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Avon is honing in on its ability to transform women’s lives, with a global campaign asking people to reconsider the 135-year-old beauty business. Its chief brand and beauty officer explain why now is the right time to “blow the dust off.”

When you think of Avon, you most likely conjure up images a of handbag-sized catalogue filled with scented pages and pictures of Senses bubble bath and Skin So Soft spritz. And possibly a neighbour armed with a bag full of miniature lipsticks and nail polishes who would regularly ding the doorbell.

However, over the past 12 months the brand has been looking to carve out its own place in the global $532bn beauty and personal care market, heavily investing in digital tools for its army of direct sellers. It now allows its five million representatives in 50 markets to run a business from their phone, create and share marketing content and personalise recommendations for regular customers.

Since the pandemic kicked off, the beauty brand has seen a 200% uptick to digital transactions. In the first half of this year, the number of Avon reps has also grown twofold as social selling becomes more relevant to people looking to embrace a more remote and flexible way of working.

Avon sells three lipsticks every second, seven bottles of fragrance every second (which it claims is more than any other brand) and two bottles of its Anew skincare products every second.

In a world of Glossiers, Beauty Pies and Drunk Elephants, however, Avon has an image problem. It’s failing to keep up with these ‘cool-girl’ brands and engage a younger generation of women. Even its chief brand and beauty officer, James Thompson, concedes that over the past few years Avon has been “underestimated” from a brand perspective.

As a result, its launching ’Watch Me Now’ a significant global campaign that will run in more than 70 markets globally calling on people to reconsider their views of the company.

The premise behind the push is that Avon has been transforming women’s lives by “doing beauty differently” for 135 years. The ads – which will run across OOH, digital and press – nod at Avon’s heritage as a purpose-driven business that gave women the power to make an independent income in the US before they even had the right to vote.

‘Watch Me Now’ underscores the power of beauty to create opportunities for people to earn on their own terms, and highlight’s Avon’s own support for causes including domestic abuse and breast cancer – with the business fundraising £20m for charities relating to the latter cause and teaming up with Coppafeel to encourage women to check their breasts regularly.

The hero ad celebrates the success of the underdog and highlights the unexpected and underestimated aspects of the Avon brand, its people, activism, and products – for which Avon has been granted more than 750 patents and 300 awards.

For Thompson, it’s less a campaign and more a “fundamental repositioning”.

“There’s a parallel with how Avon as a brand has been underestimated over the past few years,” he says pointing to the fact that the brand has 98% awareness but a “much lower” consideration among customers.

“We need to blow the dust off and reinvent ourselves for another generation.”

‘Watch Me Now’ was created in collaboration with Wunderman Thompson but restrictions from the pandemic mean the work itself was produced in-house. The ads are also being supported by an extensive identity refresh.

Avon’s network of reps will also be central to spreading the message. Influencers in their own right, Thompson says the brand’s sellers are its “first media channel”.

“We’ve equipped them with much better technology,” he explains, pointing to the Avon On app which allows them to do everything from invoice customers to built assets for Facebook or Instagram from their phone.

“In the first months of this campaign we’ll be sending them content on a regular basis that they’ll be encouraged to share with customers. Over time, we’ll be giving them tools and education on how to make their own content too within the framework of this campaign. It’s effectively the world’s most democratic marketing programme ever.”

All that said, the brand isn’t planning to ‘do an Argos’ any time soon and ditch its hallmark physical brochure.

“It’s still a really important part of our business. It’ll be updated to reflect our new positioning and we’ll be improving the quality but we’re an omni-channel business – we have stores in some countries, we’re online elsewhere. We need to be where our customers can find us.”

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Does marketing have the power to change the world? The year 2020 has forced us all to redress the net result of the industrial revolution, which spurred mass consumption and throw-away consumerism. So, can our industry – with the abundance of talent, skill and creativity- champion for a better future for all?

The Drum and Facebook have partnered to bring together teams from brands and agencies across the globe to provide some answers to this very challenging question. The idea is to get together experts from the industry to find solutions to business and societal challenges to help create value for the people and the communities it impacts.

The creative brief

Uniting three markets under the theme of ‘stakeholder capitalism’ – with attention to inclusion and diversity – three separate teams in North America, EMEA and APAC were put together to answer the brief that involves a rethink of how small-to-medium size enterprises (SMEs) that are run by minorities operate, and how as an industry we can help create more resilient businesses especially in these unprecedented times.

Each of the three regions were given three separate briefs – The US (North America) team’s brief is to focus on women run SMEs. So how to overcome systemic social and financial challenges while starting and sustaining female-led businesses? Do they need to approach entrepreneurship differently?

For the London, UK (EMEA) team the theme was immigrant-led small business. Are immigrant-owned businesses the untapped potential? What are the challenges and opportunities of migrant founders and their businesses?

The theme for the APAC team is silver start-ups. A growing number of over-65s are now delaying retirement by starting their own firm, fueling a ‘grey business’ boom. What are their challenges, can we identify the most pertinent ones and solve those problems?

The first meet-up

Each of the teams kicked off their first virtual brainstorm session to find a campaign solution that would positively impact the lives of minority groups operating in the SME market. Each of the teams were also given mentors to help guide through the process.

