At New York’s AI Summit last year, attendees could interact with friendly home assistants like the temi robot. Other booths featured VR headsets and AI-powered mechanical demonstrations. What caught our attention back in December was an unveiling that turned the summit temporarily into a car show. The appearance of the new Envision Virgin Formula E electric powered racecar proved to be an attention-getter, but the flash was also backed up by a lot of technology under the hood. As the season has unfolded since then, Envision Virgin Racing currently holds one of the highest positions in the standings. This competitive advantage was achieved through AI provided by team partner Genpact.
For Genpact CMO Stacy Simpson, the racetrack proved to be a great testing ground for her company’s capabilities, as well as a source of compelling visual content and competition. Not only does the dramatic narrative build over the course of the Formula E season, but the international circuit provides many stops for Genpact to meet with clients and find new audiences. The impact of AI touches these diverse industries in different ways, a story being told perhaps most visibly by Microsoft’s global TV campaign, even to the point where beer drinkers savor the opportunity to taste its effects in Carlsberg beer.
In the case of Genpact, although they aren’t producing mass media commercials, they’ve found a successful vehicle to showcase their intelligence.
“Work in artificial intelligence and advanced technologies can often seem abstract. The ability to showcase its potential through sports allows us to make AI tangible for our clients in a visual and engaging manner that appeals to business leaders across industries,” Simpson explained. “One of the things we love about working with the Formula E racing team, Envision Virgin Racing, is that a Formula E race is a great metaphor for business. It essentially condenses a year-long business cycle – and all the strategies and competitive issues that go with that – into a 45-minute, high-intensity, action-packed race.”
She added, “The digital transformation work we do with Envision Virgin Racing provides real-world examples for current and potential clients on how leveraging AI and analytics to win on the racetrack translates to competitive advantage for business.”
Simpson drew a comparison to banking and financial institutions’ use of predictive data. “Envision Virgin Racing is now processing a wealth of previously unused alternative data points, pulled from GPS and other sources, to gain insights on drivers’ behaviors that impact the choices they make in the race,” she stated. “Similarly, banks are looking for ways to tap into the tremendous amounts of customer data they have on-hand to better predict consumers’ behaviors. Both scenarios clearly demonstrate how the advantages brought out by data can make a huge difference. Our work with Envision Virgin Racing gives us a unique conversation starter in how to demonstrate this.”
Genpact pays close attention to how attitudes toward AI in business continue to evolve. Adoption is still in the early stages, and this influences their decision about how to educate prospects.
“Sports,” Simpson said, “is uniquely powerful because it appeals to audiences often in a deeply personal way. Formula E is particularly exciting because the sport itself represents innovation and pushing boundaries on what is possible.”
According to Simpson, Formula E racing attracts a different kind of racing fan, a group that is younger, on average, and more gender-balanced, than other motorsports. During the 2017-18 season, more than 300 million viewers globally watched at least one Formula E race. And the 12 races throughout the season averaged 27.1 million viewers per race, an increase of almost 10 million more than the previous season. (The current season is the Formula E’s fifth.)
The Envision Virgin Racing partnership also allows Genpact to capitalize with social media and other channels, including marketing campaigns that perform seven times better than standard efforts from the past.
Simpson sees three distinct phases, across Genpact’s clients on their customer journey, as a result of this campaign. First, increased awareness of Genpact; secondly, interest in the company’s credentials and capabilities; and third, gaining a “clear understanding” of what Genpact’s solutions can do for the client.
“Ultimately,” Simpson said, “this partnership has allowed us to present Genpact as a leader in digital transformation in a way that really resonates. Bringing clients to different races around the world has allowed leaders to experience the innovation firsthand and come away with lessons that are most applicable to their particular situations. For example, in Berlin, where we have many supply chain clients, we’re hosting a business event that helps our clients draw parallels on lessons learned from our work with Envision Virgin Racing and their applicability to supply chain transformation.”