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The use of AI in agencies: Navigating through opportunities and boundaries.

AI is not just a buzzword, but a new reality that is changing our world. How can we as an agency benefit from this and offer our clients extra value?

The use of AI in agencies: Navigating through opportunities and boundaries.

AI is not just a buzzword, but a new reality that is changing our world. How can we as an agency benefit from this and offer our clients extra value? We asked ourselves this question, which is why we have already talked a lot about and with AI over the past year, tried it out, learned and understood it. In the process, we have identified many use cases for ourselves internally - and together for and with our customers. We quickly realized that AI is not just another checkbox on our innovation list, but a new chapter in our narrative.

AI as a transformative force

We have not only experimented with the technology, but have also embedded it in our agency culture. That's why, at the digitalwerk Summit at the beginning of March - a day full of keynotes and keynote speeches from our own ranks - we took an in-depth look at current developments, the potential, the limits and critical questions on the subject of AI.

Not only did we develop a sharper eye for the strengths of AI, we also gained insights into when it reaches its limits. And how these limits play into our hands.

Recognizing and using the limits of AI

We stopped asking ourselves whether AI is a game changer a long time ago - AI has long since become a constant at digitalwerk in recent months: over 70% of the team have firmly integrated various AI tools into their day-to-day work.

Learnings on AI-supported conception, text creation and mutation as well as the creation of custom code with ChatGPT were shared from the team in short keynote speeches. There were also insights into image generation with Dalle-E and Midjourney as well as tips on prompting with the Midjourney Prompt Generator from ChatGPT. There was also an update from the team on current opportunities and limitations when it comes to video generation: despite the promises made in the showcase video, Runway cannot yet be fully integrated into our day-to-day agency work, as the results require intensive post-production. We are curious to see whether Sora can keep its promises. However, OpusClip - an AI tool that automatically cuts social media clips from long videos - shows potential. Tools such as Voiceflow also offer exciting opportunities for us and our customers in the area of conversational AI search. Last but not least, the team came up with numerous use cases for Microsoft Copilot - from workshop assistance to self-organization via the seamless connection to all Microsoft programs.

While working intensively with AI, we quickly recognized the potential hurdles and inflated expectations that often come with new technologies. But we also quickly realized how AI will change the way we work. And not by taking over creative activities completely. What it can do is support us as a sparring partner. More than that will be difficult.

AI as a partner, not a replacement

Contrary to many opinions, we are not subject to the hype of the panacea. We therefore counter statements such as "AI will cost tens of jobs in the near future" or even "replace entire creative agencies" with a firm "no way". AI offers us a valuable opportunity to not only make our work more efficient - but to take it to a new level. During our summit, we were able to divide our use cases into different categories: Tasks that AI can do entirely for us. Tasks where AI can support us by providing impulses. And tasks that AI cannot (and should not) do for us. 

In our new hands-on AI workshop, we also look at useful areas of application for ChatGPT, Midjourney, Microsoft Copilot and the like and help companies to tap into new potential using artificial intelligence.

The irreplaceable role of human intuition

Technology will make all aspects of our work easier - but behind every AI is a human being who operates it, guides it, critically scrutinizes it, evaluates its results and reinterprets them. We see AI as a tool that we consciously use with the aim of saving time. Time that we invest where AI reaches its limits: finding creative solutions. ‍

Why do we say this so confidently? More and more people will use access to artificial intelligence and flood the market with mediocre ideas, generic texts and interchangeable implementations as a result. 
This trend was also evident at our summit. As part of a challenge, five groups were given the same briefing and asked to use it to elicit an idea from AI. The output was sobering and ruthlessly disenchanted the creative abilities of the AI: 90% of the ideas were identical. Now imagine a pitch in which five agencies present one after the other and the potential client hears the same idea five times. A pretty bizarre situation. This "more of the same" result was only disappointing for us at first - rather, it shows us that those agencies that don't rely on the creative skills of ChatGPT and co. have the chance to stand out with their man-made ideas.

Are we just doing it because the AI can't? Our conclusion

What makes great, good creation - i.e. a deep understanding of social or cultural codes, the intuitive evaluation of ideas taking these into account and the implementation with a feel for the fine details, "creating meaningful impact" as it says in our vision - AI cannot do all of this. 
And that's a good thing. Because we don't just do all this because AI can't. We just really, really enjoy doing it.

"As CEO, I am personally convinced that AI is a key element for the growth and development of every single person at our agency. The insights and skills gained not only enrich our agency work, but also contribute to the professional and personal development of our employees. In the future, we and many companies around the world will rely on attracting talent who are adept at working with AI - an undeniable advantage in any professional career." - Mike Gattereder, CEO digitalwerk
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