Following is the list of the three teams:

Team US

  • Tom Spaven, brand director, Bombay Sapphire, North America (mentor)
  • Stephanie Walker, innovation marketing manager, Pepsico
  • Cassie Begalle, strategy and innovation brand Manager – U by Kotex, Kimberly-Clark
  • Iyanni Callender, junior art director, Strawberry Frog
  • Paola Ortega, associate strategy director, DDB Chicago
  • Michael Rodriguez, content strategist, 3 Leches Creative

Team UK

  • Arjoon Bose, marketing head- culture & brand experience (Europe-Australasia), General Mills (mentor)
  • Andre Campbell, partnerships lead, Mercedes-Benz
  • Fatima Diez, head of marketing, MunchFit
  • Shannie Mears, co-founder & talent chief, The Elephant Room
  • Jade Nodinot, former creative associate, BlackBook London
  • Emma Luxton, former senior account executive, Avantgarde London

Team APAC

  • Erica Kerner, SVP, marketing strategy & partnerships, ONE Championship (mentor)
  • Triveni Rajagopal, global digital director, skin cleansing and BPC, Unilever
  • Chandini Malla, senior manager, Diageo
  • Bryan Martin, social media executive, Reprise Digital
  • Adrianne Pan, planner, Havas Singapore

Team US: A fact-finding mission

Gender equality is at risk of being set back decades in the current climate – not just minorities in general, but especially women in it. In the US, the focus is on women-owned SMEs, looking at how female-led businesses can overcome systemic social and financial challenges, as well as addressing the different approaches that this cohort might have to entrepreneurship in order to succeed.

One such challenge was posed by keynote speaker Victoria Monsul Singolda, owner and creative director of Iris & Virgil, who discussed that though it might be true that for women-led businesses, their vulnerabilities as women and as small business owners are compounded, there needs to be a gender-smart approach because not all women-led businesses are the same.

“I never really thought of myself as a female business owner, I’m just a business owner. Maybe because my mother was very dominant in the household, she was a student, she was a business owner, she was a mum, we always saw her, we were always together. Maybe that’s why I never thought that there was something different or special being a girl.”

Headed up by mentor Tom Spaven from Bombay Sapphire, the team immediately honed into “resilience” and “impact” as the insights towards this gender-smart approach.

The team delved into discussions to align on common goals and objectives. The first step was to focus on the challenges in order to find the most creative solution – with three key take-aways that these women are lacking: Knowledge and resources to tap into; a community to help them venture into this new world; and platforms available to really share and have people learn more about.

The team then decided that the initial insight-led approach would begin with a fact-finding mission to assess the situation and the scale of the problem that the campaign needed to solve; followed by the consumer insight to understand the deep motivations and needs of the target to ultimately give the barrier they need to start to push against in order to solve the problem; and finally, culture listening around this topic – all of which would help to get a clear, sharpened brief about the real problem they are trying to solve.

Team EMEA: Move from ‘pivot to evolve’

On the other side of the Atlantic, Team EMEA, led by mentor Arjoon Bose from General Mills, tackled the untapped potential of ethnic minority and immigrant-owned founders, their challenges and opportunities.

“The last few months have been testing and I think we’ve all come up with a ton of learning. But I think we’re at that stage right now where we’re needing to move from pivot to evolve,” said Bose. “A growth mindset is what we’re going to have to need as we come out of this and prepare to get stronger and accelerate.”

After hearing from keynote speakers Sharon Jandu, director, Yorkshire Asian Business Association and director, Northern Asian Power List; and Steph Douglas, founder, Don’t Buy Her Flowers, it was clear that a heavy emphasis on networking, relationships and experiences, along with access to digital technologies, were key in bringing this community together.

“For an SME, they are so busy doing what they do that they don’t have the time or the capacity to think about what they can do – or they don’t have the networks to enable them to get the contacts to get investments or to get ideas. They are constantly running on a treadmill, trying to do and keep what they are doing alive. How can we stop them becoming so absorbed in their business that they can actually distance themselves and look at it from an aerial perspective?” asked Jandu.

The team identified the need to listen and learn directly from migrant-led business owners themselves to understand their experience, their struggles and challenges with direct feedback through focus groups and on-the-ground research. This would allow them to narrow down into one or two sectors that need the drive and support. They identified Facebook’s own small business community as a great place to start to create a questionnaire in order to gain invaluable insights to help shape their strategy.

“The opportunity that digital gives us to connect these immigrant-owned businesses with each other and provide each other with their own experience and their own knowledge can be a very valuable thing that we could leverage if it’s relevant to their challenge,” said Fatima Diez.

Team APAC: Reinventing and re-energising culture

With a growing number of over 65s now delaying retirement and fuelling a ‘grey business’ boom, the focus for Team APAC was on overcoming the challenges faced by the silver start-ups, particularly when it comes to navigating through the coronavirus pandemic.

Mentored by Erica Kerner from ONE Championship, the team was presented with a keynote talk by Jeremy Nguee, founder, Preparazzi Gourmet Catering; Batu Lesung Spice Company; who helped his mother set up Mrs. Kueh, a local sweet treat business. They touched upon some of the unique experiences and challenges of their business that they ran from home.

Hoping to learn from this experience and translate these lessons to help support silver entrepreneurs and home-based businesses through his volunteering role in the Hawkers United Facebook community, Nguee said: “I think this is going to be a very, very big market. There are a lot more home-based businesses coming up because of high unemployment in the market.”

