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    Driving PDP Performance Through Authenticity at Scale, with Tom Logan, Co-founder & CEO at Cohley

    The data is clear - in the age of authenticity, user generated content is a critical component in driving higher conversion rates, satisfaction, and loyalty on product pages and social media channels. Executing it at scale can be the challenge. That’s why we invited Tom Logan, Co-founder & CEO at content generation and testing platform provider Cohley to join the podcast and share some best practices around testing, scaling, and maximizing the sales impact of your user generated content strategy. 


    Our transcripts are generated by AI. Please excuse any typos and if you have any specific questions please email info@digitalshelfinstitute.org.

    Welcome to Unpacking the Digital Shelf, where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age.


    Hey everyone, Peter Crosby here from the Digital Shelf Institute.


    The data is clear.


    In this age of authenticity, user-generated content is a critical component in driving higher conversion rates, satisfaction and loyalty on product pages and social media channels.


    Executing it at scale can be the challenge.


    That's why Lauren Livak Gilbert and I invited Tom Logan, co-founder and CEO at Content Generation and Testing Platform Provider, Cohley, to join the podcast and share some best practices around testing, scaling and maximizing the sales impact of your user-generated content strategy.


    So Tom, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.


    We're looking forward to creating some user-generated content with you today.


    I see what you did there, Peter.


    I love that.


    It's only going to get more clever from here, so.


    I love it.


    I love it.


    Keep it coming.


    We recently heard from one of our regular podcast guests, Andrea Lay from Elume Group, that in the high-value brand initiatives for 2024, driving authenticity into consumer experiences is top of the list.


    And then we connect that with your realm of expertise, user-generated content, and it seems to fit in really well with that theme because you can't fake authenticity.


    So going to your users, the consumers, who has a real feel of the experience of the product and what it means to them.


    And your company, Cohley, works with firms to build user-generated content on social channels and PDFs, PDPs, etc.


    So what shifts?


    You know, as brands are thinking about this for 2024, first, is that the drive for authenticity resonate with you?


    Is that what you're hearing?


    What's sort of driving it?


    And then how are they sort of getting to work on this initiative?


    Authentic is the Merriam-Webster year of the word for 2023.


    So it's certainly very top of mind for a lot of brands and individuals.


    No, I swear.


    I didn't even have a say in the matter.




    So I think we're at a point right now where consumers have a lot of choice.


    There's a lot of brands that gained a lot of momentum through COVID.


    There's a lot of places to buy, right?


    Like TikTok shops has emerged.


    Amazon's doing more with social commerce as well.


    We'll talk about that later.


    Target, Walmart continue to buy for more digital market share as well.


    So it's crowded.


    And in order to stand out, in order to win customers' consistent business, you need to create connection with them.


    And really, the way that we think about content is basically like tires for a car.


    It's the only connective tissue between the brand and the consumer.


    And you can't really picture one of your favorite brands without thinking of the content that they create and the content that you consume.


    So basically what we help them do is leverage trusted third-party voices, oftentimes just regular consumers.


    They could be creators, but it kind of just depends on what we're going for.


    It depends on where the content is going to be living and where it's going to be tested.


    But let's get real people to talk about products, the way that they use the products, the way that it helps them live more convenient lives, the way they've been able to use those products for their kids, the service that they've been able to use to save money in an app.


    It doesn't matter.


    The whole point is that they need to be constantly putting out a fire hose of content that's going to create connection with consumers.


    And a lot of ways to think about that, right?


    At first touch, first introduction, a lot of brands are very focused on telling a story of, hey, what does this brand stand for?


    Maybe what does our founder stand for?


    Why did this product or series of products need to be created in the first place?


    And then, of course, you move through this consumer journey, which is certainly not as linear and boxed up as it used to be with just your classic awareness, consideration, and actual purchase.


    It meanders.


    So you think about every touch point that goes on there, whether it be online or offline, and you need to be thinking about the content that you're putting forth to, again, usher them through that journey, give them the confidence and trust and education that they need to feel confident in making a purchase.


    So we can talk about where those actually take place, but authenticity is certainly critical, and we're talking about millennials and Gen Z in particular.


    The BS meter is really, really sharp, and you can't fake authenticity, not even with AI.


    And we'll talk about that later, too, of course, because it's a podcast in the world.


