Create, collect and analyse

We have reached that part of the year—just post the key global creative awards, and pre our own local creative awards season—and it feels like a good time for me to share some personal thoughts and insights on this industry we all work within; an industry defined by creativity and technology. I found The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity inspiring and challenging, and I was hugely enthused about our industry’s giant leaps into the future.

These are some of the themes capturing both my imagination and decision-making at the moment;

The Changing Media World in a Single Image

The media landscape is evolving at the fastest rate in history.

In the past, one giant leap, like the arrival of commercial television in the United States in the 1940’s or the harnessing of the internet in the 1990’s, would disrupt the landscape and then re-define the decades which followed but now we face constant shifts – some seismic, some minor, some in-between – which together change platforms, content and consumer habits everyday.

Some of you will have seen the image below which juxtaposes the crowd in Rome awaiting the announcement of Pope Benedict’s appointment in 2005 with that of Pope Francis four months ago, but, for those of you who haven’t, it truly captures these rapidly changing times, and I cannot think of a better image currently that is the truest sign of our times…

Creativity vs. Data: A Phony War

In my last Sharing Insights update, I wrote about the subject of Data which is very much the marketing obsession of the world. How do brands effectively use the overwhelming wealth of digital personalised data which is now available to them in a way that delivers a competitive advantage? It is overwhelming – best estimates are that every second there are 684,478 pieces of content shared on Facebook, 2 Million searches on Google, 48 hrs of video uploaded on YouTube and 175,000 Tweets sent.

There’s plenty of good writing on all of this at the moment, my current favourite is Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex, the Managing Director of OgilvyOne Worldwide in New York, which demystifies data and CRM

The rapid rise of data in the conversation has sparked another of those distracting binary debates that the advertising industry, frustratingly, specialises in. Supposedly there is now conflict between being data-driven in your marketing or relying on creativity. This fork in the road is every bit as imaginary as that often postulated between effectiveness and creativity.

Creativity has long been proven to drive effectiveness. In his book, The Case for Creativity, well-known planner James Hurman demonstrates that the company which has won the most Cannes Awards has outperformed its competitors on the stock market eight out of ten times in the past ten years and the same applies to data.While agencies now need to up their game in terms of data awareness and analysis (that’s exactly what OgilvyOne is doing for us), very few campaigns will work for brands in this space solely on a blunt volume base. Impact will only be achieved when the correctly crunched numbers are aligned with an insightful strategy on how best to use them and the kind of creativity which produces cut-through and triggers the desired response.

Great Creative Data Campaigns

Here are three campaigns that have leveraged the power of rich social data and hot creative ideas to create truly breakthrough celebrated work.


VW “Streetquest”
A campaign from Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town and a Bronze Cannes Lion winner this year, combines an online and mobile game with Google Street View and Facebook technology. Participants were prompted to find as many VW’s as possible on Google street view and pin then and share their pins on Facebook. It generated over 400,000 pins and a 700% increase in consumer engagement on VW’s Facebook page and has been recognised at the New York One Show, and is featured in Google’s Creative Sandbox as a digital case study.
Case Study »

Oreo “Daily Twist”
The centenary campaign from Draftfcb in New York which posted quirky daily calendar content onto social media platforms, that leveraged real life events through the lens of the iconic Oreo cookie. The entries were then voted on and shared by millions of engaged people.
Case Study »

Pepsi “We Inspire”
Campaign from 6FD in New York which facilitated the building of an online community of women around causes they had in common. It leveraged the power of social media and the ability of women to create networks around themselves and amplified it through relevant celebrity endorsement.
Videos »

A Useful Media Channel Tool

Sharon Keith, from Coca-Cola, shared this with me.

At one end of the continuum, brands must deliver more mass media broadcast messages about what it is they stand for, a lighthouse identity if you like, and, on the other end of the continuum, more one-to-one engagement which adds more utility to consumers who actively engage with them. Be careful not to be exclusively one or the other, brands must engage on both ends in a seamless, coherent way.

The agencies and marketing teams of the future will be configured to deliver to this model.

Any way that you look at all of the above, it’s undeniably an exhilarating time to be in marketing today. We are at the forefront of all this change and have to be prepared to learn and unlearn a at pace, and almost inevitably, make some mistakes along the way.

How data is transforming marketing

I suspect, like me, that you have had less time than you would have liked to read this year.

One of the things I have managed to read, was the recent global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Study conducted by Ogilvy & Mather client, IBM.

I found the insights fascinating and relevant, and thought I would share some of them with you.

