WARC’s Lucy Aitken spoke to Charlie Chappell, Hershey’s Senior Director for Integrated media, and chair of judges for the WARC Media Awards Channel Integration category, about emerging platforms, data, and what makes a great integrated campaign.

What is your take on the role of comms planning versus creative planning?

There’s no doubt that they have to work together in today’s world. That’s a reality that everyone has to face and figure out how they’re going to do that. There are times when you’re working on the details separately but then you need to build them and connect them back together, again. In the best cases, I’ve seen ideas build off the back and forth [within that process between creative and media].

What has been the most useful new platform (either adtech or consumer-facing) to emerge for your business in the past five years?

It’s the adtech space and the emergence of a DMP, Data Management Platform. This tool offers the ability to co-ordinate all of your consumer data in one place and that is a monumental challenge. It is a fundamental building block to executing in the future.

What criteria do you use to assess an emerging platform? Who makes the decision to use an emerging platform, your organisation or your agency?

It is a joint decision. We would look at it together and the criteria comes down to what’s best for our consumers, brands and our business. For example, we ask: “Is this platform where our consumers are spending their time? If so, how do we understand how to communicate on that platform?” or “How do we partner with the platform itself, especially if it’s emerging?” You honestly don’t know how it’s all going to work, so you need to go on the journey together. We are always collectively exploring emerging platforms to see what would work best.

Will all of your inventory be automated within five years?

We will move at the pace of the platforms. It’s not a matter of what we’re doing. It’s a matter of where do we place our messages to reach our consumers and are those platforms automated or not?

There are many different platforms so how automation will affect all of those will be different. We are committed to having a pulse on emerging technology and how it will benefit our business.

What will future media agencies look like? How do they need to adapt?

They need to adapt to match the needs of their clients. The key is to understand what that client needs and what’s best for their business. A good media agency will push their clients where they see opportunity and will also move where the client moves.

How does ‘moment marketing’ change the nature of comms planning?

‘Moment marketing’ is interesting because it provides the opportunity to deliver your message at the perfect time. Yet the execution of it, at scale, can be difficult. It’s something that we are working on continually adapting and refining as we move forward. Moment marketing requires collaboration, nimbleness, risk-taking and great process to do well.

How is data changing comms planning?

Data is becoming foundational to comms planning. I’ve been in this industry for more than 15 years and in the last few years, the data that’s become available is incredible. The challenge is looking at the data and ensuring you’re using the right data for your business. Marketers need to spend more time on understanding what data they are using and understanding if it’s the right data to use to achieve your business results.

You have to look at the data as a signal of consumer behaviour or intent. You have to understand the source of the data and ask yourself if you can rely on it and if you are interpreting it properly. The data may say the consumer is doing something but does that mean they’re attempting to do the next thing? For instance, if a consumer has shopped online for a baby 18 months ago is it because there’s a baby in the household or were they buying something for a friend? How do you interpret that data? It takes more work and you have to be certain you can trust the data you’re using.

In the end, this is a very positive advancement for the industry.

How should brands work to get the most from their partnerships/sponsorships/collaborations?

It’s about shared objectives, collaboration and being very clear with the brand about what the value of the partnership or sponsorship. Today, there are many considerations that can be part of a partnership. For example, it could be about sharing data that both parties can bring to the table; it could be about the creation of content, or new channels and venues to sell your product. It’s simply not just about a “fee” of a sponsorship. It’s about the intricacies and value exchanges that both parties bring together in a partnership.

What do you look for in a good integrated campaign?

The hallmark of a good integrated campaign is when there is a simple, key idea that resonates with the consumer. The content and communication that comes out of that is then matched seamlessly with the media choices – making the whole process look almost effortless.

Another key component to good – or great – integrated campaigns is that brand and agencies work collaboratively across “traditional” boundaries to deliver great work that’s great for the brand, the business and the consumers that they’re trying to reach.

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