AI is taking on a bigger role at agencies, and Reprise is embracing the change.
The IPG performance marketing agency has hired Dr. Vincent Spruyt, an AI researcher and PhD, as its first global chief AI officer.
Spruyt joins Reprise from AI deep tech company Sentiance, where he was chief innovation officer, to lead the firm’s new AI practice and develop a comprehensive global strategy to incorporate AI-driven tools and processes across the agency’s 60-plus offices.
“We have very strong data and analytics teams in the regions,” Spruyt said. “There is an opportunity to come up with a global roadmap to make sure that, for instance, smaller markets can benefit from what happens at [larger] data and analytics teams.”
Spruyt will work with Reprise’s analytics teams across the globe to identify areas where AI can drive more efficiency and seamless experiences across media, content creation and customer experience. That will include applying AI to areas such as attribution modeling, dynamic content optimization, SEO and even copywriting, specifically in the e-commerce space.
Spruyt and his team will also drive innovation by using AI to create entirely new tools and processes. Reprise will incorporate existing technologies, such as a new deep learning model from Facebook that can translate between 50 languages, rather than reinventing the wheel on new algorithms every time.
“Data science or AI used to be a pure technical field, but over the years that started shifting,” Spruyt said. “Just like you can use Excel, people will be able to use analytics if you build the tools in the right way.”
The goal is for AI to not only automate mundane tasks, but also help agencies drive more personalized experiences at different stages of the purchase journey — from discovery, to intent, to transaction, Spruyt explained.
“If you have five audiences and three stages, you can end up with 20 strategies,” he said. “For humans, it becomes difficult to optimize and manage that.”
As Reprise incorporates AI across its offices, the goal is to free up employees to focus on more strategic, higher-level work. But creating a culture that embraces AI will require change management and training, said global CEO Dmitri Maex, who also has a background in AI as former president of Sentiance.
“When I joined Reprise, I always thought in the back of my mind, ‘If I could get someone who has a view on how AI can help transform the entire agency and client operations, that would be very interesting,” he added.
Maex said people are ready to embrace AI to an extent and are no longer fearful it will take their jobs.
“People don't need to worry about their jobs when it comes to automation because it frees them up from work they don’t enjoy doing,” he said.