    So one of the words you mentioned was a fire hose of content.


    So if our listeners are thinking about a program to be able to start doing this at scale, what is the scale that you need to be able to be successful at it?


    Because is it all the authenticity you can afford, like as much user-generated content as you can get?


    Or how do you think about what a program of scale might look like to impact your business?


    It depends a lot on the number of channels that the brand is actually targeting, for acquisition, and the audiences that they're going after.


    For example, if we're working with a brand on TikTok, trying to establish TikTok as a viable acquisition channel, and they've never done anything with TikTok before, then they're starting with a blank slate, because TikTok demands a very different type of content than Meta, than really any other social channel.


    And you got to join the party with the right outfit on, or you're just going to get run right out of there.


    So starting with creator-driven content that's needed to the channel, that incorporates a brand in an organic, authentic way, that's really critical.


    So different companies and different agencies have different volumes of assets that they like to test on a regular basis, different ad variations they like to run.


    There's a lot of hook testing that goes on with ad spend as well.


    It kind of just depends.


    We very much do advocate for a let the data be the loudest voice in the room type of policy.


    Whereas back in the day, you had in the Mad Men era, this one sort of genius marketer in a smoky room coming up with this great concept for how to sell hula hoops.


    Not really the case anymore, right?


    You need to introduce a variety of different creative concepts, put them out in the world and start to understand what's working.


    So you can do things like consumer insights or understand what's worked well in past product launches that the brand may have done, but you still need to constantly be testing and constantly be learning.


    It's a never-ending feedback loop.


    And Tom, speaking of numbers, I know you've seen a huge uptick with using user-generated content for brands' overall strategies.


    How do you see it improving search and discoverability?


    What are some of the numbers that you've seen in terms of either conversion or Lyft?


    We'd love to hear that.


    Yeah, so one thing that's obviously very near and dear to your hearts is retail optimization.


    So, Lauren, we talked about this a number of times, but the way that we're very aligned in this, the way that we think about the way that brands should be viewing product pages, whether it be on their own.com, on walmart.com, target.com, wherever, is think about it as like a living, breathing organism.


    So the old way of launching a new product would be slap a few photos on there, make sure that you have a sufficient number of reviews, and then just kind of forget about it.


    The new way of managing this is to constantly be monitoring the health of the content on those product pages.


    So content quality scorecards have become very prevalent.


    Obviously, the folks over at Walmart and Target in particular are constantly putting pressure on their vendors to do more, to be making sure that these pages are primed for conversion.


    And ultimately, that they have the content on these product pages, again, to help consumers make informed, quick buying decisions.


    And things like review health, and we look very closely at the product review generations.


    Massive for us, we see data from Bizarre Voice saying that if you don't have 50 reviews on a product page, you're hurting your conversion rates by 30% plus.


    That's pretty substantial, especially when you think about a new product launch and the fact that 95% of all product launches fail.


    You better, as a marketer, you better be doing everything in your power to make sure that that launch is successful.


    So having great product reviews right there on the page at launch, really, really critical.


    Same thing with short form video as well.


    So we very much believe that the future of reviews is moving towards video, interactive video, and that video is not necessarily your super put together influencer that's making a video that's super well chopped up, edited, you know, clever little voiceovers and rights approved music.


    It could just be like a normal person who doesn't create much content, certainly doesn't do it professionally, just kind of with the phone propped up, just talking about the new diapers that they bought, or the, you know, new whatever.


    Insert any product here.


    Just speaking about it in a way that's like informed, that's thoughtful.


    Feel free to mention negatives about the product, or things that you are concerned about going into the buying process.


    And again, all of that is to help site visitors make more informed, more confident decisions.


    In a sea of information and not necessarily knowing what to trust.


    Generally, people are going to trust other people, real consumers, a heck of a lot more.


    So 81% of all consumers now actively seek out user-generated content in some way, shape or form.


    And the, you know, Lyft metrics, when they actually do engage with user-generated content through the roof, it's like 108%.


    So really substantial there.


    And, you know, you mentioned, you mentioned rank, search rank.


    We have found a correlation between swapping out or swapping in new creative onto product pages on a consistent basis.


    Again, treating these product pages as living, breathing organisms that need to constantly be updated.


