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What are ChatGPT Hallucinations? Here’s How to Leverage Them

Picture of the ChatGPT icon

ChatGPT — Microsoft’s infamous OpenAI chatbot that’s generated global buzz with its advanced human-like conversational capabilities — quickly became the fastest-growing consumer app in history. With its ability to write everything from computer code and articles to poetry and essays, tech experts have touted its infinite capabilities while working to address concerns on things like security, plagiarism and “hallucinations,” the latter of which some experts are now saying can be “a feature, not a bug” of ChatGPT. Find out how marketers can leverage these Chat GPT hallucinations to improve marketing copy, generate customer profiles, and even brainstorm new products.

What are ChatGPT hallucinations?

Hallucinations refer to ChatGPT’s ability to invent or “hallucinate” answers that aren’t really there. The AI-powered platform is trained to make educated guesses based on the data provided, but it doesn’t always get it right, but it presents its answer as truth. It’s as if the platform “hallucinates” the correct response.  

While it’s a downside of AI in marketing, Microsoft’s top experts are already hard at work finding new ways to decrease hallucinations

Putting ChatGPT hallucinations to work

Marketers have found some unique hallucinations that can work to their advantage. Some are a bit odd, but marketers can use them to identify both their brand and their customers better and use those discoveries to improve targeted messaging. 

In addition, the tool may be able to help brands discover what’s missing in their current product lines. 

Need some examples of ways to put ChatGPT hallucinations to work for your brand? Here’s a look at ways to use glitches to your advantage:

Identifying your brand

Does your company’s vision of its brand match that of your customers? Ask ChatGPT to create a Dungeons & Dragons character sheet based on your brand. (Yup, you read that right). 

The output— which will determine the brand’s core features, strengths, and weaknesses — may help highlight the perceived key characteristics of your brand. 

If your company sells women’s fine jewelry, you may find that ChatGPT summarizes your brand as “an expensive unisex watch retailer.” Three quick takeaways might include:

  • The public’s perception of “fine” might equate it with “expensive.”
  • The brand’s primary focus isn’t on watches.
  • The company only sells women’s jewelry, but some consumers (or at least buyers) may be men.

Creating a customer profile

Using the example from above, you might realize that you need to rethink your typical customer. Are you missing smaller target audiences, such as men as primary purchasers for their wives or girlfriends? Or perhaps there’s a growing trend of younger men wearing bracelets? Or maybe your company’s price point is too high for the demographic you’re targeting?

The key is to glean insights from ChatGPT’s feedback to discover if your current customer profile — including income, gender, age, spending habits, or lifestyle — is accurate.

Generating new products

When Tim Hwang, author of “Subprime Attention Crisis: Advertising the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet,” spoke at the “BrXnd: Marketing X AI” conference in May 2023, he offered the following ChatGPT prompt as an example for brands looking for ways to gather insights on new product ideas and messaging for consumers of various ages, genders and “hipness”:

“Imagine that you are a ‘Product Ideas Generator’ machine that contains three sliders that go from 0 to 10. One for ‘Age’ (0 being the youngest consumers, 10 being the oldest consumers), another for ‘Gender’ (0 being most male, 10 being most female), and another one for “Hipness” (being the least cool and 10 being the coolest). For a given slider setting, I want you to describe a product that meets these attributes.”

Continuing the example of a brand that sells women’s fine jewelry, ChatGPT’s Product Ideas Generator might lead your team to new product ideas, including:

  • A line of men’s jewelry
  • A more affordable line of women’s jewelry to attract new customers
  • A line of transgender celebration jewelry featuring transgender models or influencers

Revamping messaging

Although creating a new product from your ChatGPT discoveries may not be feasible or profitable, there’s always something to be learned from experimentation with AI-powered technology. At the top of the list may be messaging — how your brand highlights the values of its products and communicates to your customers.

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