Inspired by the talk, the team decided to focus on Singapore food culture and food service industry run by silver entrepreneurs, that has an international dimension throughout much of its history but continues to retain features firmly rooted in the locality so that the global and local are not always distinct. The team wanted to understand the different segments of businesses and the landscape in which they were working in.

“The complexities of Asia, the complexities of the segment, the types of digital, could become such a beast,” says Kerner. “My instinct is to start with the data. Starting a business now, no matter what your age is a challenge and a lot of small businesses are obviously struggling to survive. We’ve got a lot of things to think about. What aspect of this do we want to try to unbuckle?” asked Kerner. “In Singapore we are losing a lot of that Hawker culture and if we can find a way to re energise it, and bring more people back into it, it’s good for all of Singapore culture.”

The next steps

Over the upcoming weeks, the teams will continue to work on their campaign and then subsequently present the big idea for solving that problem.

The final ideas will be entered in The Drum Social Purpose Awards.

The Drum consulting editor, Sonoo Singh, said: I’m inspired to see the true power of marketing when used to promote issues that are critical to our societies, persuade a change in behaviours, and influence a positive shift in behavior that would benefit our environment. Having been involved with all the teams, I cannot wait to see the final outcome of this very challenging brief.”

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Sourced from The Drum

Sourced from Next Big Idea Club

“Psychological safety doesn’t just make work more pleasant for everyone—it makes teams more successful.”

Mollie West Duffy is an organizational and leadership development expert. She was a lead organizational designer at global innovation firm IDEO, and has written about workplace culture and more for Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Quartz.

She is also the co-author, with Liz Fosslien, of No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work. When No Hard Feelings became an official Next Big Idea Club selection, Mollie stopped by our headquarters to discuss the secrets of trusting, creative, productive teams. We’re proud to share some of her key insights below.

Successful teams depend on psychological safety. Google did a study to figure out what factors contributed to great teams, and the best teams had psychological safety, meaning that members felt they could suggest ideas, admit mistakes, and take risks without being embarrassed by the group. These teams were less likely to leave their jobs, brought in more revenue, and were rated twice as effective by executives.

Adam Grant studied the writers’ room at The Daily Show. He found that psychological safety helped these teams get to burstiness, which is when group members build on one another’s ideas so rapidly that the room feels like it’s bursting with creativity. Teams need a base of psychological safety so that members don’t take the interruptions that often come with rapid-fire idea generation personally.

“The best teams discuss ideas frequently, don’t let one person dominate the conversation, and are sensitive to one another’s feelings.”

To create an open environment of psychological safety, use these four techniques:

  1. Encourage open discussion. Questions like “Does anyone disagree?” do not effectively invite opposing viewpoints. Especially if someone on the team is quiet, ask each team member to write out their thoughts and then have everyone share them out loud. And don’t forget follow-up questions like “Say more about that.”
  2. Suggest a bad ideas brainstorm. Have team members throw out purposefully absurd ideas, or ask them to come up with the worst suggestion they can think of. This exercise takes the pressure off, and allows team members to be silly and adventurous.
  3. Ask clarifying questions, to make it okay for others to do the same. When team members use acronyms or jargon, ask them to explain (and avoid using them yourself ).
  4. Use generative language. If someone has an interesting suggestion, respond with, “Let’s try it!” If you like the gist of someone’s idea, say, “Building on that idea…”

The best teams discuss ideas frequently, don’t let one person dominate the conversation, and are sensitive to one another’s feelings. Remember, psychological safety doesn’t just make work more pleasant for everyone—it makes teams more successful.

Sourced from Next Big Idea Club

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The ‘new normal’ is a phrase that we are all currently being bombarded with from many sources as society starts to adjust to life under lockdown and people consider how life may be different once we come out the other side. As the everyday realities of their customers experience changes (some significant, others more subtle), brands are faced with the question of how, or indeed whether, to adapt their marketing to reflect these changes.

For many brands the idea of showing slick, aspirational advertising content in a time of global crisis is just not an appropriate option. Then of course there’s the more practical question of how new content is actually going to be created when most of us are confined to our own homes. The days of exotic location shoots and ensemble casts for TV ads are, at least temporarily, gone.

In its place we are seeing a seeing a significant rise in the use of user generated content (UGC) in marketing, featuring raw, hand shot footage from staff or customers which is designed to reflect our collective new reality and create an emotional connection with audiences. Examples include the likes of Apple, TSB, Tesco and Co-op, who recently replaced their original Easter campaign to promote the sale of Easter eggs for a new staff-led advert to highlight their support for food redistribution charity, Fareshare.

While many of these campaigns have been positively received, is UGC a form of content that is here to stay? Will it continue to be valued after this crisis has passed, or is it merely a temporary trend?

Here’s what two Mission Agency leads, themselves working with clients to adapt their marketing to the current climate, have to say on the subject:

Kate Cox, chief executive officer at Bray Leino:

”Creative comprising of user-generated content is clearly a practical way of getting around the physical filming restrictions during lockdown. Currently there is also an acceptance for ‘rough and ready’ content (be it commercials, programming, schooling, podcasts, radio shows). Plus, no brand wants to be insensitive creating extravagant production pieces or be seen to be defying official advice around social distancing, so UGC is a perfect workaround.