What’s keeping marketers awake at night?

According to the 15 000 top executives interviewed in the CMO study, the external factors most likely to be giving CMO’s sleepless nights were all market and technology related. This is hardly surprising: These factors are already driving massive change and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

What was worth noting was that of the CMOs who anticipated these challenges, only half felt equipped to handle them.

This, I believe, echoes the apprehension many of us feel as we face the challenges of building brands in an increasingly complex world.

The key challenge – and opportunity – in my mind, is the increasing importance of DATA in the marketing mix.

Sexy Little Numbers

 If anything is about to transform the way marketing works, it’s this four letter word: “DATA.”

Though businesses have always had a fair idea of who their customers are, and what they need, data has the ability to build meaningful individual relationships and generate new insights about consumers like never before.

Mark Pritchard, P&G’s Global Brand Building Officer, expressed this sentiment very succinctly in his new vision for his company: “Our vision is to build brands through lifelong, one-to-one conversations with individuals and the communities in which they’re active.”

Pritchard is not alone: Multinationals, from automotive to FMCG, are publically estimating that 15% to 20% of their budget will be dedicated to the more ‘Direct’ approaches of digital and social within five years – a figure corroborated by Duke University Fuqua School of Business in a recent report.

Information into actionable insight

As much as data has exploded, so has our capacity to turn it into actionable insight. Data and analytics have become “bottom of the pyramid applications”, allowing us to make mass-customisation of our marketing possible. Businesses now have the means to understand customers based on real-time behaviour and then interact with them as individuals.

Where traditional campaigns peak consumer’s interest in a brand, only to see it wane once the campaign is done, the new wealth of data allows us to create campaigns that instead build ongoing consumer relationships. And it is only a matter of time, before one-to-one channels outweigh the reach of mass media.

Locally, more than one million unique users participated in our “Carling Black Label Be the Coach” campaign. That’s almost half the brand’s core user base. This potential for one-to-one communication not only changes the cycle of consumer communications. It allows us to demystify marketing’s ROI and make the impact of any marketing investment apparent through real-time measurement and refinement.

A bold step towards enduring customer relationships

A year ago, Ogilvy & Mather SA launched Social@Ogilvy, a worldwide practice that builds on our existing social media, communications, CRM, sales enablement and shopper-marketing expertise, to help our clients create social solutions that capitalise on this burgeoning trend.

On Friday, February 1, we launched OgilvyOne Worldwide, South Africa – our Data and CRM offering, which according to Forrester Research Inc, is already a trailblazer “because of its high level of competence across all major criteria – specifically measurement and analytics, account management, and social and emerging media.” High praise we have every intention of living up to. We have understood that data is the key link between social, digital and mobile and must thread seamlessly through them all, and we are ready with some of the best minds in this area to service this opportunity.

If you’d like to know more about OgilvyOne Worldwide and its potential applications for your business, please let me know.

Also, have a look at getting a copy of Sexy Little Numbers – a book by Dimitri Maex, the Managing Director of OgilvyOne Worldwide in New York and the engine behind the agencies global analytics practice. It’s a simple and straightforward guide to growing your business with the data you already have.

The four ways data changes business forever

If anything is about to transform the way marketing works, it’s that four-letter word: data. Technological advancements that have made it possible for any brand and business to have authentic, meaningful relationships with consumers makes data all the more powerful and relevant.

The following words by Mark Pritchard P&G’s Global Marketing Officer speak to a vision all businesses strive for: “Our vision is to build brands through lifelong, one-to-one relationships in real time… It means shifting from mass broadcasting, to creating more personal one-to-one conversations with individuals and the communities in which they’re active.”

This vision can now be realised with data’s newfound power.

Data’s potential to build individual relationships, which has been the case even before Aaron Montgomery Ward invented the mail order catalogue in 1872, is no secret.

Businesses have always had a fair idea of who its customers are, what they bought and why. In modern times, whole industries have been spawned out of data use. Don Peppers and Marther Rogers became the thought leaders of modern CRM and Frederick Riecheld from Bain, the father of Loyalty.

Billions have been spent using data to develop effective one-to-one relationships,however, today’s technological advancements make this dream a reality.

Technology has created two fundamental changes that alter the way we generate, access and leverage data. Firstly, by exponentially increasing the volume of data generated, and secondly, by making the analysis of this data stream more feasible and accessible to many more businesses.

The world data volume doubles every 24 months. Every second, Google posts two million searches; 48 hours of video content is posted onto YouTube, and over 100,000 tweets are sent.

