An innovative, story-telling approach in Cinema proved itself for a major retailer

At the last DCM Cinema Awards, DFS was the recipient of the award for ‘Best Use of Dynamic Targeting in Cinema’ for their use of Cinema and Mobile Proximity messaging in their Winter Sale campaign. But how did this use of cinema affect media performance?

This year furniture retailer DFS decided that promoting its sale windows on TV was no longer enough to drive its business forward and that there were only so many ‘value seekers’ to be converted from advertising on the channel.

Cinema would be its next destination and not only would the brand be a newcomer to the medium, it would enter the space with a smart and dynamic campaign.

As part of the company’s ambition to become the first billion-pound sofa manufacturer, the plan was to target ‘quality seekers’ in cinemas. But instead of focusing on the latest in-store deals on the big screen, the brand opted to tell stories of the people behind the products in a change of direction.

At the end of the ad, cinemagoers were driven to their mobile devices where the retailer’s full range of sofas and pricing were presented, making for a seamless transition between platforms and maximising engagement in the moment.

MediaCom ran a footfall attribution study which allowed it to track those exposed to the cinema/ mobile activity (vs. a control non-exposed group). This allowed the agency to measure the impact of cinema by attributing any increase at stores back to the activity. This campaign is the best example of the most advanced use of mobile-synced targeting in cinema to date.

In terms of media performance, the cinema activity performed 8% better than the average ROI in the campaign and 32% higher than TV. This leads to the conclusion that innovative, joined up media activity can achieve the incremental gains that all businesses need to grow and thrive.

For a brand that had not previously used cinema as part of their media campaigns, these results proved the decision to introduce cinema was a resounding success. 

Posted by Daniel Breyer, Econometrician, Business Science

Holidays are comin'

Now that Halloween has passed and the weather has turned, it is safe to say that we have well and truly moved into the Christmas season. The launch of the big Christmas ads will only confirm this feeling. As we begin to turn our attention towards Christmas it is safe to say that many brands have been planning this for months.

For most brands, Christmas offers a massive opportunity and not just for growth. However, for some industries it can also come as a major threat. This is especially true for retailers. A strong performance over the festive season can set them up for a strong year, while poor performance means they could be chasing targets well into the New Year. Understanding how Christmas impacts our clients’ business not only helps them to plan for the best/worst, but also helps our media planners and buyers to best take advantage of the underlying market seasonality.

To add a layer of complexity, Christmas will affect retailers in different ways. Some retailers will see a positive impact from the festive period, while others may see a negative impact. The type of category each retailer operates in will be a key driver of this.

Pre and Post Christmas Uplift from Base Sales

Pre and Post Christmas Uplift from Base Sales

Looking specifically at one retailer in particular we have found Christmas affects their individual categories in different ways. For example, some categories (in this case 1 and 2) begin to build a number of weeks before the week of Christmas, while others don’t begin to see an impact of the big day until 1 or 2 weeks beforehand. Likewise the post-Christmas impact is very different across these categories, with some continuing to experiences uplifts into the New Year, while other see decreases from average sales.

Econometrics allows us to not only measure whether there is a positive or negative impact on our modelled KPIs over specific time periods, but we can also quantify exactly how big or small this impact is. This information becomes especially useful when we overlay the seasonality of media buying costs or compare it against the key seasonal times.

Posted by Kevin Fitzgibbon, Business Science Manager

The Impact of Brexit is likely to be felt in FMCG prices

Since the UK voted for Brexit, the pound has fallen by around a fifth against the dollar and 15% against the euro. The plummeting value of the pound is likely to affect prices on the high street, as companies that import goods from abroad pass on these higher prices to consumers.

Analysts predict this is unlikely to happen immediately as most retailers 'hedge' for several months' worth of their foreign exchange needs. However, as these hedges expire, retailers and brands face a choice to increase prices, and risk losing the custom of a population who are becoming increasingly comfortable buying budget branded substitutes from the discount retailers non-brand, OR accept lower margins on the items they sell.

