As part of the WARC x Braze “The invisible enabler” report, Kelly Roe, Head of Creative for The Kitchen at Kraft Heinz, described how data feeds into her creative process and the experiential advantages of brands operating within gaming platforms.

Headshot of Kelly Roe

Kelly Roe, Head of Creative, The Kitchen, Kraft Heinz

Tell us a bit about your role. And also, how has the intersection of tech and creativity affected your role?

I started working with Kraft Heinz a year and a half ago. My role within the organisation is to build a social and digital agency. Kraft Heinz is a CPG (consumer packaged goods) food company and we are trying to get more agile.

Tech and creativity intertwine in a million different ways in our world. We can hit each other up on productivity apps and share ideas instead of having formal presentations. We're also using planned project management tools like Workfront; these automate a lot of manual day-to-day processes.

In the actual work, we focus on what we're doing creatively to reach consumers, the data capabilities of understanding who we're talking to, what product they might like and how that might affect the messaging we use. We also want to learn about our consumers; we use incentives and creativity to help them share that information with us. All-in-all, there are an endless number of ways tech and creativity are a part of my day-to-day.

In terms of how tech is driving creativity, which shifts are you seeing as having the biggest impact? And what’s the future for how tech drives creativity?

You’re hearing a lot about NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and the metaverse right now. These are a huge part of the new spaces we will use to reach consumers. It reminds me of when I started years ago, back to the time we were just starting to market on the internet. It's like a blank slate and a white canvas; anything is possible in this new world.

Where do I think it is going? Kids today are born with cell phones in their hands. They understand tech from day one while a lot of us have had to learn it along the way. As it becomes more integrated into our lives, the separation between tech and creative will also start to dissipate. People ask: Do you want to be innovative or creative? But I see such a parallel between the two of them that it's hard for me to distinguish between the two.

Tech is refreshing well-established campaigns of late. How are you seeing that within your work? And any advice for brands that are looking to refresh already established work?

What's great about social is that it's not permanent. If consumers are not engaging with our content, we can look to see why. Then, we can optimise it accordingly or decide to take it down. We can then go on to create the next thing and generally, just adapt.

My mindset is to always learn and never think that I’m done with something. It's about being eager to learn about consumers’ reactions to things. Are they taking away the message that you want?

Also, changing the creative is so much easier than it used to be. The tools we have in our hands now mean that it's not as set in stone. You can always adapt the voiceover, in-frames and introduce different products and RTPs to see if they resonate more with your consumer.

How is the role of data feeding into your creative process at the moment?

Data feeds into our creative process in two ways – one is, what do we know about the consumer and how we can use that to speak to them in a fun, more personal way? The second is, what do we want to learn about the consumer – what don’t we know about them and how can we incentivise them to share that information with us?

We approach data from both angles depending on if we already know something or if we want to learn more.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on consumers’ expectations. How do you think this intersection between tech and creativity is driving customer experience and making omnichannel prominent?

What the pandemic has done for creativity and tech is important; it has finally helped make the QR code break through to people. We have tried to get consumers to use QR codes to drive our brand experiences for years. It took getting rid of restaurant menus to drive my user to use them [QR codes]. I think now those walls have been broken down and people are expecting experiences to be more seamless.

The pandemic changed consumer shopping behaviour, too. For food products, the fear was originally going to the grocery store. That forced people to start thinking about other ways to get food into their homes, something that tech greatly enabled. Companies and apps stood up to help get food to people's homes quickly. Plus there was the shopping experience of not having to visit a dotcom, but instead, shopping within your social stream to get food delivery.

In recent years, brand and performance have started to come together more. How do you think brands can innovate in the way they bring brand and performance close together in them?

A brand needs to start with what its purpose is. That message needs to be carried through the upper and lower funnels. Unless you have a strong brand message, tone of voice or what you stand for, the different pieces of the funnel are always going to feel disconnected. So, it starts with creative brand messaging and branding at its best.

How can we better deliver across the funnel? We have to just remember that today's consumers were born with phones in their hands. So even the difference between what an awareness-driving asset is and a hard-hitting sales-driving asset is blurred. People don't look at content like that. You can create something entertaining and drive it directly to a sales channel; you don't have to differentiate between the two.

When you think about tech-driven creativity, what lessons do you think we can learn from things like gaming and online communities?

Primarily, we should have fun. People don't think about gaming as tech; they look at it as an experience and as entertainment that they can hold, touch and interact with. For me, that's what the best marketing and advertising do. It's not shouting at consumers and telling them what they want but allowing them to engage and play along with us. It’s also what tech enables us to do. It gives those interactive experiences and creates those in a way that also drives our brand purposes and our messages forward.