How AI Aligns Corporate Marketing and Affiliates

Aaron Gilbreath | May 9, 2023

With local marketing, brands have a two-sided house.

On one side, there’s the corporate marketers who work to promote the brand at the national level. And on the other side are the local affiliates who work at a local level.

One of the many challenges brands face is how to keep those two groups aligned.

Consumers think about the brand holistically, so it’s essential to be aligned across messaging and branding. Whether a consumer is seeing a national ad or a local campaign, it must look and feel like the same company. But local marketers don’t always know how to customize their messaging to reach their target audience and staying within brand compliance is easier said than done.

When both sides of the house are not aligned, marketing falls out of compliance, ROI suffers, and lucrative revenue opportunities get missed.

In highly regulated industries like manufacturing, beverage-alcohol, finance and insurance, keeping marketing brand and legally compliant is important.

So how do you stay aligned?

Artificial intelligence is here to help. AI can keep the two sides of the house in sync to maximize revenue and ensure compliance. Here’s how AI aligns corporate marketing.

Viewing Local Marketing Through a Broader Lense

Traditionally, the industry has talked about solving corporate marketing challenges and local affiliate challenges separately. But that’s too narrow a view to truly support local marketers’ efforts. You need to look at your program holistically to get to the root of the problem.

When you start thinking about how local marketing challenges happen on both the affiliate and corporate sides, you can see how both sides of the house actually share many of the same challenges. (And how they can be solved with similar solutions.)

For example, lack of quality content — impacts both sides of the house.

So do assets that are not brand or legal compliant.

When affiliates let co-op and MDF funds go unspent, opportunities get missed for their business and the brand.

When corporate offers funds but no guidance about the best ways to spend them, affiliates can use ineffective tactics, if they use any at all.

But with AI, brands can quickly produce quality hyperlocal content, help affiliates execute, and keep assets compliant. Everyone wins. Let me explain.

How AI Aligns Corporate Marketing

AI benefits and aligns both corporate and local marketing in three important ways: generative AI, local recommendations, and AI-assisted workflows.

1. Generative AI

An AI text generator creates quality content quickly, ranging from emails to social media posts to review responses. Inputting a few simple words as prompts will generate a significant output of engaging, effective material.

Because generative AI needs little human involvement, it provides support to local businesses who struggle to customize their messaging locally. By saving time and resources, it also lets affiliates do what they do best: run their business.

On the corporate side, generative AI offers assurance that the content their local affiliates use is on-message, on-brand, and locally relevant. No more rouge copy. Win-win.

2. Marketing Recommendations

AI-powered marketing recommendations use machine learning to ensure that affiliates execute the right marketing tactics at the right time and to the right persona.

On the corporate side, timely execution and proper targeting aligns corporate with the affiliate to increase marketing’s local impact and keep it compliant. Marketing recommendations help fill the knowledge gap that affiliates have by presenting them with guidance.

3. Automated Workflows

AI can perform routine tasks like checking co-op balances and submitting fund approvals for affiliates. It can create campaigns, customize content for different channels, and opt affiliates into do-it-for-me programs.

By automating mundane tasks, AI-assisted workflows help local businesses streamline their processes and focus on what matters most: making sales.

On the corporate side, freeing up time helps corporate marketers focus on what they do best: strategy and high-level tasks.

Our webinar AI is Revolutionizing Local Marketing: Here’s What You Need to Know looked at AI’s place in corporate marketing and affiliate alignment, and the data shows enormous enthusiasm and opportunity:

  • 82% of marketers feel that AI content is just as good, if not better, than the content humans create.
  • 55% of marketers believe that AI will greatly enhance their marketing efforts.
  • 42% believe if AI can take over the day-to-day marketing tasks, it would leave the high-level strategic planning and decision making to humans.

Ensure Compliance Across the Local Marketing Ecosystem

Another important way AI aligns both sides of the house is by ensuring compliance.

The rules around compliance are already complex. So managing compliance in siloes, with corporate here and affiliates there, only complicates it further.

To tackle compliance, think broadly. Think in terms of ecosystems.

Think about your entire channel marketing ecosystem to align the challenges and goals of both sides of the house.

In an ecosystem, both sides of the house can be treated as a combined network, not a node. Revenue streams come from many directions, not in a linear way, because everything is interconnected. This connection allows you to better solve complex challenges like compliance.

When local affiliates put non-compliant marketing in-market, both sides of the house suffer.

Showing someone drinking beer in an alcohol industry ad in certain states? That’s a big no-no.

Displaying a person sitting on the tire of a large piece of construction equipment in a manufacturer’s ad? Say it ain’t so.

These not only break important rules of regulatory compliance. But they’re bad for business. Noncompliant marketing dilutes brand identity and misses revenue targets. It confuses consumers and causes loss of trust. Worse, it can create costly legal issues.

Thinking in terms of ecosystems increases alignment while clarifying solutions to issues like compliance.

When you start thinking about how local marketing challenges happen on both the affiliate and corporate sides, you can see how both sides of the house actually share many of the same challenges. (And how they can be solved with similar solutions.)

For example, lack of quality content — impacts both sides of the house.

So do assets that are not brand or legal compliant.

Keeping Materials Compliant With AI

So how does this ecosystem play together with AI?

Sure, some point solutions like Jasper and ChatGPT currently exist to generate content, but they’re missing brand and regulatory compliance. And compliance is what BrandMuscle is built on.

Whether AI is generating content or automating workflows, AI-powered local marketing solutions must also ensure that AI-generated assets remain compliant 100% of the time.

People are thrilled to create so much material with so little human input. But quality and quantity are only parts of the puzzle. Compliance is also key.

Artificial intelligence and compliance must go hand in hand for marketing to be successful.

Consider well-known construction equipment manufacturers like Bobcat. In their industry, safety is compliance. When local affiliates or generative AI create an image of a person standing in the way of the machinery in a photo, that’s non-compliant, because safety is central to compliance.

BrandMuscle is training machines to take compliance into account in different industries across various regions, cities, and states.

Plus: our design teams understand compliance, so they provide an additional layer of protection by modifying non-compliant images. This trains our AI-powered solution to recognize compliance issues in assets, and to generate material that follows compliance regulations.

AI Strengthens Alignment and Compliance

As the local marketing landscape keeps evolving, the brands who leverage products in the AI space that address many use cases — corporate and affiliate, local and national — are the brands that will win.

Add AI to Your Local Marketing Strategy

Leveraging AI to align your corporate marketing will help your business drive revenue by making it faster and easier to create content, customize experiences through personalized recommendations, and automate mundane tasks.

Just make sure you keep corporate marketing teams and your local affiliates in mind when rolling out this new technology. It has the power to unite and align your teams like never before.

Get in touch with us to hear about what can do for you.

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