Social media, mobile phones and other data tools mean that billions of people on the planet leave mile-wide data trails, making for much richer data sources than ever before.

This data explosion is coupled with our ever-increasing ability to slice and dice data. Computers are now better able to analyse the non-structured data surge, such as words, images, tweets, blogs and text messages. Whole industries are forming that help dissect this data into actionable insights.

These two technologically-fueled data tsunamis have forever altered marketing in four ways:

Mass customisation becomes real
Every business in the world has access to data today in a way that enables mass customisation. In some ways, data has become a “bottom of the pyramid” application.

An excellent report by IBM’s “Leading through connections CEO study” states that technology has now made “mass customisation” possible. Businesses now have the means to understand customers, based on actual, real-time behavior, and engage them as individuals.

Emergence of new careers
A science is being built out of foraging through vast amounts of data and turning that into useful predictive consumer insights. The Data Scientist is the new, advanced geek, who combines analytics with investigative zeal. This has resulted in a new breed of tech-savvy, socially plugged in hackers who determine what data to track and how to find meaning in it.

The Network Manager works closely with the Data Scientist. This is someone who curates and facilitates the consumer network of a business, observing, learning and influencing conversation and thus building long-term relationships.

These roles become even more critical in a world where building dialogue with consumers is a critical success factor.

Campaigns stop being one hit wonders
Most campaigns peak consumers’ interest in a brand only for it to wane once the campaign is done. Data changes that. Campaigns will be interventions in the building of ongoing consumer relationships. They will not only be used to pique interest, but to drive data too. The days of running an incredible campaign with no useful data at the end of the rainbow are gone.

Here is the really crazy thought: It’s only a matter of time before the reach of your campaign through mass media is less than that of your one-to-one channels. As a case in point, one million unique users registered and participated in the latest Carling Black Label Be the Coach campaign. That’s half the number of its core user base.

This changes the nature of classical marketing interventions. Data makes real the virtuous cycle of consumer communications and thus will change the way that marketing teams and communications agencies configure themselves to deliver their expert services.

Data makes marketing Return On Investment trackable
Want to know the good news? Data demystifies marketing ROI. The real-time nature of the new data streams means that the impact of any marketing investment becomes instantly available for measurement and refinement.

The words from P&G’s Global Marketing Officer are bold and brave. They usher in a new marketing era where data unlocks real-time value. Like all new eras, the implications are both exciting and daunting, but there is one thing for sure:

There has never been a better time to be doing what we do than now.


For the Entrepreneurs

On Saturday the 19th of November I had the honour of speaking at Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week. The four-day event was held at the Cape Town City Hall. As per my usual style of presentation, it was made up of images that I spoke to, rather than using words on slides. So since distributing my presentation won’t help I wrote this summary to share what I spoke about.

My speech was based on how challenger brand thinking can be used as a framework for entrepreneurship and some other thoughts. Challenger Brand thinking is based on ‘Eating the Big Fish’, a book by Adam Morgan – a London based business strategist. The book establishes eight credos or behaviours that are consistent across ‘challenger brands’ like Nike, Apple, Pepsi and even Nandos. I have adapted some of the credos to creating a more meaningful dialogue on entrepreneurship.

Behaviour 1: Human behaviour is predictable
The Bell Curve, by Harvard psychologist, Richard J. Herrnstein published in 1994 was a good place to start. The book covered the distribution of IQ across the American population with some rather controversial findings mainly because of its hypothesis that there was a correlation between race and IQ. I won’t deal with that now, however, the key point it made was that most people have an average IQ, with a smaller number of people with a high and low IQ – hence the term “bell curve”.

This “bell curve” pattern also applies to many other forms of human behaviour – most people behave in the same way with a smaller percentage of people deviating from that pattern – it applies to sleep patterns, bad habits, income and so on. The implication for entrepreneurs is that predicting human behaviour on the whole is quite simple. So, if you want to introduce a product or service take a look at human behaviour and let that guide what you do. You can aim to change behaviour or leverage that behaviour. There are plenty of free statistical resources available online that can help you.

Behaviour 2: Old rules don’t necessarily apply
The world is changing faster than ever before. The advances in technology are accelerating this pace of change. In this new world, opportunities for entrepreneurs are abundant as cracks start forming on the walls of established businesses, brands and institutions. Who would ever have guessed that PEP Stores would be the largest distributor of mobile handsets in the country? Its crazy to think that the iPad didn’t exist two years ago and that iTunes would be the world’s largest distributor of music. Only one of the companies (Shell) in the Forbes top 500 companies list of 2001 is on the list today. When the world changes, someone drops a ball and that presents entrepreneurial opportunity.