    We were just talking internally this morning about the importance of review recency.


    That is just as important to consumers as quantity of reviews or star rating.


    If you go on a product page, doesn't matter.


    If you haven't seen, if there are no reviews left within the last three months, what do you think as a consumer?


    Do you think this product is flying off the shelves and super popular and everyone loves it?


    No, you think, like, this is a dinosaur.


    No one's buying this anymore.


    This is last year's model.


    So when we think about review health, again, it's like an ongoing dynamic effort to continue to monitor this control panel, making sure that all the lights are flashing green and are fully optimized.


    And if you don't have that perspective of your product pages, then you're probably going to lose ground to brands that are doing a better job of monitoring the health of their product pages in real time from a conference standpoint.


    I love the last time we spoke, you talked about the power of the one-star review in all of this journey.


    Just tell me about that, because I thought that was awesome.


    Yeah, so what the data shows is that when people actively seek out and engage with one-star reviews, interact with one-star reviews, they're actually more likely to purchase by a substantial number, about 115%.


    And what we talked about there is a lot of times what people see in the one-star review actually gives them confidence.


    It'll be a shipping issue.


    It'll be, oh, this, I have oily skin, and this serum may be break out.


    It's like, okay, well, I don't have oily skin.


    I don't need to worry about that.


    So once you've kind of become comfortable with people's biggest critiques or biggest complaints, then all of a sudden you're like, okay, great.


    I actually feel more confident here.


    So generally speaking, we also see products convert at a higher level that have star ratings.


    You don't want to be too low.


    You certainly don't want to be below a 4.2 because then people have product efficacy questions or concerns.


    But when someone sees a product that has nothing but five star reviews and there's 10,000 reviews, do you really believe that?


    There wasn't one person that thought maybe it was just three out of five.


    I'm not sure I really believe you, right?


    So is that authentic?


    Comes back to the question of authenticity.


    So embrace the reviews that might be mid-tier and hey, you as a brand also have an opportunity to learn a lot from consumer feedback as well.


    Reviews have gone on a journey.


    It used to be like, oh, everybody has a five-star review, and now consumers are smarter.


    And to your point, if it has all five stars, they're like, nope, I'm not buying it.


    So I love to see that progression because people now understand how it works, what to look for, how to read through the reviews, and they're using that to make informed decisions.


    That's exactly right.


    Yes, and one thing we've actually been encouraging our clients to do, many of them have taken us up on this, is to take their reviews on a product page and run them through ChatGBT or a BARD, ask BARD or ChatGBT to spot the biggest complaints.


    So trend spot, basically.


    What are the biggest complaints that people have about this product?


    What do people consider to be a hurdle before making a purchase?


    So once you actually gather those and distill those using a large language model, then you can actually ask these models for adhook ideas or ways to actually embrace these things and turn them into positives.


    One really popular example is people in the reviews, even if they bought it, they said, wow, this T-shirt is expensive.


    So what that brand then did, started using that as their entry line or their hook in a lot of their ads.


    They'd say, our products are expensive.


    Here's why.


    And then they take you on a journey through how they procure the materials, how they're the finest linens on the planet, whatever it might be.


    But instead of trying to hide from those consumer concerns or potential negative feedback, it's like, okay, we're actually gonna flip this into a positive.


    We're gonna embrace it.


    We're not gonna hide from it.


    Also very, very offensive.


    Taking those insights and plugging them into R&D and creating new products or changing products, it's the full circle.


    That is exactly right.


    That's exactly right.


    And you know what?


    We have had plenty of clients get mad at us for generating negative reviews, and to which we would politely say, maybe you should go back to the drawing board.


    Maybe it's a sign.


    Shoot the messenger.




    Is that client bought into providing the best possible consumer experience, consumer products, and being authentic about those things?


    Maybe not.


    If you want a bunch of five-star reviews, call your grandma and grandpa, your aunts and uncles, and ask them to leave a review, because we're out of the business of cooking up fake reviews that aren't going to create that trustworthy connection that really drives sales.


    So, Tom, you've talked about all the different retailers and how they're starting to focus on UGC.


    I know dark.tiktok, Amazon Inspire, which is relatively new.


    Can you talk a little bit about that, how brands are using it, and maybe if TikTok and Amazon are the number one places that they're looking at, where are they focusing their energy right now from a UGC?


