"Big Data" has evolved from a marketing buzz-phrase to a marketing cliché over recent years. But brands still have a way to go before they understand, let alone fully utilise, the potential of the datasets available to them. That was the overriding message of Blind Data, an event organised by UK commercial TV trade body Thinkbox and held in London this morning.
A view from the client-side came from Peter Duffy, marketing director at easyJet, the low-cost airline, who offered a pretty compelling case study showing how the company is using a mix of its own data and sets from external sources to optimise its media planning. And there's no reason why many of the lessons from easyJet's story aren't applicable to brands in other categories.
Two years ago, I went on a 10-day silent retreat at a Buddhist monastery in the middle of the Thai jungle. One morning at 5am, in the first of the day's meditation sessions, with bites on my arms from the spiders I wasn't allowed to kill and cramps in my stomach from the food I wasn't allowed to eat, I finally achieved my revelation on the impermanence of all things. Praise the universe, I thought. Glory to the fickle world. In only 48 hours, this too will end, and I'll be able to go back to my blinkered, base, absolutely wonderful life of electricity, box sets and beef.
Back in London, I endeavoured to bring the lesson of eternal impermanence into my day job, because social media is surely the viparinama-dukkha of the corporate world. The once-startling pace of a Twitter feed feels positively sluggish compared with newer tools like Snapchat, the photo-messaging service which deletes users' images after 10 seconds, or Vine, the six-second video app which acquired four million users within two-and-half months of launch. Every day we're bombarded with start-ups promising to be the next global sensation, plus a raft of updates and tweaks from established platforms. For users, it can be a little bewildering. For businesses, it's hell.
Luxury brands and the role of digital in building them are among the latest highlights on Warc. We also have case studies from the Jay Chiat and DMA ECHO awards, event reports from the US, Europe and Asia, the next dates in our series of Warc Webinars and news of two new Prizes now open for entries.
Read on for all the news - and to receive content updates like this by monthly email, visit: Your Warc > Email Alerts.
"The future of luxury brands is very much about technology," concludes Colin Grimshaw, introducing a range of articles on luxury branding in the latest issue of Admap magazine.
There was a time long ago when the job of a marketer was simpler. Skills were learned and honed on the path to marketing mastery. Your media choices could be counted on one hand, customer feedback was in a timely and controlled fashion and your working day ended generally at the end of the day.
As we now know all too well our customers now live and interact in this constant, "always on" world. It is normal for them to engage with our brands and with each other on their own terms, in their own time – and as marketers and brands, we must ensure that we listen, interact and engage with them in real-time too.
Social Media has been the fuel to turbo charge this behaviour change but brands now understand that a planned content strategy needs to sit behind it to ensure that that your content conversations stand out from the pack.
I spent Tuesday this week at the IPA's Eff Fest - a conference in London that looked at different aspects of 'effectiveness'. (Watch out for a full write-up in the coming days on Warc's event reports section.)
The session I really wanted to attend was the update from #IPASocialWorks, a collaborative effort between UK trade bodies such as the IPA, the Marketing Society and the Market Research Society, with backing from several social networks. Their goal is to try to provide some guidance on how best to measure social media (and they were clear to make a distinction between 'counting' and 'measuring').
That is a topic with particular relevance for us after the launch of the Warc Prize for Social Strategy - a competition for social activity that can show business results.
In general, I despise the Chicken-licken approach to progress. The insistence that the latest piece of popular technology means curtains for morality, journalism, God, society, TV, music, or whichever pursuit you have a vested interest in preserving in its current form, is an age-old instinct of human nature which never fails to be both boring and inaccurate. A few thousand years ago, Socrates was fretting that the newfangled vogue for writing would destroy our memories, and just look at Derren Brown. Of course, technology alters our behaviour, but human beings are resilient creatures, and we have repeatedly proven that we are capable of combining old and new practices in exciting and profitable ways.
That said, I have to admit that there is plenty of evidence suggesting that copy has taken a dive since blogs, forums and social networks redefined the way brands express themselves online. The imperative to be authentic, accessible and human – and to do it in real time – all too often translates into a woeful mash-up of teen speak, sloppy grammar and Americanised marketing jargon, all heavily laced with a chronic over-use of exclamation marks.
The research papers presented at Congress are available for subscribers to read. Non-subscribers can take a trial.
Think Big – that's the theme of this year's ESOMAR Congress. The demand for data keeps increasing and it needs highly trained professionals to help their clients to make sense of today's 'data noise', said Silke Muenster, VP Market Research at Philip Morris and chair of the programme committee.
Tim Harford, columnist at the Financial Times and the opening keynote speaker reminded delegates that there are two ways to success. One is to look at every individual aspect of an issue and try to improve each of them marginally. The risk of failure is low and, put together, these individual improvements once aggregated can add up to a winning margin.
Do you hesitate to release anything into the public realm until it is exactly right? Do you dread negative feedback online? Do you believe that if you can't do something properly, it's better not to do it at all?
If that attitude sounds familiar, you may well be suffering from what Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck calls a 'fixed mindset'. First published in the US in 2006, Dweck's book Mindset How You Can Fulfil Your Potential has been garnering some serious attention this side of the Pond following last year's UK paperback release. Dweck defines mindsets as 'beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about your intelligence, your talents, your personality. Are these qualities fixed traits, carved in stone? Or are they things you can cultivate throughout your life?'
Ever get suspicious that your Facebook friends are having too much fun? That the lives of people you follow on Instagram are too fabulous to be believed? According to Christophe Jouan, CEO of Future Foundation and a keynote speaker at our upcoming Advertising Research conference, held in London on September 25, all of this social media-based bragging should be a crucial concern for the marketing industry. At Ad Research, Jouan will be discussing what he terms the Big Lie of marketing – also the title of a new book from Future Foundation. This Big Lie is a simple human truth: that how we want others to see us is as important a consideration as how we truly feel.
From this perspective, it's pretty obvious why so many are so keen to portray a happy and interest-packed life via Facebook. As Jouan told me, when we talked through his Ad Research presentation in London last week, "in these social networks, you create your own brand – which you want to promote at all times." It follows that marketers need to recognise this performative need to make others view us positively, and tailor their communications accordingly.
Running newspaper ads and connecting with mums have traditionally been core components of the marketing playbook. As a result of the digital revolution, however, each of these areas has undergone a transformation, aptly demonstrated by two presentations at IAB UK’s Brand Forum, held in London on August 8th 2013.
Hamish White, head of engineering platforms at News UK, discussed the development of Sun+, the new online presence of Britain’s most-popular tabloid newspaper, The Sun. White said that Sun+ will help the title break with its reputation – hitherto somewhat sleazy – and reinvent itself as a “family-friendly entertainment brand”, while also becoming a profitable newspaper for the digital age.