A Conversation with Accenture Song’s Jatinder Singh

April 1, 2024




A Conversation with Accenture Song’s Jatinder Singh on the Necessary Brand Alchemy Required For Organizational Success Today

Data-led creativity has been discussed for years but is reaching a critical inflection point. There is a necessary type of brand alchemy required today that strikes the right balance of creativity, technology, and data, without the sacrifice of humanity. To wit, we are amidst an AI revolution and the customer topography has never been more complex. Finding the right mix of algorithm and emotion is the Holy Grail, no matter who you are trying to reach, or what you’re trying to solve for.

As a result of this seismic shift underway, I wanted to speak with someone at the forefront of the intersection of art, science and where its next frontier, particularly Generative AI, is headed. I recently sat down with Jatinder Singh, Global Head of Data & AI at Accenture Song. He is a marketing science visionary having spent years in senior roles at leading companies such as Omnicom, Havas Discovery, and Universal McCann. Following is a recap of our conversation:

Billee Howard: You talk about a new type of brand alchemy being critical to organizational success. Can you tell me what that looks like across the creativity, data, and technology realms you are speaking of?

Jatinder Singh: Nowadays, businesses across industries are grappling with ever-shifting consumer behaviors, leading 95% of CEOs to express concerns that their businesses are lagging the pace of customer change. Unlike their predecessors, whose single focus was on brand-building, modern marketers are also tasked with building businesses. To tackle this challenge, the pillars of creativity, technology, and intelligence (or, data) are being combined in an unprecedented way, thanks to the power of generative AI.

According to Accenture Song’s own research, 90% of CMOs expect generative AI to disrupt their industry in the next five years—we know the journey of bringing brand ideas to fruition is set to transform. However, generative AI readiness remains a gap for many organizations. According to 55% of IT leaders, the requirements for successful generative AI transformation includes accurate, complete, and unified data. Priming clients to be “data-ready” is the first step to unlocking the power of generative AI. We are actively collaborating with clients across industries and geographies to ensure they are prepared.

Generative AI is an advisor for creative explorers who are charged with keeping brands relevant today and tomorrow. Traditionally, tasks like insight generation and creative ideation can typically take months and involve a significant amount of research and input from cross-functional experts. However, this process can be expedited through integrating data and technology. For example, by using generative AI to analyze structured and unstructured first-party data, we can quickly derive new insights. Even in cases where the data is not readily available, we can still get to these insights via the production of synthetic or look-alike audiences and use them to generate unique creative solutions.

As clients prioritize partners with multidimensional capabilities, the demand for leveraging generative AI continues to grow.  To meet this demand, we have developed a cross-functional approach that enables clients to quickly and responsibly implement and scale productivity through human and generative AI creativity across the customer value chain.

Howard: Why is this type of alchemy the North Star of Accenture Song?

Singh: As the world’s largest creative technology company, we are at the intersection of understanding the consumer and driving business outcomes, solving client problems to help them accelerate sustained business growth. But driving this kind of growth requires a renewed focus on relevance – customer relevance, cultural relevance, industry relevance, and technological relevance.

Inside Accenture Song, we have exceptional creative talent that can fuel ideas and emotion. Our expertise spans various domains, including growth, product, and experience design, as well as technology and experience platforms. This talent extends across the full spectrum of creative, media, and marketing strategy, as well as campaign, commerce transformation content, and channel orchestration. We are at the intersection of all these areas, helping bring creativity to life through data and tech.

Howard: Technology and data today have the ability to redefine how emotion is measured and applied, something I am very passionate about. What are your thoughts?

Singh: I agree; quantitative data has typically been used to understand and predict transactional and rational behaviors. We now have, as you said, the ability to understand what fuels emotion. Let’s look at color. Kandinsky theorized that color directly affects the emotions of a human being. So, in theory, red would make someone feel alive and energetic, while blue would make someone feel sad. What colors come to mind when you think of London? Most likely blues and grey! What colors come to mind when you think of Mumbai? Probably a much more vibrant palette. Algorithms can already very rapidly analyze millions of images and videos of these respective cities and provide you with the answer quantitatively. Generative AI not only grasps the initial understanding but adds context. For instance, it can discern the cultural context associated with white, symbolizing celebration in the West and mourning in the East.  We are in the process of using generative AI to contextually understand all five senses and in turn, how those senses elicit emotions.

Howard: There is also great opportunity to put the thinking of Accenture Song to work for things beyond advertising and marketing. Can you share an example of work you didspecifically the approach of fusing creativity, tech and data and the results?

Singh: Our work with Bricorama highlights what we do beyond advertising and marketing. We collaborated to develop ‘pAInt,’ a generative AI-powered shopping assistant that helps customers with their painting projects. Available on bricorama.fr, ‘pAInt’ has been designed to inspire and guide customers through each stage of their projects, from inspiration – by suggesting trending styles, to the purchase of materials, to best practice guides on the painting process itself. This new service enables the brand to offer its customers a unique online experience, and to accompany them to the successful completion of their ‘Do-It-Yourself’ (DIY) projects.

Responding to customers’ growing need for DIY and decoration support, ‘pAInt’ was developed thanks to a close collaboration between Bricorama and Accenture Song. The teams analyzed and mapped the value and opportunities that generative AI could bring to the DIY market. They then used this information to develop the ‘pAInt’ tool and services relating to Bricorama products, offering hyper-relevant retail suggestions to each customer in each decision-making moment.

To learn more about how to create your own Insights OS to best navigate these trends,  sign up for a free demo of our flagship product, the Emotional Profile Report (ePR).

Billee Howard, BRANDthrō Co-Founder & CEO, instigates conversations with the world’s top brand leaders to uncover the latest trends driving the intersection of insights and data-enabled decision-making in her 'A Conversation With' column for Forbes.com.

Post by Billee Howard

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