    Well, it's just a fascinating battle that's brewing between these two heavyweight fighters, and they're coming at it from completely different angles.


    TikTok is trying to convince their users that this is a place to not only discover products, but to actually shop.


    And in order to do that, though, they need to make sure that consumers are getting a great buying experience, and that they're getting authentic product in a timely manner, which hasn't always been the case early on.


    They're scrambling like crazy to make sure that they can establish some sort of logistics foundation that could help them actually fulfill.


    On the other side, you have Amazon, which has typically been a point and click, I need a new soap for the kitchen.


    I'm going to go here and just convert, and then I'm going to go on with my day.


    Now, what Amazon is trying to do is say, hey, why don't you stay a while?


    Come interact with this user-generated video that you see on the category pages.


    Or hop into the Inspire component of the Amazon app and discover new products.


    See influencers or creators or normal people talking about products within the realm that you've been, the category that you've been searching for products or interacted with in the past, and maybe you'll discover something new.


    So, fascinating battle there.


    User engagement, advantage TikTok, logistics, fulfillment, massive advantage Amazon.


    So what social commerce becomes here in the next few years is going to be fascinating.


    It's about $65 billion of aggregate market size right now, projected by the end of 2025 to be at $100 plus.


    So there's a reason that Amazon and TikTok are investing significant resources into social commerce in general, trying to make sure that they can make that work.


    Yeah, Tom, what do you think of the Amazon Inspire approach, which is sort of, that's a consumer who probably came in to do something, as you said, transactional.


    And then kind of has to have the thought, you know, I'm going to go over here and get inspired.


    I don't mean to be too pejorative about it, but it is a little bit kind of this vestigial organ a little bit over on the side, which I guess is Amazon's way of testing something.


    But it doesn't have the same organic feel of a social media platform.


    I don't know.


    I'd love your thoughts on that.


    I think they're trying to crawl, walk, run there, to be honest.


    They are starting to feed, inspire content and user-generated content into different components of the in-app experience.


    So one thing that we've been working with them pretty closely on is Amazon Post.


    Now that Amazon Post is supporting video, which they hadn't for a while, it was all just still imagery.


    The way that brands can leverage Post is, they can put video on there.


    That then feeds into Inspire, and once you start on Post, they're not only feeding that content into Inspire, they're feeding it into search results, they're feeding it into category level, and oftentimes they'll actually serve competitors' videos on competitive skews.


    So they are certainly walking before they run, but I will say they're also doing that thing where they're rewarding early adopters like crazy.


    So if you are consistent with Amazon Post right now, and you make a concerted effort as a brand to get up and running on Inspire and have a presence there, they are very much rewarding folks with real visibility that is totally free.


    So will that last forever?


    Like the time-based feed of Facebook, no, right?


    Everything is pay to play, but as of now, that's just one of those layups that brands can take advantage of.


    So do you have any...


    Help bring it to life for our listeners what this journey is and what a leading brand from your perspective has done with this opportunity?


    Yeah, one that certainly is worth highlighting is Nature's Way, the vitamins company that we've worked with for quite some time.


    They have just really embraced everything that's on the bleeding edge of Amazon.


    So early on, before we were doing anything with Posts or Inspire wasn't even a thing yet, they were constantly swapping in new imagery, source from Cohley, and new short-form video onto their product pages.


    And they were constantly testing to see if there was any sort of change in lift and conversion rate.


    What they'd been doing previously was very much sort of the legacy of Amazon, which was product, white background, like maybe some nutritional facts, that was it.


    What they started doing with us, more aspirational type content, to supplement the more utilitarian type content that they started and everyone else started with.


    And they started to see a bump there, about a 20% increase in conversions across Amazon.


    So because of that, keep on pushing.


    Yeah, I was just wondering, before you sort of go on to the next phase that you did with them, what does aspirational content mean, and how are users generating that for them?


    Or was that...


    Yeah, I just want to be clear on what that means.


    Yeah, so all it means is that the content that they were putting up on each product page was in some way more like a lifestyle type of image or a lifestyle video, meaning it's a creator incorporating this vitamin into their morning routine before they drop their kids off at school.


    Or it's the bottle of vitamins living in a really cool background or someone's highly decorated apartment where it's like, man, if I make it big someday, I'd love to live in that apartment and that place looks awesome.


