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In the ever-evolving landscape of creative production, the convergence of creativity and Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents a paradigm shift with immense potential. The question looms: Is AI truly set to revolutionise the way we approach design, production, artwork and Marketing communications in general? And if so, when?

Understanding the Intersection of Creativity and AI

AI technology operates through sophisticated algorithms and machine learning models, analysing vast datasets to identify patterns. This capability empowers AI to make predictions, generate content, and even delve into the realm of art. As we're sure you've already seen, there has been incredible artwork produced. Some of which have been controversially winning art competitions

From writing text in response to prompts to generating images based on textual descriptions, AI's goal is to automate and streamline certain aspects of creative production, offering newfound efficiency and resource allocation for more intricate, human-driven tasks.

The Limitations of AI

Although there are still many limitations, the influence of AI in creative production is highly promising and incredibly powerful.

Early adopters are stealing a huge lead on their competitors and boosting their existing client relationships, as demands increase on marketers to embrace and take advantage of the benefits it can provide.

As AI technology continues to evolve and improve, it becomes increasingly capable of generating high-quality content.

Brands will tap into this with agency partners to streamline their creative production
processes, freeing up time and resources for more strategic, high-level tasks.

AI technology development and application testing continues daily globally by hundreds of businesses with AI engineers and developers committed to making it a tool to enhance human creativity and expertise.

We've found that AI still lacks the creativity and nuance of human input. AI-generated content can often comes across as stiff and predictable, lacking the personal touch that makes content truly engaging.

It’s up to us to consider and monitor the current limitations of AI, but to constantly assess where and how it can be adopted.

Matrix's Commitment to AI Integration

Embracing the benefits of AI across the entire workflow, from project brief to delivery, is a strategic imperative for Matrix. To ignore it, would be the equivalent of a delivery driver insisting that he ditch the van and continue doing his deliveries by pushing a wheelbarrow, or commercial image retoucher skipping Photoshop in favour of pen and ink.

Matrix recognises that familiarity with AI tools and their applications is key to successfully implementing and showcasing its advantages.

We need to remember that the goal of these AI tools is to automate and streamline certain aspects of creative production, freeing up time and resources for more complex, strategic tasks. All of our projects start with the strategy and execution. This defines how we will achieve the clients objectives. We're always showcasing how brands benefit from the evolving client-agency model where we separate the strategy from execution.

It will always be a collaboration with our clients. From marketing teams and brand teams to campaign managers and communications teams.

As soon as we receive a brief from the client we collaborate with them to define goals, separate strategy from delivery and get feedback about our proposed creative direction and test UX with the audience who will be experiencing the design and interactive activations. We can use AI to streamline creative production but not to use it in place of creativity.

Matrix has adopted AI technology early to grow together with AI as it adapts and learns from our input to give Matrix and our clients a competitive advantage.

Here are some current methods for how we're currently utilising AI to help streamline our content creation and asset production process and automate where relevant: Do we need to show the four-step Matrix process (Discovery, Define, Develop, Deliver?)

As AI technology continues to mature, the synergy between human creativity and AI-driven efficiency holds the key to a dynamic and transformative future in the design and creative industry. Matrix is at the forefront, navigating this evolution with an unwavering commitment to innovation. Always with the goal to keep our clients super happy, achieving their objectives and accelerating brands with our 30 years experience in creative production (and 2 years with AI!)

On July 1st Google officially shut down it’s standard version of Universal Analytics (UA), which was the most widely used marketing analytics tool across the globe. Taking over is the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

One of the differences with GA4 is that it no longer relies on cookies to ID users, and with new privacy regulations within the European Union’s GPDR, meant cookies were no longer viable.

The big question is, did you know about the change over? Have you logged into your Google Analytics account recently and noticed the big red warning messages regarding the update of your tracking integration? If you haven’t, chances are Google has automatically updated the integration for you and you will now be running on the most basic setup of GA4. But if you did not have a standard property set up you may have lost the ability to track data from your website.

Our advice, log in and check. Even if it has updated automatically, it will be basic and you may want to set up some of the more advanced features. If your agency manages this for you, ask the question as to whether they have set this up for you.

