She hails from South Africa and is resolute in her perceptions about the future of marketing & AI. Cautioning marketing professionals to steer away from complacency and experiment with AI before they are replaced. Because if you at least start to work with it now, it may save your career. While also holding some optimism about the human role in driving AI adoption, she speaks of the fear-inducing realisation of the transformative speed & efficiency AI holds and why its adoption may be slowed by resistance in the face of its powerful capabilities.

“When I was in corporate and driving brand campaigns at a senior level, I overlooked the opportunity to leverage & join the  digital revolution. Knowing what I know now, I will never be too comfortable or complacent to ride the waves of change. It’s dangerous and I feel, even arrogant, thinking I know so much and have so much experience. I was at the top of my game and thought I could navigate my role without having to adapt. I’ll never do that again” Katrien Cruz Grobler is the the founder of AIKAT, an AI driven brand and content creation agency in the UK. 

To solidify her commitment to growth she got certified in AI Ethics at the London School of Economics and is currently doing her Masters In AI Innovation at Founderz. She’s also investing her time in learning how to create films using AI on Curious Refuge  through World First and is on the first cohort of AI in Advertising, which focusses on asset creation.

On her views about AI

Unfortunately, the world is driven by money. And money is time, and time is efficiency and AI is an enormous amount of efficiency. The train has let the track, there’s nothing you can do about it now, you might as well jump on. 

In a recent discussion about the origins of AIKAT, Katrien and I buzzed about the urgency to adopt AI as a way to sustain relevance in an ever-changing marketing landscape. She’s a former brand marketing executive whose career spans FMCG and ICT across B2C and B2B segments. And is developing a tool that addresses the challenges she faced when building a marketing function for a founder led startup business. 

How AIKAT came to life

AIKAT addresses the impediments to brand positioning, the cost of martech and the complexities of creating good quality content that’s aligned to the brand. From her first introduction of the concept to her LinkedIn community, she has learned how compelling the value proposition is as she already has a double digit waitlist of people signing up to her solution.

What made it even more compelling as I listened to her outline the complexities of getting any of the incumbent generative AI solutions to work effectively, is how she plans to remove the barriers to well crafted, distinctive brand assets to avoid swimming in the sea of sameness.

Her first customer is a marketer who’s been in  the profession for 15 years and was struggling to get ChatGPT to deliver content that adopted her brand tone of voice. The content she got was generic because based on whatever prompts and inputs people instruct the AI on, there are several other brands using the same attributes to create similar content pieces. For example, many brands use prompts with attributes like authenticity, relatability, friendliness, kindness with a Gen Z personality. When you use that framework to train the AI, it finds a middle ground based on previous use cases with similar requests. The ambition is that AIKAT will not give you average content that will offer a median response, its role is to be fully customisable to each brand in a short amount of time.

The benefits are both astounding and scary for me as a brand strategy and design agency. I don’t want to be replaced or benched. This platform can create a brand and refine it without the tensions that come with human involvement. Firstly, the insurmountable time to ideate and develop strategic brand identities will be fractional. Then the anticipation and pain of waiting for weeks before the design team returns with treatments that may not resonate will be reduced. And then the return to the drawing board is much quicker and maybe even a little more fun. 

So how do we save ourselves from the inevitable?

To avoid this conversation becoming an apocalyptic story, Katrien mentioned research she had conducted to help us navigate the expansive role of AI in the future. The article is titled 8 Skills humans need to thrive in the age of automation and the 8 skills are quintessentially human, here goes:

  • Emotional intelligence, 
  • Creativity & innovation
  • Adaptability
  • Complex Decision-Making
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Self-Management

It’s hard to scroll through a news or social media feed without the mention of AI and its impact on the future of business. So will you get on the train or will you be disrupted?

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