”Who knows what the future holds, but the chances are it will be a temporary trend. When the new normal comes, we will clearly have all learnt things, picked up new and effective ways of working and living, created new life habits etc, but we will also revert to some ‘old’ behaviours. Human nature and what drives us doesn’t fundamentally change, so it’s likely that marketing will continue to reflect this. The key is, we need great insight, variety in our ideas and our executions, one-size-fits-all is clearly not the way to go – it’s the opposite of standing out and having impact.”

John Quarrey, krow Group chief executive officer:

”UGC has offered a quick fix solution to the current production challenge for brands, but it isn’t, and shouldn’t be, the only solution we find for producing new content in a socially distanced world. Stop-frame, 2D & 3D animation, professional stills, self-shooters, influencers, re-editing of existing content are all production approaches largely unaffected by the lockdown and offer a wide variety of executional styles.

”Just as we shouldn’t be restricted to UGC as a production technique, we also need to avoid making execution the defining factor at the start of the communication process. Rigorous insight that delivers stand-out creative work will always have the greatest potential to transform business performance.

”As for whether brands should reflect the new normal in their ads, there is no easy answer. For most brands, using ‘slice of life’ vignettes to reflect the lives of its audiences seems an obvious and logical way to establish an empathetic connection. But beware the ’brandwagon’ – brands that are too late to the show and lack originality run the risk of blending in and themselves becoming the new normal. And brands with strong advertising equities or fluent devices might find that more of the same is better than a quick attempt to join in. Aside from that, I’d imagine most people are well ready for a break from the omnipresent Covid-19 coverage. Aligning too closely could see brands being screened out, not standing out.

”As the veil of global lockdown is slowly lifting, advertising will continually evolve to reflect our new social norms. The big questions being, what will those norms look like and which brands will be doing it best? It’s an exciting challenge for our industry.”

Now, more than ever, brands are having to evolve their products, services and communications to suit the shifting tides of consumer behaviours, demands and expectations. While UGC is undoubtedly a popular way to engage with consumers at this time, as marketers maybe our task right now should not be to hold a mirror up to the people of the country, but to take time to understand how the world around us has changed in the past few months. And how what people want to hear from brands has changed too.

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Cat Davis, group marketing director at The Mission Group & Krow Group

Sourced from The Drum

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M&C Saatchi’s chief creative officer, Ben Golik says that great ideas are those that travel and that one word says it all, Greta. “A seventeen-year-old woman is schooling us all.”

Ahead of The Drum Chip Shop Awards 2020, of which he is the chair of the jury, Golik talks to us about breaking the rules of advertising, why the industry is afraid to take risks, the effect social platforms have on creativity and what the future holds.

Is there a lack of ambition from the agency/creative community to break the rules?

Wow. That’s a negative start. But perhaps not an unfair one. It’s true that much of our work passes through the world unnoticed. So maybe we need to break some rules to bust that collective ennui?

But what are the rules of ambitious work? Let’s assume they stem from what we make, and how we make it.

What we make has never suffered so much innovation. Big data, bigger tech, countless channels. Park this stuff. The single most innovative thing we can offer, is insight. That unexpected prop, dramatised beautifully, is still the best way to add value to our clients’ businesses, and to our own.

As for how we make it, despite repeated calls for a “new agency model”, bright people bouncing ideas off each other still proves mightily successful. The ambition here has to be in achieving diversity throughout that process.

Work that truly understands the people it’s for? That’s ambition enough for me.

Who can break the rules and who can set them?

Another interesting question, because it’s really asking – where does the real power lie? The truth is, it’s never been with agencies. Or with clients. It’s always been with customers. With this view, I prefer to think that there is more opportunity than ever.

Customers are more marketing savvy than ever. So we must think smarter to excite them. Customers are more visually savvy than ever. So we must look better to entice them. Customers are more aware of the data we hold than ever. So we must respect what we know, and use it without entitlement. They’ve leveled up. So must we.

What is that one creative idea from the last decade that went way beyond advertising?

I believe that great ideas are those that travel. They enter the language. Other people claim them as their own. To do that, they need a handle – an easy way of being picked up, and carried forward. I’ve hated some of the best recent handles.

Make America Great Again. Four words. (Or one red cap.) But it smartly evokes a time when America led global culture, and their own suburban dream had not soured. Take Back Control; Get Brexit Done. Each three words. Each emotionally charged. Each totally intoxicating, and bang on for their disenchanted audience. Extinction Rebellion. We’re down to two words now. What a fucking great brand. Totally punk. Brilliantly British.

But, ultimately, I can get it down to one word. Greta. Thoroughly compelling. And without compromise. She stands by her ideas, and ideals, in a way that we fail to. Does everyone agree? Sadly, no. Has everyone heard? Hell, yes. A seventeen-year-old woman is schooling us all.

There are so many rules on social platforms that breaking the morale, the lines of creativity could have a negative impact. Could social platforms potentially have affected creativity negatively?

I do think social media has put new pressure on our output. Not because we were insensitive Luddites blindly abusing humankind, but because we haven’t always grasped nuance. A stereotype is an easy reach for a creative short on time. But it can also make the work fairly broad-brush.

How amazing, then, to have this newfound spotlight of social critique? We must actually understand people, include them, and respect them. Genuinely, our work now has permission to have all the quirk, nuance and specificity of society itself – which can only be a brilliant invitation for ideas that stretch beyond the expected?

