The value of a chat in the age of Chat GPT

Two things I am certain of:

1) I get problematically excited by insights. 

2) I have actually to talk to human beings to ‘get’ them. 

How can this be? In the age of AI-propelled information gathering, I can simply prompt something to tell me everything about someone. But alas, the returning results are usually remarkably bland. 

And that’s the problem. Blandness. 

Vanilla data, from the outside, looks rich with opportunity. But on the inside, it’s flat and unimpressive, like the O2 Arena or Woking. 

You can’t get EI from AI

Plenty of evidence suggests that campaigns and communication strategies incorporating a healthy dose of emotional intelligence do a better job of speaking to citizens. 

The finest example of this was during the Brexit campaign. Leave recognised this was an emotional debate. Remain didn’t. The result, unfortunately, is evident for all to see. 

Before the AI aficionados leap in with tales of emotional recognition built into various AI platforms, I hear you. I admire the clever people working on getting a robot to detect how much I enjoy my new toilet paper. 

But, for now, nothing beats human interaction to identify genuine emotion and sentiment. 

A pug with devil horns and devil tail

Getting the laughs, smiles, cries and criticisms

There is a fairly well-trodden path to getting in front of people and having a chat. Invite them to do so. But, to add a little bit more meat to the bones, we think these are some of the priority elements to get to the right conversations

  • Define what you want to achieve and be reasonable, you won’t have all the answers, but you might have some theories
  • Get the right mix in the right room. Some love virtual chat, and some love face-to-face. Getting a healthy, diverse selection of people from different backgrounds and using some existing customer data or market research to steer you towards the right citizens is crucial
  • Craft open-ended, thoughtful questions that encourage discussion rather than a yes or no. This is your chance to lean into nuance, not tick a box. 
  • If you’re speaking less and listening more, you’re doing it right.

Ditch the quant?

So where does this leave Global Web Index stalkers, Glimpse gluttons and Find Out Now fanciers like me? Are these tools deemed irrelevant as we all lean into that one chat we had with Mable from number 72?

Of course not. Instead, the conversations inform the quant work. They act as trends, theories, and hypotheses that can then be tested at scale, and further data can be overlaid to create depth and richness.

It’s not about replacement but enrichment.

Delight in depth

Reigniting our love of real, heart-to-heart conversations in today’s digital whirlwind seems like peeing into the wind. But in comms, getting to the heart of what people really think and feel isn’t just nice to have—it’s absolutely crucial. So, even though it’s tempting to lean heavily on the latest tech to gather info fast, let’s not forget the magic when we sit down and talk to people. 

After all, it’s those real, raw conversations that can spark the most brilliant ideas, or plot a path to the data point we need to make our work stand out in a smorgasbord of mediocre content and creativity.