Show 48 – Data & Creativity, Young Lions PR, Augmented Influence

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Show 48 was the third of four shows recorded at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

In part one, Russell Goldsmith spoke with two previous guests of the show, Scott Allen, CMO of Microsoft UK and Vikki Chowney, ‎Director of Content & Publishing Strategies, H+K Strategies about Data & Creativity.

Chatting with Scott Allen and Vikki Chowney

Scott had been part of a panel session at the Festival with other CMOs from PinterestDropbox and Hilton Hotels in a session entitled ‘Clash of the Titans – Where data clashes with creativity’.  He explained that it was to see how CMOs can best use the wealth of data available to them, as they tend to be rich in data but poor on insight.  Within his panel, Scott said they discussed whether or not companies are too data focused at the expense of creativity within your marketing plan, or visa versa, hiring for a modern marketing organisation if you are thinking about data and having more technical proficient people in your team, how we make data more meaningful and whether there is a need for both global and local content anymore as the data is so specific and so does the word ‘glocal’ go away now.

Vikki said that one aspect of this area that excited her was audience mapping, explaining that from a PR perspective, you are now able to get great and very granular audience insights, something that is no longer cost prohibitive, which if used appropriately, can inform creative ideas.

In terms of hiring, Scott had previously said on the Show 45, that we produced in association with MOI Global, that he would like to hire people who are part creative and part scientist, but he added that it’s not a skillset that is easy to find. However, he said he looks to employ people who are business savvy, i.e., those who look at business objectives first rather than marketing tactics first, but he also wants them to have an analytical and data interpreter’s mind set. He added that whilst there is a growing use of AI technology, without the human intervention and interpretation, it doesn’t become that meaningful for you. Finally, Scott feels that the ideal people need to be comfortable integrating into the creative side of the marketing team, so the data team and creative team can lead the campaign strategy and planning together.

This all aligned with the profile of people that Vikki said H+K Strategies are recruiting too, which has changed from people with classic traditional agency experience. She said that her agency are now hiring from publishers and digital agencies, plus people who build things, so that they can work with data creatively, giving them very specific roles built on those outputs and expertise, rather than broad/brushstroke agency titles.  She said that the key to making it work is to ensure that everyone collaborates and doesn’t work in silos.

When it comes to data and creativity working together, Vikki gave an example from a recent Intel project where, using audience mapping, they looked at where people spent their time and what they were interested in. The project was in partnership with the RSC, during the showing of the Tempest at the Globe Theatre in London. She explained that by using data, they saw that the audience Intel were trying to reach about the project were high users of Snapchat, and so as a result, they came up with the idea to run a Snapchat filter – a nice simple way to use a platform already being used by the audience in a cool way.

Finally, Scott explained that data can also help you decide what not to do. As an example, he said that instead of doing something you’ve always done because you thought it was successful, data allows you to be even more uber-targeted.  He gave an example of instead of running a generic event on a particular date, you could use data to say, we need to do an event, in Manchester, on this date, with this audience and this profile, because we’ve done some propensity modelling, and these customers are likely to want to purchase from us so that you bring the right people to the venue at the right time, which will make the event more successful. Scott always tells his team to look 90% forward and 10% backwards and he said that this is a good example of how they do that.

Part two  starts at 14:35

In part two, Russell spoke with the three judges of the Young Lions PR Competition, Blair Metcalfe from MSLGroupCandace Kuss of H+K Strategiesand James Hacking from BlueCurrent, plus the winners of the Bronze award, Estefani Solorzano and Christian Gomez of Comunidad CR [the competition’s Gold was won by the Hungarian team of Luca Hadnagy and Paloma Madina from HPS Experience].

L-R: Blair, Russ, Candace, Estefani, James and Christian

James said that in total, this year’s Young Lions competition attracted 468 entries from 69 counties across 7 categories.

Teams of two from different agencies who had previously won their individual country rounds are given just 24 hours to answer a brief set by a non-profit organisation, and they have to come back and pitch their ideas to the judges.  The PR category was supported by The International Communications Consultancy Organisation, and had entries from 24 countries.

Candace said that it was amazing that the teams who had won their country rounds had come to Cannes from around the world, some as far as China, to compete against each other, and that being on the jury was very insightful because as judges, they learned a lot from the finalists as well as the finalists learning from the experience.

This year’s brief had come in from the British Red Cross.  It’s aim was to raise attention for ‘silent emergencies’, things that happen every day that, for whatever reason, are not necessarily picked up by the mainstream media like a natural disaster or a famine might, yet they account for about 9 out of 10 issues.  James said that judging was very challenging as the quality was extremely high and once they had narrowed it down, they had difficulty placing the winners.

Bronze winners, Estefani and Christian, had made the trip to Cannes Lions from their agency in Costa Rica and they said it was a huge honour to be there, adding that the experience of winning was overwhelming and that they are still trying to get used to it.