Do you think advertising is afraid to take risks with its model?

I think individual agencies are desperate to take risks. With remuneration models, and to push back on the pitch process. But individually, we can feel powerless. We know that we’ll immediately be undercut, or over-promised, by an agency more desperate keen than our own.

So we toe the line. We give away too much, for too little. We devalue our best people, and our best ideas, in the hope of acceptance. That elusive ‘yes’. The only way to truly change the paradigm is to align. Agencies must work together for a system that better serves us all.

I see a brighter future where we don’t give away the farm, for the chance to plough a field.

Over the next decade, how can agencies/creatives be pushing the boundaries of creativity? How can they move the industry forward?

I’ll take the creatives option of the question for this answer. Creatives need to spend more time with planners, not with their briefs. Creatives need to spend more time with clients, not with their feedback. Only by driving the conversation, can we drive change.

What are your expectations for The Chip Shop Awards entries?

The best stuff in The Chip Shop Awards is never the work the client was right to swerve. It’s the work that was born brave but somehow didn’t survive the system. We’ll be looking for ideas that are smart, and sensitive, and suitable. But that sadly found their final media placement on slide 72 of the PowerPoint.

It’s brilliant and bonkers that we award work that might not even have been made. (No wonder people judge us.) But ultimately, that’s why we all keep turning up. To make great stuff that sometimes sees the light of day. (Maybe that’s why we’re so happy to give it away?) Big up the Chip Shop for shining some light into the bottom drawer. Let’s hope someone pays us to make it next year.

Feature Credit Image:Greta Thunberg is schooling us all, says M&C Saatchi CCO, Ben Golik

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Marketers must stop prioritising strategies built around cookie data if they’re to succeed in the 2020s. Speaking on a panel at The Drum’s Predictions 2020 event at Sea Containers this week, Andy Chandler, Adjust’s VP for UK and Ireland, called for brands to evolve in the post-cookie world and start to work out whether they’re truly adding value to their customers’ lives.

“With Google Chrome getting rid of third party cookies, brands need to start looking at data differently or they’re going to very quickly get left behind,” he explained. “We are moving into a cookie-less world, where consumers are interacting more with apps than browsers, so the way we measure data needs to truly reflect that. We need to keep evolving and keep up with where people are, ensuring we add real value to their lives.”

A recent feature by The Drum explored the impact of Google’s plans to “render third-party cookies obsolete” and how brands must now respond. According to Ed Preedy, chief revenue office at Cavai, one solution could be for brands to use online messenger apps to speak directly to their consumers. He says messenger apps can ensure more tailored advertising and better conversion rates when it comes to making a purchase.

He added: “In 2019, there were 73 trillion posts across all messaging apps. And in markets like APAC and Latin America, something like 63% of consumers purchased over a messaging app or spoke directly to a business. These are becoming hotbeds for commercial opportunity and it will only grow in the decade ahead in the UK too.

“Messaging apps allow for a genuine two-way interaction. They qualify what users want and who they are almost instantly, so therefore the advertising that runs is contextually relevant. They will become so much more important as cookies start to dissipate. I think there will be a wider move to more personalised platforms, where advertising is less random.”

It was a frank assessment that Tanzil Bukhari, managing director for EMEA at DoubleVerify, very much agreed with. He insisted consumers now want to see more relevant advertising and that getting rid of cookies will ensure this happens more consistently. “The Google Chrome announcement will mean publishers have to offer much richer and directional content, and that’s only a good thing.”

Using data in the right way

But there was also a message of caution in the air, with Vodafone’s brand director Maria Koutsoudakis warning that brands and agencies who prioritise data too heavily risk becoming irrelevant, on a panel earlier that morning alongside Ogilvy CEO UK, Michael Frolich. Koutsoudakis asked the audience: “When was the last time you spoke to a customer? If you stood back from click attributions and A/V testing then what do you really know about your customers now?

“By only really focusing on data, there’s a risk we create a generation of marketers who don’t understand brand, consumers or behavioural change and aren’t agile enough to cope with it. There needs to be more of a blend of people being on the ground, really speaking to their customers, as well as having a good data strategy. If marketers only care about digital metrics then there’s a risk they become irrelevant in marketing in the 2020s.”

With consumer data obviously so important to the UK mobile network’s business, she admitted it has taken a back step to ensure it’s precious about protecting it. “We don’t sell this data as we can’t afford to lose our consumers’ trust,” she admitted. “Being so cautious might mean we get left behind, but I think it’s worth it as we can’t take any chances.”

Frolich agreed with Koutsoudakis’ sentiment. In the 2020s, he said ad agencies shouldn’t be using client and third party data unless they can absolutely prove it has a positive impact on creativity and this in turn enriches the lives of their customers.

“We aren’t a data company, we are a creative agency,” he insisted. “We use client data and third party data to feed our creativity and build better work that consumers then enjoy. If you’re using this data and it isn’t creating better human insights then you’re using it incorrectly.

“Agencies have bought big data companies and it isn’t working because they’re not using the information to create better marketing. If we can work with a client like Vodafone and use their data to feed better creativity then we’re winning.”

The sentiments around trust were picked on another panel, where Courtney Wylie, VP of product & marketing, Mention Me had a word of caution: “We’re going to continue to see this evolving trend of lack of trust. A declining trust in influencers, brands, marketing channels.”

