RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA: MasterCard, the payments company, believes innovation should be defined as "creativity with a job to do" if it is to yield the maximum benefit for brands.

Adam Broitman, vp/senior business leader in MasterCard's Global Digital Marketing group, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Digital & Social Media Conference.

"When I hear people talk about 'innovation', somehow the conversation turns to conversations about things that are new," he said. (For more, including details of how the brand is leveraging beacons, read Warc's exclusive report: How MasterCard masters technology for marketing.)

"But that's not how I define 'innovation'. 'New' is not 'innovation'. You can do very 'un-innovative' – if that's a word – things with the 'new' things."

Rather, Broitman proposed, an alternative point of emphasis – based around ideas like context and practical application – is typically more powerful.

"I define 'innovation' as 'creativity with a job to do' – the very purposeful use of technology," he told the event delegates.

"Using this definition kind of saves you from the trappings of just going toward shiny objects and doing aimless things with them … 'Creativity with a job to do' is our North Star for innovation."

Such a "North Star" is especially important at a time when marketers have an increasingly vast array of data at their disposal – and almost as many tools promising to collect, analyse and activate this information.

By fully understanding the context in which consumers are exposed to its brand and marketing messages, MasterCard can help ensure its innovation efforts are both relevant and useful.

"The amount of time that we have; the device we use at a given time; what we want to accomplish; and our location. They all add context and add to consumer behavior," said Broitman.

"Historically, if someone was watching television, we would assume they're at home. But look at all the different behaviors and situations in which people are consuming media.

"We're able to understand a whole lot more now, given context."

Data sourced from Warc