Behaviour 3: Everything you do communicates
Often marketers think that their responsibility for communication lies in the traditional marketing mediums they control (TV, radio, events, websites), they have a blind spot about the way they treat their staff, about small things like the customer feedback box, big things like their trucks on the road, or my favourite – the look, feel and etiquette of the security guards at their entrances. Everything communicates – your customers don’t selectively look at your tailored communication, they absorb everything and inconsistencies are glaring.

Entrepreneurs can take advantage of this and ensure that everything that represents their universe is consistent with what they want to communicate to the world. Everything is a medium of communication, use each one effectively and you will stand out.

Check out this clip from South West Airlines – the worlds most consistently profitable Airline. It illustrates how even a mundane safety announcement can be used to say something special about a brand.

Behaviour 4: Assume thought leadership
Thought leadership is about reflecting a vision of the future in the things that you do. It could be through writing, speaking, product or marketing innovation. It’s different to market leadership which belongs to the established player in the market, but it exudes momentum and energy which most market leaders struggle to do. Eating the Big Fish gives simple yet effective tools on how to achieve this. It says that thought leadership is about breaking the existing convention of how products are communicated and experienced. When Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) was launched into the country in 2003, it broke many conventions about how beer brands were promoted, while most advertising focused on the heritage of the brand MGD launched with an ad that looked like a music video. Its launch event in three airport hangars in Joburg, Durban and Cape Town is still spoken about almost 10 years later. It changed the way beer brands engaged consumers by breaking expected conventions. There are conventions in all categories and entrepreneurs can exploit the ‘normality’ of life to their benefit.

Behaviour 5: Hit the refresh button
People are generally too busy to pay attention to your brand all the time. You need to constantly be entering their mind space. This doesn’t mean by the way that having ATL exposure will do the trick – it becomes wallpaper. What you need to do is refresh your brand and make people notice you. Audi did it with the launch of the TT in 1998 and again with the introduction of the LED beams that most motor manufacturers are now copying. What does your refresh button look like?

Behaviour 6: Sacrifice
“If you try and be everything to everyone, you will be nothing to no one” – Bob McClain. It’s as simple as that. Often entrepreneurs don’t have sufficient resources to do all they want to do but that’s a good thing because sacrificing a segment of the target market or a particular distribution channel or even communication mediums like TV, gives you the resources to do what you are able to do, better than anybody else. Grolsch for instance is running one of the most effective networking and consumer programmes (Swing Top Circle) I know of. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they focus so much energy into it as they have a limit on the mediums they are able to utilise due to the size of their budget. Most established businesses and brands are so thinly spread that the best strategy is to eat the elephant in bite size chunks – just make sure you’ve invested in some razor sharp, titanium teeth.

Bahaviour 7: Over-commit
Linked quite closely to sacrifice, over-commitment is possible when you focus your resources effectively. Malcolm Gladwell speaks of the 10,000-hour rule which purports that one must practice for at least 10,000 hours if you are to become an expert at what you do. This rule obviously applies to different activities relative to what your field of business is. Most people will never even get half way there, so that should encourage you to commit yourself, being better than the rest isn’t that far off.

Behaviour 8: Leverage technology and popular culture
Social media and technology have made it cheaper to communicate to customers. Leverage social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked In to amplify your message. These tools allow two-way communication with your customers so leverage this capability to share knowledge and interact with your customers. New technology in the form of mobile and tablet computing introduce new channels of engagement. 85% of cellphones in South Africa will be smartphones by 2015 so this becomes a real and significant channel for everyone.

Behaviour 9: Be idea-centered not consumer-centered
Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse”. People will only give you incremental ideas not revolutionary ones – we simply aren’t wired like that. Idea generation is a skill that entrepreneurs must harness. Ideas are the currency of the future. In Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, he argues that the world has moved from the knowledge age into the conceptual age. Economic growth will come from nations and people that are able to conceptualise new ways of utilising resources and solving problems.

The Entrepreneurship Fallacy
Finally, the fact that you have to leave your organisation and start your own enterprise to be an entrepreneur is a fallacy. Entrepreneurship is an attitude. All the behaviours I listed above can work just as well within organisations as they do outside of one. Don’t let the fact that you have a job detract from your entrepreneurial spirit.

Books I recommended:

Eating the Big Fish – Adam Morgan
The Pirate Inside – Adam Morgan
The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
A Whole New Mind – Daniel H Pink
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle(the summary, the full version is just too heavy)