Meet our newest client – Ascom

Ascom’s mission is to provide mission-critical, real-time solutions for highly mobile, ad hoc, and time-sensitive healthcare environments. With decades of experience under their belt, the brand is a well recognised name in the United States. Having recently opened their UK branch, they have reached out to us to help them bring their brand to life in the British market. 

From coming up with compelling comms to creating asset templates that Ascom can use to effectively communicate with British clients. Take a look at what we’ve done so far by following this link.

Having already completed a number of projects for this client we are looking forward to many more years to come of a successful and mutually beneficial partnership!

Every business that deals in tangible products should be giving potential customers an up-close look of what they are buying. Today, more than ever, people are doing most of their shopping online and expect a digital experience that really shows them what they’re buying. 

This is where 3D configurators come into play. A product configurator is a bespoke tool designed specifically around your products that allow customers to engage, interact, customise and configure them, to help see what they would look like in real life. 

The great thing too about a well-designed 3D product configurator is that it can help simplify the ordering process for clients and improve conversion rates. It will also help you stay in front of your competitors and elevate your customer engagement in a cost-effective way. 

Over the last few months, we’ve built a number of web configurators for our clients that allow customisable 2D or 3D models of the product to be explored in-situ by customers.  Take a look at two of them here. 

JBKind Doors – Door Visualiser 

JBKind Doors is a leading supplier of internal and external doors. Their high-quality doors are at the forefront of contemporary design. With a heavy focus on customer experience, they wanted to develop a tool, available on both their own and key retailer websites, that will better help their clients choose the right door for their home. This is how the Door Visualiser came to life. 

Thanks to this innovative new tool, JBKind Door’s customers are now able to take their pick of more than 70 of their most popular solid and glazed door designs and position them in three room types, so that they can ‘design before you buy’ and get an accurate picture of how the doors would look in their homes. Talk about putting the customer at the heart of your business!

“When homeowners are looking to design their homes, specifically their interiors, a door can play a pivotal role in how the space is used and perceived. A tool that can enable customers to actually see how our doors will work in three of the home’s core rooms, will help them choose the door design that suits their specific style and interiors preference.

Our new Door Visualiser has been created to be fun and engaging, with the option to change wall colours and floor types. You can also save all the different rooms that you have designed so that you can review them later before making a final decision. We believe that the ability to ‘design before you buy’ will give customers extra confidence when choosing their new interior doors.

The introduction of our innovative internal Door Visualiser is a UK first. We believe this new tool will soon become an essential and integral part of any internal door buying process, offering homeowners ideas, insights and confidence, prior to their purchases.”

James Cadman, Managing Director

The Luxury Bath Company – Furniture Configurator

The Luxury Bath Company offers an exclusive collection of high-quality bathroom fittings and accessories, designed and crafted to give any bathroom space a luxurious and indulgent look and feel. After introducing a new range of bathroom furniture, as an online business they wanted to make it easier for clients to find the perfect combination of furniture and finishes. 

This is where we introduced the furniture configurator as a solution. Thanks to the bespoke solution, anybody who wishes to explore the Luxury Bath Company furniture range can now do so in a lot more depth. You can combine different pieces of furniture, changing the colours and finishes in order to create a render of the perfect bathroom space for you.

With this relatively new technology, companies now have the ability to offer their customers literally dozens of different customisations. 

Whether the company offers a single product or multiple – a configurator always comes in handy as it adds the element of scalability that simple applications and websites do not have. 

That being said, designing a configurator, especially a highly customised one, could be a tricky task. Multiple skills are required in order to get it right, including design, retouching, web development and photorealistic rendering to name a few. At Matrix, we have designed a number of configurators for a variety of clients across multiple sectors. If you too have a physical product that you are selling online via an eCommerce website, chances are you too can benefit from this service. 

To see how we can help you scale up sales and offer a superior customer experience online, give us a call. 

There’s no shortage of agencies who can manage your social media. From specialist social agencies to fully integrated enterprises offering everything as a full service. Here’s a few things to take into account when choosing who to represent you…

1 . Do they have experience with clients like you?

