Has No Labels campaign was launching the ‘Fight for Freedom’ PSA in the summer of 2020, a rallying cry for Americans to take anti-racism actions in their communities and clearly state that Black lives matter, it was critical that we found an advertising technology that could help optimize the right creative to audiences," said Anne Deo, SVP of Analytics at the Ad Council. "We were honored to be a founding member of IBM Watson Advertising's Call for Creative program which helped this campaign reach new heights. AI has helped power some of our most important initiatives and we're excited about being so close to a program that leverages technology for social good."

As brands embrace more initiatives for social good, technology has a critical role to play to ensure these platforms are amplified and drive the awareness they need to be effective. To learn more about how brands are leveraging AI technology to accelerate their purpose driven campaigns and to apply for IBM Watson Advertising’s 2021 Call for Creative program, visit 

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