New research reveals that Canadians want brands to incorporate privacy, security, and trust priorities in the development of products and services that use artificial intelligence (AI).

These findings are from the second annual Canadian Artificial Intelligence Tracker conducted by Sklar Wilton & Associates, a leading Canadian marketing advisory and research consultancy.

The research showed that Canadians are conflicted about the use of AI with 53% of people expressing both positive and negative emotions. People feel positive about AI in the customer service space, and 59% would feel comfortable with AI providing recommendations on what to purchase. However, Canadians don’t blindly trust brands to respect their privacy and maintain security. More than 43% of people worry about the AI on their phone, and a whopping 78% believe that AI will decrease their privacy.

People understand and want the benefits of artificial intelligence in their personal and work lives but they need marketers to implement those processes in a way that respects their privacy and maintains their security. In fact, 31% of people worry that companies might misuse AI to their own advantage, and 41% believe companies using AI are focused on reducing costs at the expense of people.

“Marketers need to hear these consumer concerns,” said Charlie Wilton FMRIA, Partner at Sklar Wilton & Associates. “AI technologies are becoming more wide spread yet more covert. Marketers who want to build successful brands with longevity will need to earn consumer trust, and build products and services that demonstrate they genuinely care about consumer privacy and security.”

What does this mean for marketers?

  1. Marketers must understand and clarify the role that AI can play in marketing. They need to understand consumer needs, unmet needs, and pain points, as well the company’s brand purpose and mission. Clarity around these areas will guide strategic briefs and subsequent development efforts.
  2. Marketers must understand the audience. Marketers must focus on Early Adopters who are aware of and experimenting with AI tools today. This group will ultimately determine the success or failure of AI initiatives. Brands that earn the trust and advocacy of Early Adopters will create a smooth path for Laggards who will eventually follow.
  3. Marketers must employ the AI Triple Win framework of Utility, Privacy and Security, and Trust. Each of these three pillars is a key ingredient for success that cannot be disconnected from the others. The three pillars must be incorporated, by design, on day one, into every AI development.

The full report discusses the implementation of AI technology by brands and marketers in the customer services, customer journey, and retail space in terms of this new Triple Win Framework for AI Success.


The Canadian Artificial Intelligence Tracker was conducted by Sklar Wilton & Associates among Canadians 18+ with data collected in August, 2018. Participants were selected from among an access panel of people who have agreed to participate in online surveys. The data were weighted to reflect the demographic composition of adult Canadians. Estimates of sampling error cannot be calculated. All sample surveys are subject to error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, and measurement error.