A balance needs to be found between FMCG brands and retailers as shown by Marmitegate: a day long stand-off between Unilever and Tesco, when superbrands such as Marmite, Hellman's Mayonnaise, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove toiletries were removed from the grocer's website. Eventually a compromise agreement was reached partly due to the fact they are the biggest players in the FMCG and retailer sectors so it was headline news. However, two weeks ago Morrisons raised its Marmite price by 12.5% (not headline news) demonstrating that price increases are a reality. 

Unilever has received much criticism because most of the products in question are produced in the UK. It says it uses imported ingredients and packaging, but the lesson must be that price increases need to be handled sensitively. Communications should highlight that there are genuine unavoidable reasons for the price rise and that substitutions don't offer the guarantee of quality that customers favourite brands do.

However, in good news for FMCG brands, analysts say the weaker pound will be most noticeable on more expensive goods, as many people just won’t notice (or are willing to stump up) an extra 30p on the price of their beloved Marmite.

Posted by Ben Marcangelo, Manager, Business Science

Thrilled to be part of the first ever Effectiveness Week Conference from the IPA!

Our Head of Business Science, Jane Christian will be on the closing panel of the conference discussing about how to effectively build brands in the short and longer term. 

One of our Directors, Matt Wragg is talking attribution at an IAB sponsored satellite event. 

Finally, we've got our very own George Gloyn and Ruan VandeVenter chatting to all the conference attendees about our skills and expertise in marketing effectiveness.

A great event for the effectiveness industry! #effweek


Brrrr.....its getting cold outside

November has arrived bringing with it colder temperatures and forecasts for the next few months predict it to get much colder, potentially with snowfall. This will have an impact on sales for many brands so planning for it within the marketing strategy is key.

One of the major benefits of econometrics is its ability to measure all factors that impact on sales, not just the media impact. Factors include seasonality, weather, price, promotions, economic impacts, competitor activity and so forth. 

Our client work shows that retailers tend to lose sales when it is cold. In particular, prolonged bad weather, especially snowfall, can bring reductions in revenue of up to -10%.

On the flip side, charities often benefit when it snows, seeing an increase in the number of people donating by direct debit.

Even within brands, different product categories react differently to changes in weather. The chart below shows the impact of a 1 degree Celsius rise in average temperatures. In this case, outdoor product categories benefit from an increase in temperature and indoor product categories see the opposite. 

While we would instinctively predict this relationship, econometrics provides the insights that tell us how 'big' the impact is on sales and within which product groups. This helps brands to maximise sales response by ensuring media is carrying the right product message based on the weather forecast. 

Posted by Deepali Shah, Manager, Business Science

We are very excited to announce that we have been shortlisted for more awards!

We are delighted to have been shortlisted in the Campaign Media Awards for our work on SKODA UK. We are in the Best Use of Research category. 

Looking forward to the results announcements on 9th November!

We have also been shortlisted for an MRS Award for Advertising and Media Research for our work on Thinkbox!

Looking forward to the results announcements on 5th December!

The future is not all about digital....

It has always been clear in our minds that all media channels have a valid and relevant role within a comprehensive media strategy. If a client comes to us with a scenario of the likely return from putting all their investment solely in digital media channels, we can confidently predict that this will be to the detriment of the brand in the long term. 

Peter Field, in an article for MediaTel, rightly argues that traditional media will continue to play a key role alongside digital media in successful future marketing campaigns. 

The objectives of a campaign need to planned for and set out in advance. Media needs to be planned according to the job it is setting out to achieve, whether that be short term sales or long term brand building. The effectiveness of each channel needs to be measured against those objectives. In doing this it will become clear that both traditional and digital channels play an important role in a successful campaign. 

We have been shortlisted for not one, not two, but THREE awards!

We are extremely happy to announce that we have been shortlisted for THREE awards!

The first two are for the MediaWeek awards in the Econometrics category for our work on Thinkbox and Moonpig!

The third is for an IPA Effectiveness Award to which we have contributed to a paper written by adam&eveDDB for our work on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

We're looking forward to the announcement of the winners!

