FEATURE25 February 2019

How business can harness AI

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Unilever’s Stan Sthanunathan has co-authored a new book exploring how marketers can embrace artificial intelligence. He talks to Jane Bainbridge about using these tools to reach customers more effectively.

To most people, AI stands for artificial intelligence. But for Unilever’s executive vice-president, consumer and markets insight (CMI) Stan Sthanunathan, the better descriptor – and the one used internally at the FMCG giant – is augmented intelligence. “That means using artificial intelligence to enhance human intelligence, ” he explains.

This subject is currently front of mind for Sthanunathan as his latest book – AI for Marketing and Product Innovation, written with Dr A K Pradeep and Andrew Appels – is published. He sees AI as an essential part of any marketer’s toolkit. “The amount of data flowing through is increasing exponentially and it’s impossible for anyone to mine it all – so using AI is inevitable, or you’re at risk of getting left behind, ” he says.

Like all businesses, Unilever has had to make important decisions about how to incorporate AI into its frameworks – the first being how many methods to adopt.

Machine learning

“We concluded there’s no ...