Regarding AI, there is no shortage of opinions online to choose from, from ex-crypto grifters with snake oil solutions in prompt engineering, masterminds, and master classes to honest creators giving their best trade secrets away.
It can be hard to figure out who to listen to. Exploring and experimenting is one of the best ways to get better at generative AI—grazing and finding high-signal creators who are giving the majority of their best advice away and applying it.
It is worth discussing this and beginning by saying there's no work we're doing on behalf of clients using AI that we're not clearly getting ethical approval first. Yes, it is possible to use AI without a client noticing or giving approval. Some of the industries we work in for research and marketing, respectively, require stringent conditions to be met, so this needs to be said first.
Earlier this week, I made a short tutorial for my teammates on ways I've been using AI. It involved ways I was asking ChatGPT+ to create prompts for metaphors and visuals that I desired for a presentation. I'd provide my core point, ask for potential visual settings and metaphors, then ask it to create prompts and create two images, one in Midjourney and one in DALL-E and compare which I preferred. For our team’s 2024 vision for the company, it was a pleasure to use iA Presenter (this entire blog post was initially drafted in iA Writer), and Midjourney/DALL-E for the images.
Most agencies in Kenya, East Africa, and the world over are experimenting with AI for clients, projects, and R&D. At Nendo, we're seeking to incorporate generative AI into our work through training, tactics, and trials.
Training can mean two things. First, it can mean conducting machine learning to create and train our algorithm to spot better or respond to specific cues, feedback, and input. While working with Safaricom for over 5 years and examining millions of complaints, comments, and compliments from their customers, Nendo trained our Brandwatch environment to classify sheng (Kenyan slang) better. If the pool of updates had 1,000 tweets, Brandwatch using its BrightView algorithm, would randomly sample 20-100 tweets, and we'd rank them on custom criteria (e.g. MySafaricom App, M-Pesa Agent, or M-Pesa App, as examples of different customer touchpoints for complaints) then it would replicate this guidance across the data set. If we're not satisfied with the accuracy, we train again, and so on.
Then, there's our 2024 training, where Nendo invested in Julian Cole's Strategy Finishing School. His specific guidance on how to use ChatGPT has been a really interesting approach that I find a valuable expression. One of the funnier ways has been when brainstorming or developing brief and thought-up insights.
These are the tip of the iceberg. I was impressed to see ChatGPT's familiarity with the language, too. While we've not used it yet for Swahili translation, copy, and material, the fact it is capable of answering, translating, and recommending answers in Swahili is fascinating.
Ethan Mollick is among my favourite thinkers and writers on generative AI and chatbots. Not only because he was 'early' to the scene, but his writing, research, and interpretation of academic literature for practice application make him an impactful communicator. I often read, re-read, and recommend his Substack newsletter.
I was recently sharing with a teammate of mine about his prompt engineering approach. Ethan has a point of view that speculates that AI chatbots will work to become more accessible to use over time, not harder. That means less focus on the gap between skilled and less skilled generative AI users. This might bring less significance to the current world of paid prompt engineering masterclasses, proprietary paid AI groups, content, and cheat sheets. The AI is expected to improve in its ability to interact and deliver reliable results with less technical guided input. Until then, however, the tactics matter.
What I like about this is that some of the prompts run long, but the quality of the corresponding dialogue can be quite valuable. It requires some desk research and critical thinking to frame what the chatbot is to do. I consider this similar to creating a Boolean query in social media listening. Sometimes, 80% of your results depend on the quality of your boolean query. Many times, our clients have seen the breadth of our value and the depth of insight rise by investing time in a comprehensive boolean query to capture a large dataset and then sift through it in greater detail.
I think one of the more valuable ways to get involved generally is just trying things out between AI-aided work and solo work and comparing the results. This means considering ways to use an AI chatbot in a brainstorm. It is a wonder someone hasn't made a GPT focused on creative agencies.
At Nendo, we've got paid Midjourney, ChatGPT+, Grammarly Premium, and generally are eager to sponsor different AI-based platforms, tools, and technologies to explore how they might help us move at pace to scale in 2024. This is in living up to our core value of being a lifelong learner. I'm always encouraged by my teammates' ability to incorporate new and better ways of working, trials, and experiments to achieve better results.
If you're interested in how we might work together for research or marketing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.