Explaining their idea, Christian said that their campaign started by discussing why people did not help with silent emergencies and that people are not able to respond to things they do not hear about.  From here, they decided to invent the idea of a simple hearing test, like the standard test you are given, where you tap when you hear the sound frequency, but for this campaign, when the noise passed below the 20 Hz human listening barrier, instead of not being able to hear anything, you started to hear the stories of those people who experienced silent emergences – the idea being now that you can hear them, you can help them.

This was the first year that the PR category for the Young Lions competition had been included in Costa Rica and so Estefani and Christian felt very proud to have won bronze, plus it gave hem the reassurance that they are on the right career path. Christian said that the entire process does put pressure on you but part of that pressure means that at some point you must believe in your idea and go with it, even with the language barrier, where when he speaks in English a fundamental part of what he is trying to say may not come across, as you just hope it will be as understood across the world.

Candace said that the top five of six entries were the ones that got the judges ‘in the gut’!  They were the most memorable. Many were visual, simple and impactful ideas that paid attention to the target audience well.

For Blair, the benefits of the competition are obvious.  He said that it means that your agency’s young talent is not only showcased at Cannes but also can improve and be supported.  He added that it is great coming together and sharing creative ideas with like-minded individuals but it also helps the competition entrants understand the PR world a little better and that it’s therefore a great benefit for their personal progress, their career progress but also great for their agencies too.

Finally, Christian and Estefani explained that the PR industry in Costa Rica is in its early stages and coming to Cannes is like a glimpse into the future for them. They want to harness what they have learnt and are looking forward to the next project.

Part three starts at 24:41

In the final part of the show, Russell was joined by Guillaume Herbette, Global CEO of MSLGroup and Marie-Pierre Stark-Flora, Global SVP of Philosophy at Coty to talk about Augmented Influence and Purpose Driven Marketing.

Chatting with MSL’s Guillaume Herbette and Marie-Pierre Stark-Flora, of Coty

MSL describe Conversation2Commerce (C2C) as a global influence-to-impact performance platform and a new way of driving sales.  Guillaume said it’s about taking a piece of media or content such as an article, blog or video, and transforming it into an ad unit, through the use of the platform, which can then be put in front of the right target [audience] at the right time and in the right place, which enables you to measure the impact, either in terms of reputation, brand lifting or sales. MSL launched the platform in September 2016 and Guillaume said that since that time have been testing it across world with amazing results. He explained that it is data driven, with the right data, something he didn’t think traditional PR companies had much access to, and why MSL had a partnership with Publicis Media and in particular one of their group companies, Performics that deals with performance marketing.

Marie-Pierre commented that the partnership has worked well.  She said that Coty were an early adopter of the platform and for her, it is a holy grail for the brand. She believes this for a number of reasons as it:

  • closes the loop from earned media and influence to purchase
  • improves ROI and monetises earned media
  • is a genuine non-branded message that doesn’t look like the brand is pushing information of sales in the direction of the consumer – she said that consumers respond less and less when brands are openly trying to influence their purchase pattern
  • accelerates the number steps to purchase, bringing consumers to purchase faster

Guillaume believes that influence has never been more important.  He said that in the past, the brand marketers didn’t think highly of traditional PR campaigns as they felt that they have a short shelf life and it was difficult to know who was reading the newspaper and it was impossible to measure the impact of a PR campaign. However, the power of influence is changing with use of data, enabling us to measure its impact very precisely. He added that due to a recent test, the retail investment of influence is now 7 to 10 times higher and so they now define the use of influence of data, technology and measurement as Augmented Influence.

Talking through a recent small test of MSL’s C2C platform, Marie-Pierre said that in four US states, the earned media ad units were more efficient than traditional online media, with a 36% higher CTR than the benchmark.  However, they also saw the campaign drive 42,000 women to offline stores in three weeks, which she said for a small scale test was amazing. Therefore the cost per visit was 2.5 to 4.5 times lower than their benchmark, allowing them to bring so many more women to the Coty brand for much less budget.

Finally, Marie-Pierre also talked about emotional influence and the fact that Coty have three infuences on women’s life:

  • make them look good with their products
  • feel good with the philosophies that are written on the packaging to lift their spirits and self worth
  • do good, as 1% of their purchases goes to the company’s ‘Hope and Grace’ initiative, which supports women’s mental health.

In fact, Philosophy recently launched PSA called ‘How are you really’ to tie in with National Mental Health month and help create a conversation between those living with mental health issues and those who want to support them.

More information on this initiative can be found at the Hope & Grace website

The Cannes Lions episodes of the csuitepodcast were sponsored by Capstone Hill Search.

Thanks to ICCO for allowing us to carry out the interviews in their House of PR.

All previous shows of the csuitepodcast series are available on Soundclouditunes and TuneIn.  There is also a growing community on Facebook and Twitter, where you can get involved in the discussion.  Finally, if you subscribe to the show, please can you give it a positive rating and review on itunes in particular as this helps it up the charts!

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