    And then you start to make some mental associations with a nature's way, aspirational, awesome apartment or whatever it is.


    So it was more so just starting to add brand, starting to add storytelling where that had typically not been a thing on Amazon.


    Because again, it was point shoot.


    I have this need, I want this product, it's cheap, cool, bye.


    And what is your platform doing to help make all this happen?


    What are sort of the steps that's happening there?


    Software platform connecting brands and the agencies representing those brands with large swaths of content creators, regular people who are a part of the community who want to review products, professional photographers, influencers, so all of these different pockets of folks who have first-party profiles that they curate on the Cohley platform.


    And the way that it works is a brand says, hey, I'm going to post this creative brief or put this creative brief together.


    Here's what I'm looking for from a content perspective, here's what I'm really looking to highlight, here's some samples of what I'd like to create, here's what I don't want to create, here's competition, here's timeline, here's legalities, all this good stuff.


    And then basically the platform facilitates that.


    So get the product into consumer's hands, about a month later, those fresh assets are submitted for approval.


    Brand takes full ownership and perpetuity of those assets and has full, like, irrevocable rights to use those assets wherever they'd like, use them in ads, use them on target.com, whatever they want to do, social media.


    And then from there, you know, one of the platform obviously has a variety of different integrations that make it very easy to take that content and activate it.


    So Bizarre Voice integration, Power Reviews, Yahoo!


    is a big one.


    TikTok, Amazon, anywhere that the content really has, like, real utility and application.


    And then, you know, we're pulling back performance data where relevant back into the platform so that our users, our clients, can get smarter about the content that they generate and the content that they will look to test.


    And for brands, it's hard to find influencers or the right people to talk to.


    So that's one of the things that really stands out for me because you could engage with an influencer who might not actually go and do what you need to do or might not be the right audience or you might not need, like, a influencer with a million followers they can have.


    They can be like a micro influencer.


    So I think it's helpful for brands, especially who might just be, like, starting to think about influencer UDC content in connecting them with people that can actually really make an impact for them.




    So, I mean, our background, when I say our, it's talking about my co-founder Eric and I.


    Our background is in user-generated content, like, before it was really a thing.


    So we were helping brands find primarily photos that ordinary people were posting on their behalf, helping them identify those, get rights to them, and then put those assets to work primarily on product pages.


    And they were, I mean, this was 2014, 2015.


    These camera phones were not what they are today, and these certainly were not content creators.


    So we had offshore moderation, 98% of the content was unusable, but we kept on going back to the metrics and saying, like, there is something happening here.


    Like, these assets from normal people, which certainly aren't the prettiest thing all the time, they're creating connection.


    They're giving consumers confidence right at the point of purchase.


    So basically, what we saw with the rise of influencer marketing is this, like, really table stake strategy, or at least it was becoming one.


    What we saw their value in was really high quality, predictable on-time content that didn't have gray areas around legalities.


    So that was always the goal here, and then we basically just made the bet that user-generated content would become more important for brands in the coming years, that smartphone camera quality would become more important, and that authenticity, as we've continued to talk about, would continue to move towards the forefront of the consumer's mind.


    So yeah, Fortunate, that great team that's helped execute hasn't been a linear path for us, but certainly a fun journey, and it's a lot of fun to work with some of the world's top consumer brands on these strategies to connect with consumers and sell more.


    So, Tom, we took a really useful detour off of the Nature's Way path.


    I tend to do that.


    No, no, that was my fault.


    That was my fault.


    Lauren piled on, next thing you know.




    No, just to bring the experience of your customers to life.


    But then when you think about, so Nature's Way had reached this aspirational phase of stuff and had seen good results from that.


    So where did they go from here that you, that puts them kind of in the leadership quadrant for you?


    Yeah, continue to be on the bleeding edge of investing in content for retail.


    So for them, that's been, you know, being really early adopters of Amazon Post and then starting to invest and inspire a little bit later on.


    So it's partially them making a bet that Amazon is going to continue to give brands, you know, more of a voice, that it's going to be more of a discovery platform and cart size expansion opportunities will be, you know, more abundant than they have been.


    And, you know, they're certainly not putting all their eggs in that basket.


