How 11 World-Class Brands Are Actually Winning with AI
Some of the world's top brands know something you don't.
They know that artificial intelligence isn't just a buzzword.
It's real technology producing real marketing results in their companies.
Sure, AI is surrounded by a lot of hype.
But that's why it's critical that marketers and business leaders look at how actual businesses are using actual tools to drive revenue.
When you do, a compelling picture comes into focus:
Top brands are using AI across industries to sell more, provide exceptional customers experiences at scale, and transform their operations.
In our work at the Marketing AI Institute, we've profile 40+ marketing AI vendors and we're tracking over 750 AI-powered companies with more than $4 billion in funding.
In the course of studying this data, we've found a ton of examples of big brands using AI to build their competitive advantage.
Here are 11 of the most compelling case studies.
Wouldn’t it be nice to double your company’s conversion rate in just two years?
Well, with the help of artificial intelligence, it’s entirely possible—just ask Olay.
The Procter & Gamble company started using AI in 2016 with the launch of the Olay Skin Advisor.
Users take a selfie in the online tool and it generates a report with an accurate skin-age estimate, plus recommendations for care.
In the background, the AI-powered engine uses the selfies to match users with certain products and care regimens.
Since introducing Skin Advisor, Olay has not only doubled their conversion rate, but also increased their average cart size (it increased by 40 percent in China alone) and cut bounce rate by two-thirds.
Cars.com is making it easier to find your next vehicle with an AI-powered vehicle matchmaking platform.
The AI tool uses a machine learning algorithm to make car recommendations based on users’ lifestyle preferences.
Users take a quiz that provides the machine feedback on 15 different lifestyle preferences and Cars.com uses sentiment analysis to provide up to 20 recommendations.
In a pilot of the matchmaking model led to a 752% increase in profile creation, 87% increase in return visitors, a 225% boost in email lead, and two times more page views per visitor compared to the company’s traditional search function.
This isn’t Cars.com’s first dive into artificial intelligence. In April, the site introduced a “Hot Car” function that used machine learning to identify which vehicles are most likely to sell quickly.
If you're looking for a major brand powered by AI, look no further than UPS.
In fact, the company relies on AI to power much of its business.
It has a chatbot powered by AI that helps customers track packages, find UPS locations, and find shipping rates.
Customers chat with the bot using normal conversational language on Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Skype and UPS’ mobile app.
It also uses ORION, a highly sophisticated AI platform to plan and optimize the routes taken by UPS drivers.
UPS rigs are equipped with systems that capture logistical data. Then, AI algorithms and deep learning use that data to optimize routes and cut millions of miles off UPS routes each year.
That translates into serious savings for a company that spends huge amounts each year on fuel and labor. It also improves the speed and reliability of UPS deliveries.
Last, but not least, UPS’ EDGE program is a collection of dozens of projects company-wide that leverage the immense amounts of data that the company is collecting across its operations.
This data is analyzed by AI to surface insights on everything from how trucks are loaded to when vehicles should be washed.
According to Technology Review, “the company expects to save $200 to $300 million a year once the program is fully deployed.”
TGI Fridays, a restaurant chain, doubled their off-premise sales, a total of $150 million in revenue, just using artificial intelligence.
Instead of spending thousands of dollars designing a unique AI system specifically for TGI Fridays, chief experience officer Sherif Mityas outsourced to three main software tools, says VentureBeat.
Amperity, a nine-month-old program, is used to stitch all of TGI Fridays’ data together. It takes email engagement, in-store receipts, loyalty program information, app usage, and more into consideration. Then, using machine learning techniques such as decision-tree branching, it sends personalized offers to users.
Chatbot startup Conversable is used by TGI Fridays to support all their messaging channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Alexa. Using natural language processing (NLP) to understand what the customer is asking and generates a new answer every time versus responding with options A, B, and C, like most chatbots.
Lastly, TGI Fridays partnered with Hypergiant to create a Virtual Bartender named Flanagan. So far, it has created over 300 different taste profiles based on bar customers’ unique moods, taste, and past behaviors.
Virgin Holidays sells travel experiences that net hundreds of millions per year. A lot of its sales happen over email, so even a modest bump in engagements and conversions is worth a fortune.
Turns out, making a fortune is a lot easier when you use artificial intelligence. Virgin Holidays adopted an AI tool called Phrasee to do just that.
Phrasee uses AI to automatically write email subject lines. These subject lines sound human, but perform better than subject lines humans write.
Using the tool, Virgin Holidays raised open rates by 2%, a bump that was worth millions in new revenue. Additionally, writing subject lines now takes minutes, not weeks like it did before. That frees up the brand's marketers to work on higher-value tasks.
Boeing, Caterpillar and Nestle
Artificial intelligence platform Acrolinx employs machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to improve the content of some of the world’s biggest brands.
Using Acrolinx, companies as diverse as Boeing, Caterpillar and Nestle make their content better using AI-powered scoring and recommendations. Acrolinx also keeps tabs on how compliant content is with a company’s brand and standards.
The company's AI platform uses a unique linguistic analytics engine to “read” all the content associated with each of these brands and provide immediate guidance to improve it. In turn, it informs how these brands create high-performing content.
Acrolinx doesn't just provide Boeing, Caterpillar and Nestle with accurate predictive analytics on content success, but also provides guidance to content contributors on how to keep each company's content on-brand and on-target.
As one of the world's largest cosmetics companies, L'Oreal needs to be everywhere its customers are.
That includes on voice search.
The company turned to BrightEdge, an AI-powered SEO and content platform, to win top position in voice search.
After all, voice search delivers only a single result audibly, making this a winner-take-all game.
L'Oreal used BrightEdge's AI to find searches and keywords where the brand was in striking distance of owning the top result, then focused their SEO efforts on getting to number one.
"That's become the cornerstone of our content strategy," Carlos Spallarossa, L'Oreal director of SEO, told BrightEdge.
Overstock moves a ton of product via email marketing each and every day.
So you could say it was a pretty big problem when their email delivery rates dropped.
In fact, every email Overstock didn't deliver was a missed chance to generate revenue.
The company turned to Return Path, an AI-powered email platform, to diagnose their deliverability issues.
After several months of working with the platform and Return Path experts, Overstock's inbox placement rates "averaged 98 percent and often reached 100 percent at their most important domains."
The result? More revenue thanks to AI.
When you have 3,500+ physical stores and a business where millions of customers visit those stores yearly, you need to show up in the right searches.
T-Mobile needed to be sure its stores showed up when people searched for them online, and that all location data about each store was accurate.
Doing this at scale looked like it would require massive investments of time and resources.
So the company used Yext, a Digital Knowledge Management platform that gives companies control over their brand experiences across maps, apps, search engines, voice assistants, and other intelligent services that use AI to surface search results.
Yext's platform was able to provide more than 45 million accurate listings in search results, all in the first year alone. Yext also helped T-Mobile remove duplicate location entries on Google which were causing confusion.
The result was a steady improvement in T-Mobile's local search presence, and a serious boost in brand perception and loyalty.
About Mike Kaput
Mike Kaput is the Director of Marketing AI Institute and a senior consultant at PR 20/20. He writes and speaks about how marketers can understand, adopt, and pilot artificial intelligence to increase revenue and reduce costs. Full bio.