The first day of Advertising Week New York 2019 featured approximately 100 sessions – and this list of keynotes and panels seemed to cover almost as many different subjects.

As a brief guide to some of the important themes that emerged on the event’s first day, WARC’s reporters identified various pieces of insight and inspiration that were delivered from the stage by senior marketers and thought leaders:

Beware the competition
“There are 15,000 product launches per year, which means hundreds per day. That’s a 27% increase in the last two years” – Laura Beaudin, partner/global head of marketing excellence at consultancy Bain & Company, highlights the challenge that brands face in standing out in today’s cluttered product categories.

Don't wait – anticipate
“The best marketers don’t chase the consumer journey; they shape it. They don’t wait for consumers to express opinions; they anticipate them. What matters is getting ahead of your consumers, not just in front of them” – Allan Thygesen, president/Americas at tech giant Google, recommends that marketers actively drive change instead of waiting for it to arrive.

Put privacy first
“We put privacy at the center of everything we do. We welcome GDPR and everything that encourages consumer control” – Luis Di Como, evp/global media at Unilever, emphasizes he importance of privacy to the fast moving consumer goods manufacturer.

Laura Beaudin (Bain & Company) and Allan Thygesen (Google)

Understand the impact of brand building
“We’re looking at opinion and consideration, and how those drive actual [market] share numbers, how they drive shareholder value, and the stock price. An interesting chart that I saw recently was that after the recession, brands with higher opinion and consideration actually bounced back sooner than other brands” – Melissa Grady, CMO of automaker Cadillac, addresses how brand building and business results are linked.

Finding value beyond numbers
“Big companies trade on metrics. Small companies trade on truth” – Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of agency VaynerMedia, on what really matters to brands.

Beware of woke-washing
“There’s so much pressure for companies to be seen as doing good that you find companies doing things that are not authentic to who they are” – Diego Scotti, CMO of telecoms company Verizon, issues a warning about the dangers of woke-washing.

Hire young talent
“The average age of a WPP employee is 28. I recently read about a West Coast tech company whose average age is 46. And they’re not doing so well. Bringing in new blood is helpful” – Lindsay Pattison, chief client officer at holding company WPP Group, highlights the importance of recruiting the right people.

Prepare for Personalization
“We formulate a product for your specific hair goals and your hair type, and then we let you pick the color and the fragrance for it. So, it’s really customized for every single individual. We can do 54 trillion possible combinations. We’ve done two million to date. And every single formulation is made to order – and shipped directly to you” – Lorna Sommerville, CMO of Function of Beauty, outlines the direct-to-consumer haircare brand’s core proposition – and why it is not a good fit for brick-and-mortar retail.

Keep it real
“What people like is the authenticity. It is not about production values. TikTok is ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ for the next generation” – Blake Chandlee, a vice president at TikTok, on the video app’s appeal.

Clockwise: Lorna Sommerville (Function of Beauty), Lindsay Pattison (WPP Group), Blake Chandlee (TikTok)

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