However, the way the relationship between agencies and brands works will become a lot more adaptable over the coming years, with a one-size-fits-all approach now completely redundant. John Readman, CEO & Founder, Modo25, explained: “In past there were only two options: work with an agency or do something in-house, but we will see these lines blurring more and more. There’s no reason why a combination of both won’t be the best way forward.”

Talking about the way forward, Andrew Challier, chief client officer, Ebiquity predicted that the industry will finally see “the rebirth of creativity and the importance of creativity in engaging people and reaching people in a meaningful way.”

A more ethical way of thinking could impact Facebook and Amazon

As we move further into the 2020s, some of the event’s panellists warned that established retailers and social media brands could start to fall short, as consumers switch to a more ethical way of thinking.

“Yes, lot’s of people still buy off Amazon, but the fact Brits also want to become more engaged with their local community means independent retailers should be confident heading into this new decade,” predicted Hero Brown, founder of Muddy Stilettos.

She explained further: “We’ve noticed a real shift in our readers wanting to support the high street more and more, and there’s this ethical thinking coming through, which could be detrimental to an Amazon. Shoppers want real-life experiences, even from online brands. They’re starting to get tired of faceless fast transactions and want to see brands brought to life in a more physical way. This trend will only intensify in 2020.”

Meanwhile, Darren Savage, chief strategy officer at Tribal, would like to see Facebook’s dominancy recede in the social media space. “I think major firms who consistently lie will come unstuck in the 2020s as people won’t put up with it anymore,” he said. “An immoral toxic cess-pit like Facebook will come tumbling down.

“The blatant lies they tell around consumer data will mean people will leave the platform in much bigger numbers. Truth is more important than ever before and just being a big business isn’t going to protect you if you mislead consumers.”

Proving you’re making a difference

This ethical way of thinking also extends to a brand’s commitment to sustainability, and Misha Sokolov, co-founder of MNFST, believes this will only rise in importance over the coming years.

“I spoke recently to someone at the Volkswagen Group and he was telling me how they calculated they were responsible for 1% of all global emissions, and that’s why they now want to be carbon neutral within 10 years,” he said. “The smartest brands won’t just put a nice message on their packaging, but do something that has a provable positive impact on the environment and helping reduce climate change. It must happen automatically as brands will lose market share if consumers don’t think their being ethical enough. There’s no excuse in the 2020s.”

And businesses shouldn’t just think of sustainability in environmental terms either, with it also being just as wrapped up in how a brand and business treats its employees. Stéphanie Genin, global VP of enterprise marketing at Hootsuite, says employee advocacy will be a huge trend moving forward, as consumer want to ensure their favourite brands treat their staff good before supporting them with a purchase.

She added: “Employee advocacy and employee generated content will become so so important. When you empower employees to be the communicator of what your business stands for it really adds to brand value and boosts sales. I think marketers are missing a trick by not prioritising this more heavily.”

However, Readman, added none of this will work unless it’s part of a global governance policy. “It’s all good being sustainable and doing good things for employees in one market, but if it’s not something you’re doing consistently across the board then consumers will work it out and there will be a backlash.”

Meanwhile, for John Young, executive creative director and co-founder, M-is, as brands start to really understand the consumers through personal engagagement, “the advertising budgets will transfer into experiential budgets.”

Be as safe as possible

Another topic of conversation that came up throughout the day was brands ensuring the data they keep on consumers remains safe, especially as more and more of their ads are traded programmatically.

Francesco Petruzzelli, chief technology officer at Bidstack, said that 13% of global ads are currently fraudulent and that while major brands know it’s a “big issue”, they’re not necessarily doing enough to prevent it. “We acquired a publishing guard to protect publishers, but I find a lot of people aren’t thinking seriously enough about this issue. It won’t go away!”

Dan Lowden, chief strategy officer at Whiteops, added how he recently worked with a major brand who believed bots were accounting for up to 5% of fake views of its £10m campaign, but says his team worked out they were actually accounting for 36% of traffic.

Looking ahead, he concluded: “The bad guys aren’t going to let up and will keep on persisting with cyber crime in the 2020s. We all need to be serious about tackling this problem and do more to collaborate as an industry to ensure that marketing dollars are genuinely being spent on human engagement and not just robots.”

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Sourced from The Drum

We know that exceptional content is what makes a brand. We also know that analysing our data to very specifically target audiences is crucial for great ROI. But we rarely put the two together and use the data available to actually analyse what content works – and why.

Yet knowing exactly why content works can give us that winning edge. And, luckily, the ability to see what indisputably resonates the most with our audience – and drives our bottom-line – is already in our hands.

The state of play

In the climate of the current ‘data boom’, audience targeting naturally takes precedence, with the majority (55%) of marketers saying ‘better use of data’ for audience targeting is their priority in 2019, according to Econsultancy.

It makes sense. On a daily basis, we’re faced with countless blogs, podcasts, speakers and everything in-between promising that if we perfectly optimise our targeting, our messaging will beat the daunting odds of the 0.9% CTR cited by WordStream. And so, we dedicate hours and hours every week to creating personas, hypothesising about audiences, segmenting users and running lengthy A/B tests to find the piece of content that our audience love. We add to our already-complex marketing stacks tools that tell us what messaging has been more successful, in order for us to optimise.