One size does not fit all when it comes to marketing, and this refers to who manages your social media as well. Just because one agency is doing an excellent job for one business, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for you too.

Your audience, tone of voice and your objectives all matter when you decide on an agency. Ask the agency if they have any experience in your industry or if they ever worked with a similar business type. Do they have experience with companies selling primarily to businesses or consumers? Do they understand your tone of voice? Do they understand and provide solutions to measure against your objectives? Are they focused on delivering high-quality engagement or just building your following?

Consider all of these before you hand over your social account to somebody else.

2 . Can they provide proof through case studies?

Review the case studies of the agencies you are considering to hire. Agencies managing social media will be able to direct you to campaigns or content they’re currently running, if they can’t provide you with this, then it’s a big red flag.

Failing that, take a look at the agency’s social media accounts, how are they performing?

3 . Is social media in-house or do they outsource the job?

Dig deeper to find out how the companies you’re considering operate. The best agencies have in-house teams the content, but many agencies now outsource work to third-party suppliers. In-house agencies have the benefits of being faster to market, operating at a higher quality.

Along with these benefits, it’s vital you can spend time with those who will be working on your account, not just the account manager. Social media lives and breathes your brand’s personality, so it’s vital that those working on your account understand that, not just the salesman.

4 . Where’s their blog?

When choosing your agency a vital component is to read some of the content on their blog. Any agency that’s worth considering will have a comprehensive blog consisting of material that’s both factually correct and up to date.

5 . How will you measure success?

Social media isn’t a channel that sits nicely in the background, just like any other marketing activity it needs to be constantly measured, evaluated and improved.

Please don’t believe what the bad social media people tell you, return on investment (ROI) CAN, and SHOULD be measured on social media.

A great agency will do precisely that. You need to be able to measure how much traffic you’re generating, where from, and how much of this converts to actual business.

There are many other things you need to consider, but this is a good starting point. However, having the above points in mind when you’re hiring a social media agency, will save you a headache further down the line!

One of the most dangerous things in business is the saying ‘we’ve always done it this way’. You see, conforming to what you’re used to or to what everybody else is doing isn’t the way to gain a competitive edge. It sure is a way to keep up with the competition but not a way to be ahead of it.

To stay ahead, you have to think outside the box and do things differently.

What most business would be doing in April is relaxing and not spending any money on marketing. Why? Well, most marketing departments would have spent the last of their budgets by the end of the financial year, so when April comes around, and the new budgets are allocated, there is a lull in activity. People take a step back and spend the next few weeks and months planning the year ahead meaning that for most of April and May, there won’t be much activity.

This is what most people would do, which is exactly why smart marketers choose to put their foot to the peddle exactly then! You see, planning campaigns and buying media when everybody else has gone quiet is not only a savvy move but also an incredibly efficient way to boost your marketing efforts. Because most people would naively choose to take a step back in April, media space would be much cheaper. Further, there is less noise coming from competitors, so your audience can focus on your message.

If you’re selling kitchen appliances, and you decide to increase your spend this month, instead of taking a step back as most of your competitors would, imagine what the marketplace would look like. Everywhere you go, people would see ads for your products and yours alone. There will be no competitor noise. You would be the only brand they’ll see. You will increase brand visibility while also getting a lot more exposure for every marketing pound you spend. The return on your investment would be tenfold!

It is the equivalent of going on a holiday while the kids are at school. Your vacation and flight will be much cheaper and the pool at your holiday destination won’t be as crowded!

Digital campaigns, for instance, are incredibly quick to produce and put out while also really good at delivering measurable results. So why not supercharge your efforts this April and create an amazing campaign. Matrix can help you with that!

Get in touch today and we’ll be happy to chat with you about how we can put a spring in your step!

You are what you eat (and drink)

Health and wellness brands such as meat substitute Quorn, premium tea brand Pukka and plant-based milk Oatly are gaining popularity due to increasing consumer desire to live healthier lives. Once classed purely as ‘niché’ or ‘lifestyle’, these brands are becoming more accessible and focussing on a mass market.

Quorn recently rebranded itself as a ‘healthy protein provider’, with its marketing campaign featuring Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah. Consumers no longer consider meat-free food as exclusive to vegetarians and using aspirational sporting celebrities such as Mo Farah as brand ambassadors communicate to a health savvy and active consumer.