    They're heavily invested in a variety of different channels, which is really a big reason why clients need us right now is because they have so many different channels that require so many different types of assets and consistent firehose of assets that we're talking about.


    Traditional means of generating content really are not sufficient for keeping up with today's content demands.


    Like literally someone at General Mills told me recently that they use more content in a day than they 20 years ago used in an entire year.


    Just to put it in perspective.


    Welcome to the digital age.


    Welcome to the digital age, exactly.


    Yeah, and optimizing the digital shelf and making sure to constantly monitor the health of these product pages and again, give consumers the information that they need to make confident purchases is really what it all comes down to.


    I think sometimes we can even internally lose the...


    can't really see the forest or the trees or like, oh, on-site conversion rates, what content's working, but we sometimes forget like, why is this working?


    It's because it's building trust and connection and helping the consumer get the information they need to follow through.


    And they have too many options.


    If you don't give them that experience and you just take the stuff for granted, just decide that you're, hey, you're a big legacy brand, people know us, we're good, you're going to fall behind.


    And even legacy brands now are realizing that and looking for solutions to get to the forefront of this movement.


    I think the element of personalization too is something that is coming into play.


    When we talk about authenticity, the consumer also wants to be in the seat of someone who will be purchasing the brand.


    They want to understand, how does it affect me?


    Why is it important to me?


    Is it a suggestion based on another product I purchased?


    So I feel like we're moving towards that as well, which requires even more content on top of those layers of content, where you also be helpful because you're relating to the person that's purchasing.




    I mean, think about a Walmart, right?


    Just a few years ago, we were thinking of that marketers were still thinking that investing in e-commerce would hurt them because it would draw sales away from their in-store purchases.


    I remember that.


    Now, I mean, it's crazy, that was just a few years ago, but now we're realizing that e-commerce is just commerce.


    And I just heard the CMO of Lowe's say that 70% of their in-store purchases originate from research standpoint and discovery standpoint online.


    You want to talk about digital influence, e-commerce is just commerce.


    Everything is interconnected.


    I mean, I think the stats, 78% of consumers in-store would much prefer to interact with their phone rather than a store clerk.


    They're in-store reading reviews on lowes.com, on target.com.


    So this stuff is so interconnected, it's ridiculous.


    So we have come a long way from thinking like, oh, we can't invest in online, it's cannibalizing our store sales.


    And you've been fighting this good fight for a while.


    As the introvert of these two co-hosts, I have to say, I would be more than happy to never interact with a human.


    I feel the same way.


    I don't go to the store if there's no one in there.


    I'm not going in that store.




    Don't talk to me.


    Well, Tom, speaking of interconnectivity, so you're working with all these brands who are going through the process of creating the UGC content.


    How are they working internally to execute?


    Do you usually work with the e-commerce team?


    Are you working with the marketing team?


    Is shopper marketing involved?


    Can you talk a little bit about who are the people you're interacting with to really kind of get this off the ground?


    Yeah, so you learn a lot about how organizations function or dysfunction doing this within the enterprise.


    And we're probably not going to be the ones to perfectly break down every silo that exists within these organizations, but we try to build tools that make collaboration, layers of approval, sharing rights, all that type of stuff, as simple as possible.


    But in terms of the general flow, I mean, certainly work with a variety of dams.


    We have kind of a light dam within Cohley that organizes assets, but certainly there are plenty of clients who work with dams, and of course, Salsify is a very popular pen that they'll work with, and it's been hugely valuable for a number of clients.


    So yeah, I wish there was a little bit more like a uniform way that these companies organize content, and which exact team we work with.


    But yeah, to answer your question, shopper marketing, performance slash paid folks, sometimes it's organic social, brand teams, and yeah, of course, e-commerce as an overall category as well.


    So it's not always just one person.


    Sometimes it's like digital transformation folks or internal champions that will take this and think more holistically about ways to apply it.


    And certain companies have done a better job of establishing those internal institutes or thought leadership type folks than others.


    But yeah, we try to fit in where we can and then make sure that we're delivering value.


    And Tom, to close out, we mentioned AI earlier because you have to.




    But what is sort of seriously around it, you were talking earlier about the performance improvements that this can drive and therefore in a perfect world, your clients would have UGC on, if possible, every product page that they have to just drive better and better performance.