Why Newsworks is right to rally support from the industry for Print

Newsworks recently presented to the industry the conclusions of a huge piece of research that they commissioned earlier this year. The study investigates the effectiveness of Print and Digital in today's connected world.

A quick glance at the Print industry suggests things are not looking great. Whether you look at Newsbrands national daily newspapers or Sundays, circulation or readership, the picture is bleak with approximately a 50% drop off since 2006. Even just looking over the past year, we saw declines of over 10%. In addition, advertising revenues have fallen by over a third in the last 5 years with digital channels taking a much larger share, accounting for a third of all media spend in 2015.

The aim of the analysis was to prove that despite this, Print is still effective and will continue to hold its own as part of an effective media strategy.

Our first response to the research is that we need to be clear as an industry on the data that we focus on to guide us in our investment decisions. While print readership and circulation for Newsbrands are declining, reach has more than doubled since 2011 when we add in mobile, desktop and multi-platform users.

Lorna Tilbian, an influential City media analyst, points to the example set by newspapers during Brexit. An extra 90,000 newspapers sold each day in June in the lead up to the national referendum.  Tilbian identifies this as an indicator of how people rely on newspapers for their opinion. It proves that readers are highly engaged with the content, which can translate into a 'hard ROI' for advertisers. In fact, the Newsworks study showed that advertising in newspapers improves the overall ROI by a factor of 3. Looking across our clients, we agree directionally with many of the conclusions from the Newsworks research, although sometimes not to the same extent. Working on an ROI basis with some of the UKs largest brands, we have advised over recent years that despite the reduction in readership, for most brands, investing in print is still the right thing to do in both the short and long term.

In our recent in-depth analysis of response for Thinkbox, we identified that Print drives on average 8% of the total short-term response (up to 3 months after the campaign) driven by media. In addition, we also identified that Print, along with OOH, is the second most powerful medium at driving brand metrics, delivering response over the longer-term (up to 2 years after the campaign). Digital, on the other hand, is the weakest channel at driving longer-term effects. 

Looking on a client-by-client basis across our top print spenders, this relationship continues to hold true. In addition, the multiplier effect of Print identified in the study is also clear to see, although less than the factor of 3 that Newsworks suggest. Within the pharmaceutical sector, Print delivers 10% more response when flighted at the same time as TV. This multiplicative effect is replicated in the travel sector, where Print proactively drives sales through the online channels. Its strongest impact is on affiliates, followed by display and search. Another highlight is in the Automotive sector, where we see that combining Print with TV has a stronger impact on brand health measures than just using TV alone, against the core target audience. Across key measures such as Consideration, Purchase Intent, Impression, Value and Reputation, Print drives an additional 3% uplift on the brand metrics.

The Newsworks Effectiveness Study and our own client examples back up that Print is still a strong medium, delivering against short term and longer term measures, both on its own and when used in conjunction with other media.

Nobody denies that Print readership has fallen in recent years. Newsworks however suggests that the industry has been too extreme in cutting print budgets. A 30% drop in revenues in the last five years has already been witnessed with industry forecasts estimating that revenues will continue to fall by 10% every year. Newsworks recommend that optimal investment levels print should be higher than they are currently.

Our own analysis agrees that Print budgets should be higher, not always to the same extent that the Newsworks research shows. The analysis we conduct for our clients allows us to make bespoke recommendations on the optimal allocation of budget between channels, based on maximising overall ROI. In recent years the analysis has suggested reducing print budgets, but not to the extent that the industry as a whole has. Yes Print ROIs have fallen a little, suggesting reallocating spend, but at much more conservative levels. 




The next generation of bingo

Bingo club admissions have been in decline since 2012, but investment into new formats and venue updates aim to put a stop to this decline and move the market in a positive direction. A big topic of conversation is how to broaden the appeal of bingo, particularly for younger players who currently view bingo as something for a slightly older audience.

With this in mind, what is the industry doing to invigorate bingo halls in an attempt to attract younger age groups?

