AI was quite the topic in 2023, rushing through all creative industries like wildfire – causing strikes, fear, legal deliberations, lots of Webinars, and even a few business-model shifts. 

Yes, we’ve all used AI professionally and personally for a long time, and it’s not going away. In fact, Siri and I exchanged holiday cards this year we’re so close. But at Guru, we have been consciously grappling with the how, why, when, and when-not, of expanding AI tools. 

Truth is, people in our world – and certainly our company – have spent their professional lives developing their strategic and creative chops. We’ve worked hard to develop the experience, wisdom, and processes that best harness the genius that makes us valuable to our clients. Let’s face it, nobody likes the idea that a subscription service can come in and do what we do. 

Despite that very human reaction, as folks hungry to continuously improve we’re focusing on how we can use the tools to get even more clever, creative, and efficient.


Here’s how we are both embracing and limiting the use of AI in our company:
  • We believe in the power of the human brain. And body, spirit, intuition… Mostly, the genius that springs from ourselves. Paired with the right processes, stimuli, and collaboration, our ability to be creative and insightful is limitless. 
  • We employ humans. As a conscious business ourselves, in part we exist to provide meaningful, satisfying, employment to our crew. We are not luddites, but our conscious business model relies on our crew and we won’t be replacing our people with AI. 
  • Celebrating the “Crazy Third.” That being said, we are welcoming AI in. We always work in teams. An art director and a copywriter. Two strategists. You get the idea. We’ve added what we affectionately call our “Crazy Third.” During our brainstorm sessions, exploration of concepts, tone or art direction – anytime we are asking the question “what if?” – we call on our Crazy Third with far reaching prompts to make sure we are playing with territories that might not otherwise pop up. 
  • We love a playground. Speaking of play, an important part of our creative process is incorporating various forms of play… always with a purpose. If you don’t play in your creative process you won’t get out of the ruts of routine thinking. (Note to self to write a bit more about this at another time…) Suffice to say for now that AI has been added to the way we get playful when we’re exploring ideas. 
  • Putting a picture to a concept. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. When we are explaining a big idea to a client, we can get an expansive idea across quickly and emotively with an image. Using AI to help create that image can help us do so efficiently, rather than spending hours of design time that is better used for the final product.
  • Play is not publishing. In the above ways, AI is being used as a tool to inspire our human-born creativity. Concurrently we have a company policy that states nothing that came directly from AI will be published for our clients. Our job is to provide distinct and differentiating work for our clients. If AI can dig up a line or image from somewhere in the archives, so can any other agency or brand. And that doesn’t even take into consideration copywriting law that is being debated as I write. Our policy is to proactively steer clear of any future infringements on behalf of our clients. 
  • Real-time optimization. A beautiful use of AI is optimizing our media assets to personalize, target, and optimize efficiently. This optimization uses agency-finessed final materials, and must satisfy the meticulous eye for quality that Emilee (our creative director) requires. 


We are committed to being a learning organization, and so we will continue to experiment and revise how we use all tools, including AI. This is where we are as we jump excitedly into 2024. Let us know what you think, and how you are thinking about AI in your business. 

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