The popularity of the vegan lifestyle is also gaining more recognition. This being typified with the bakery chain Greggs decision to introduce a vegan sausage roll earlier this year. Greggs has just raised their profit forecast for the year for a third time, as the success of its vegan sausage roll catapulted sales at the bakery chain.

The health and lifestyle drinks industry is also undergoing massive transformation, as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the health benefits of low sugar and healthy products. This has helped herbal tea brand Pukka cross over from niche organic tea brand into a £30m business.

The plant-based alternative milk market also continues to grow in popularity, as brands are implementing powerful campaigns and emotive messages about the health benefits of non-dairy and the future of our planet.

Oatly has become one of the leading brands in the non-dairy milk industry. The brand’s marketing strategy has focused on being at events and festivals and advertising in places where a millennial target audience dwell.

An example of the popularity of plant-based alternative milk can be seen at Waitrose. According to a Waitrose Food and Drink Report, non-dairy options make up a quarter of their milk range. 

Gym life, but not as we know it 

Boutique gyms and budget gyms are challenging the big guns (pardon the pun) with a unique offering aimed at a new breed of fitness goer.

A boutique gym is a small fitness studio generally no larger than 4,000 square feet, that concentrates on group exercise such as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves intense bursts of exercise lasting around 30-seconds, followed by a short recovery period.

As such, boutique fitness has grown at pulse-raising speed over the last few years. They are often attended by an affluent audience of young, millennial urban professionals who are migrating away from their gym memberships for more expensive and fashionable boutique fitness classes.

This has led to established gym chains having to broaden their appeal to the demand of the market. For example, David Lloyd has launched a boutique-style concept called Blaze, which is promoted as ‘a HIIT class that will test your strength, stamina, and willpower as you run, lift and fight’. While Everyone Active has collaborated with MoreYoga to bring the boutique brand into its leisure centres. This trend of collaboration is set to continue as large fitness chains offer the boutique experience to their millennial clientele.

There are more and more gyms springing up all over the country. However, there’s a trend that people are spending less money on them. The fastest growing segment in the UK fitness industry has emerged in the form of budget gyms such as PureGym, The Gym and Easy Gym.

Humphrey Cobbold, CEO of the UK’s largest low-cost gym chain, PureGym, has stated: “Our model is very simple. When you compare one of our gyms with an equivalent ‘traditional’ facility, we offer services to double the membership at about half the price.” Therefore, joining a gym has become a £20 decision rather than a £400 or £500 one. Cobbold estimates that over a third of PureGym users have never been a member of a gym in the past.

This has resulted in a diminishing middle market for gyms – with budget gyms at one end and the elite and expensive ones at the other.

Cut from a different cloth

Fashion and fitness have always gone together. But with new kids on the block Gymshark and Alphalete, big established brands such as Adidas and Nike are feeling the heat.

Gymshark is a relatively new global fitness apparel brand which sells to 131 countries. It has gained a cult-like following with an estimated value between £300m and £400m.

Gymshark’s marketing strategy is unique in the way that it appeals to its core audience. Their primary focus is around social media with the goal of creating a fitness community. Part of Gymshark’s success can be attributed to partnering with a carefully selected group of social influencers and turning them into brand ambassadors. For example, Gymshark selects popular social influencers and fitness personalities on Instagram and then offers to sponsor them. These influencers wear Gymshark products and post Instagram photos and videos which they get paid for. Previously, no other brands were really doing this in eCommerce – it’s now badged as ‘influencer marketing’.

The same applies to Alphalete apparel who use a brand call to action to ‘dream more, do more, and be more’. Founded by YouTube fitness personality Christian Guzman, the Alphalete brand has risen to the top of social media fitness apparel companies. As Guzman’s YouTube channel gained followers, he began selling his Alphalete apparel and much like Gymshark, has recruited other social media influencers to work as brand ambassadors. 

The power of social is motivating a whole new audience to pick up some weights and get to work!

Let’s talk.

And find out how we can get your brand message to your audience faster and more cost effectively
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