But when we do find that winner, do we know why it works? Do we know exactly what features caused the higher CTR? Do we know how we’re going to recreate it in our next campaign, to make it better, even?

This lack of knowledge – despite all the tools and techniques we use to offer insight – is what we at Datasine call the ‘black box’ because when it comes to understanding why, we are left in the dark. Just looking at results doesn’t give us the insight needed to truly understand content preferences in an actionable way.

Semantic content analysis

To crack open the black box, we need to start conducting in-depth semantic analysis of our content. Only then can we begin to truly understand why some content resonates and some doesn’t.

As experienced marketers, we come prepackaged with a deep understanding of – and fascination with – psychology and our audience, meaning we’ve already got the skills on paper to analyse our content. It’s simply a matter of breaking it down into parts. We’ll look at this in terms of images and text.

If you want to analyse your imagery, you can take all the image assets you’ve ever created and note down the particular elements you used in each, then check to see if there are any patterns which relate those choices to your ad performance.

For example:

  • Did you use a photo of your product outdoors? Or in the showroom?
  • Were people visible in the shot?
  • What was the size of the text, and the colour of any overlays or CTAs?

It may even be worth inviting a panel to judge your images on the emotions that they evoke, or photographers to assess the quality and composition of the shot.

You can do the same for text content, approaching this by categorising how you describe your product or service. For example:

  • Do you appeal to your product’s ease of use?
  • Are you emphasising your innovative credentials?
  • Do you use particularly casual – or formal – language?

With this process, we can see which types of content are receiving the most engagement. And we can use these features to keep creating great campaigns that we further optimise as our understanding of customer content preferences grows.

Scaling content analysis

If we have just a few campaigns on the go, content analysis is easier, but it gets harder as we scale. It stops being practical to expect humans to spend days, weeks, even months labelling what goes into each piece of content. Here’s where machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) come to the rescue.

AI models can extract all of these elements in seconds by analysing image or text semantically to look at content like humans do. That way, we can cut back on lengthy, expensive A/B testing, and get rid of guesswork once and for all – a vision we at Datasine are working toward. Our AI platform Connect (formerly Pomegranate) automatically identifies the most effective content for your audience.

By embracing semantic content analysis and working collaboratively with AI, we can feel confident in understanding exactly what content is going to work before we hit send.

Sourced from The Drum

By Art Markman

You might conclude that innovative companies must be full of creative people. Here’s why that’s not necessarily true.

I live in Austin, Texas, where there are plenty of startups, each claiming to be more innovative than the last. It’s a good marketing approach: When companies innovate, they have the opportunity to transform markets and poach customers from competitors. So why not broadcast that message far and wide?

Of course, what these companies are really talking about is creativity. Successful companies must have people within them who have interesting new ideas to develop and bring to market.

Logically, you might conclude that truly innovative companies need to be stocked with highly creative people. But that’s just not the case. Most of the work involved in bringing an innovation to market is actually pretty routine. (Remember that famous Thomas Edison quote, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”? Turns out he was onto something.)

Even at the most innovative companies, most people need to be skilled at getting things done in a more-or-less routine way most of the time.

One of the Big Five personality characteristics is conscientiousness, which reflects how much people are motivated to complete the tasks they start and to follow the rules of an organization. In general, companies function most effectively when they have a lot of conscientious people. However, there is a tendency for people who are highly creative to be moderate in conscientiousness. They may finish what they start, but they are not strongly bound by the rules of how things have been done in the past.

Research on the availability heuristic demonstrates that we judge how frequent and how important something is by how easily it comes to mind. This mental strategy works well when you encounter items roughly with the frequency that they actually appear in the world. But in this case, it can be a little misleading.

This is because, when it comes to getting press, business as usual is not newsworthy. Another solid quarter of earnings from a company that has—once again—run its business model smoothly does not need to be reported. But a novel product, process, or technology grabs headlines. As a result, you encounter many stories about successful (or even unsuccessful) innovations a lot. By availability, then, you can be forgiven for thinking that creativity is a really important skill for people who want to have a successful career.

It isn’t.

If you are able to get your job done by learning procedures that have been laid out by others and executing them well, then there may not be any need to strike out on your own and to do things differently.

Instead, focus your efforts on perfecting your skills and doing your job as well as you can. You may discover that your greatest contribution to your company is to be a steady and reliable contributor who makes things happen.

A lack of creativity need not keep you from taking on leadership roles, either. Sometimes successful leadership requires navigating new situations. But many times, companies just need a steady hand to guide continued growth.

Ultimately, you should pay attention to who really makes things happen within your industry. It may turn out that you have placed more value on creativity than it deserves.

Feature Image Credit: Thomas Edison [Photo: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [ LC-DIG-cwpbh-04044]

By Art Markman

Art Markman, PhD is a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and Founding Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations. Art is the author of Smart Thinking and Habits of Leadership, Smart Change, and most recently, Brain Briefs, co-authored with his “Two Guys on Your Head” co-host Bob Duke, which focuses on how you can use the science of motivation to change your behavior at work and at home

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Sourced from Fast Company

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Social media started out with Myspace and Bebo (oh the nostalgia) before graduating to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Here we are now in 2019, ‘hashtagging’ and ‘storying’ like it’s nobody’s business.