    When we think about kind of the shift in what we talk about often is product experience management as a practice, the sort of in this next decade of the digital shelf, it really now has the possibility of the goal of PXM to be to optimize every single digital touch point for a converse.


    That's the dream, right?


    The dream, absolutely.


    The only way that that happens is with AI, because you can't do it with people.


    And so I was wondering if, since this is in some ways a subset, I'm not forcing you into my product category or anything, but it plays a role in it.


    And so I was wondering, when you think about the potential impact of AI, maybe present and future, do you think that it's about scale?


    And if so, because AI doesn't, well, I guess it can pretend it's authentic, but we kind of know it's not.


    And so, well, I don't know, I just love your sort of prognostication of what it is.


    Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally.


    So on generative AI specifically, that's been a question that comes up a lot.


    Like, is this going to make all content moot and just turn everything into, you know, Dolly?


    Is that going to be the source of content?


    My answer is no, that's brand-created content.


    So back to the authenticity question, like, that is, you have to feed gen.ai the script, you know, mock creator, whatever it might be.


    And that's brand language, that's not real person.


    So like what we were talking about with the voice of the shopper, that actually tends to perform better there is real people, not creators.


    So, you know, the gen.ai influencers and all that stuff, I think that will continue to be a really exciting space, but I don't think that it will replace the authentic voice of the consumer by any stretch.


    We're thinking about AI internally is, well, one, it allows us to analyze really large data sets and distill learnings in a really simplified manner.


    So we're doing consumer insights studies as well.


    Brought in an industry veteran to help us establish that.


    We have lots of performance data coming back into the platform.


    So if we can use AI to help find trends or help brands put out content that's within a general scope and gives them a starting point, that's really valuable.


    We also have chat GPT built into the platform so that we can help them write creative briefs significantly more effectively.


    Kind of looked at like, all right, well, what are the bottlenecks within the platform?


    Where do clients just like, what do they hate doing?


    And how can we use AI to like progress them on that front?


    And then the last thing I'd say that I'm excited about is the ability to use...


    So one of the biggest issues with AI now is like, what's being used to train the model, right?


    Big old lawsuit with the New York Times and OpenAI right now, because OpenAI used the New York Times without...


    Yeah, their articles train the model on it without getting that permission.


    I think brands are going to be pretty concerned about the legalities of the AI content that they're incorporating for a while.


    What we think we can do is we can take all of their rights approved assets, whether they're created by their agency, photoshoot or generated, UGC generated on Cohley, and we can use AI to start mashing those together into different ad testing formats with different hooks, different types of variables that they could isolate and test so that it extends the long tail of their content, but also doesn't give their legal team a heart attack.


    So yeah, what we try to promote internally is just like AI curiosity.


    It's changed so much.


    It changes every day.


    So yeah, I couldn't give you a perfect prediction for it, but I do think it's going to continue to shake things up, that's for sure.


    Well, if you can cause fewer lawyers to have heart attacks, then that's an amazing accomplishment.


    Right, because then they push that stress off on you.


    Well, Tom, I mean, I think where we started at the top, the power of authenticity is, and in the stats that you've been rattling off throughout, is clear.


    There's no question about it.


    So then it becomes, how do we execute it at scale?


    And to Lauren's point, in a more and more personalized, targeted way to just keep driving incremental revenue through authenticity, that's an exciting thing to have on the plate.


    And so we really appreciate you coming here and sharing your expertise with our audience.


    It's really valuable.


    Oh, it's totally my pleasure.


    I'm so glad.


    Thank you for doing that.


    So Tom, if anyone wants to get in touch with you about figuring some of this out, where's the best way to go to get you?


    You can contact me either on LinkedIn, slash TD Logan, my email, tom at cole.com, C-O-H-L-E-Y, or check out cole.com, send us a consultation request, and we'll get back to you.


    Handing out his email.


    Now that is authenticity.


    And Lauren's cell phone is.


    Thanks for coming on, Tom.


    I can make something of that.


    Really appreciate you both.


    This was a lot of fun.


    Thanks again to Tom for being so damn authentic.


    For more authenticity, make sure you register for the Digital Shelf Summit in April in Nashville by going to digitalshelfsummit.com.


    You'll be glad you did.


    Thanks for being part of our community.