What’s next for the social media industry?

1. A shift in focus: less on feeds, more on private messages

The feed is such an integral part of social media networks that it could never just vanish overnight. Regardless, people are using social media more and more as a way to get in touch with people and have instant message conversations.

To remove the feed entirely could be problematic though. The feed is the main source of incoming for many social media networks as most people will spend their dwelling time here. It’s also used as a key space for advertising. With visual formats such as Stories and Facebook Watch gaining speed, it’s likely that advertising will inhabit these forms in the absence of a feed. After all, IGTV is in the midst of discussions on adding advertisements to the content as we speak.

We have no doubt that the feed will start to play a smaller role in the growth of social media networks, but it’s here to stay for a long while yet.

2. Despite numerous industry worries, influencers aren’t going away

2018 / 2019 has been a tricky time for influencers with a lot of bad press and finger-pointing documentaries. However, not all influencers are deserving of the bad rep.

Influencers who are troublesome in the industry will become extinct over the next few years. Their followers will lose trust and begin to diminish, while brands will ‘wise-up’ to influencer red flags and learn how to find influencers who will work more effectively with their brand.

Although social media networks are still likely to be saturated with #ad and influencers galore, it’s not really the end of the world. If trustworthy and authentic influencers are all that reminds then the odd paid promotion will be much less problematic than it is today.

One trend we expect to see more of very soon is brand marketers educating themselves more about the influencer marketing supply chain. This will enable them to only work with influencers who promote their brand effectively and actually sell their product. Watch this space for further developments.

3. Brands will be making more of an effort to plan their content and be more consistent across channels

As social media continues to be an incredibly saturated space, the quality of content must also rise.

Brands that are smart will invite a social media specialist to take a look at what they’re currently doing, as well as give advice on where social media (and the internet in general) is headed. This will enable them to get a leg-up on future trends and plan ahead for the next five years.

Brands not able to identify what works for their business will lose customers to their competitors.

Plan, execute, analyse and repeat what works.

4. Small communities will trump big networks for most businesses (even more than they already do)

We all know that Facebook Groups and messaging apps have become so very popular over the last couple of years as a way to unite people with similar interests in thousands of niche topics. Whatever your tipple, there’s a group for it, filled with like-minded individuals posed for a heated discussion.

The general public is bored of seeing the same story over and over again. But having the context of a group changes things. A post about a new coffee shop only becomes interesting and relevant to you when it’s posted within a Facebook Group specific to your location.

Furthermore, the average person is usually more comfortable participating in conversations and sharing opinions within a smaller community, without fear of judgement from the entire world wide web. This ‘safe space’ atmosphere will continue to help groups become a hub of activity and engagement.

One thing that won’t change is that social media is the cheapest, fastest and the most scalable marketing channel available to most companies. That isn’t going away, period.

Welcome to the next five years of social media marketing.

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Sourced from The Drum

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As summer looms so too does a deluge of ‘summer ready’ and ‘beach body’ ads targeted at women. But Boots’ latest ad from Ogilvy has turned the trope on its head.

Part of a wider commitment from the retailer to focus on body confidence in its marketing, Boots has launched an integrated summer campaign it hopes will “give women the confidence to be whoever they want to be.”

Based on its own insight that 76% of women in the UK have avoided summer activities – like going to the beach or attending music festival – because they feel self-conscious, the TV spot at the heart of ‘Summer Ready’ follows the story of two women embarking on a summer trip.

As they head into shop in Boots, they see a Protein World-esque ad which asks, ‘Are you summer ready?’. The pair are shown laughing it off, before heading to their destination. Boots products feature in the ad as the duo get ready to head to the beach.

The spot is set to a custom version of the Diana Ross classic, ‘I’m Coming Out’.

Helen Normoyle, marketing director for Boots UK and Ireland, said that amid a shift in the conversation around confidence the brand “had a role to play” in ensuring the discussion wasn’t about shape or size but about women having the confidence to be whoever they want to be.

“The statistic [we uncovered] is really shocking and as the brand that stands for championing everyone’s right to feel good, we wanted to take action.”

She added: “That’s why we’re celebrating women who aren’t driven by a need to be someone else’s definition of ‘summer ready’. In doing so, we hope to inspire the rest of the nation to stop worrying about what others think and just start feeling great about themselves.”

The TV ad marks the beginning of a summer-long campaign with activations set to take place throughout the season which will run across ATL TV, print, PR & influencer marketing, loyalty and more.

The play from Boots builds on other commitments it has made to championing body confidence, including its sponsorship of all the national women’s football teams in the UK.

“This is not just about summer. Our partnership with women’s football has given us the opportunity to talk to our customers in new ways, supporting a much bigger social conversation to help improve the confidence and wellbeing of others,” explained. Normoyle.

Boots Health & Beauty print magazine has been leading the charge on this too, having banned image re-touching from its their cover seven years ago.

Boots has been heavily focusing on beauty in its marketing. Its 2018 Christmas ad from Ogilvy married its brand purpose with its beauty proposition, telling the story of a mother and daughter to showcase how giving the gift of beauty can make someone feel.

Earlier this year, it announced it was upping investment in its beauty proposition, overhauling its bricks-and-mortar stores and bringing fresh brands into the fold as it looks to keep is grip on the burgeoning market.

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Sourced from The Drum