In 2016, Mecca and Gala proposed new venue concepts in order to appeal to a younger audience. Mecca plans to open city-centre venues with a range of food and drink in order to create a similar social environment to bars, pubs and coffee shops. Gala has also designed a new venue, where there’s slot machines, ‘after-hours Bingo’ and pub style food to attract younger players as well as a 500 seat hall for a more traditional bingo experience.

While the industry are going to great lengths to encourage younger generations to visit bingo halls, are there any opportunities to attract younger age groups to play online?

Recent results from Mintel suggest there’s potential for mobile gambling to attract a younger audience, as the proportion of 18-24 year olds using smartphones to gamble is higher than that of desktop (44% vs. 32%).

As well as this, our Business Science benchmarks for the Entertainment & Leisure sector show that since the beginning of 2016, the proportion of web traffic driven by mobile has overtaken that of desktop and continues to increase.

However, Gala Bingo claim that over half of its members are now playing on electronic tablets in their bingo halls, demonstrating that retail and online bingo don’t have to be treated as two separate entities. As well as creating a more informal and flexible atmosphere, the merging of online and retail bingo allows the two types of play to work together, allowing for a more seamless experience for customers.

The effectiveness industry is in a crisis! Or is it?

Apparently, the effectiveness industry is in a crisis. In a recent blog post for MediaTel, Dominic Mills argues that the evidence supposedly meant to measure ad effectiveness is just too feeble to truly work. Backed up by key individuals within the industry, he points to a number of issues that broadly cover:

  1. a lack of understanding on the right metrics to measure
  2. a tendency to opt for the easy route by tracking
  3. overvaluing the channels that can be measured and too much focus on the short-term

Mills believes that digital is the root cause of all issues, leading us to feel as if we are drowning in data that is very short term and hard to integrate with the measurement of other media. In addition, the growth in walled gardens is making multi-platform, multi-media campaign measurement more difficult.

The first thought from reading the article is that the effectiveness industry as a whole needs to finally accept the ever-evolving world we now live in. We can’t turn back time to the days of 2 TV channels. There is not one definitive answer any more; it is too idealistic to expect that one measurement technique can cover all the different media and response channels. The ultimate goal is still the same as it always has been. Our aim is to get as many consumers as possible to buy our stuff and to keep buying it. As Alex Steer points out in the Newswork Effectiveness forum, human behaviour is largely consistent over time. What has changed is the way we can reach and engage with consumers. 

The central approach to this is how we define success for that brand, and how that definition differs over time (tomorrow, next week, next month).

This is all about making sure measurement is not seen as an after-thought. Data-led planning measured against reaching predetermined outcomes inherently needs success criteria to evaluate whether it worked. The effectiveness industry therefore needs to be involved in these up-front conversations to set viable benchmarks and help create a relevant measurement framework. This must take into account the potential interactions between different media and response, versus the agreed outcomes, accounting for the right measurement techniques.

This probably won’t be enough to combat short-termism. I’m not convinced we will ever be able to fully alleviate a client’s fear surrounding a multi-million pound product launch but a well communicated & agreed plan as to how, when & with what we evaluate success will definitely help.

Our approach to these walled gardens also needs to change. It’s only natural we feel threatened by these global behemoths who hold so much rich data but in reality we need to see these companies as an opportunity. We not only offer neutrality, but our role is to bring these disparate insights under a measurement umbrella to create a compelling narrative for our clients. Yes, we might lose some involvement surrounding the modelling & tech, but that shouldn’t diminish the importance of our all-seeing objective role. 

Is the effectiveness industry in crisis? Absolutely not. Effectiveness is evolving and developing with the rest of the media industry. By rolling with the changes and understanding that a ‘one size fits all approach’ won’t work, we will continue to deliver strong insights on the effectiveness of the marketing investment for our clients. We need to think of communications measurement as a framework. We need to measure each channel on its own merit and in the right context.

To read Dominics viewpoint, click here

How do Consumers Choose their Motor Insurance Policy?

The motor insurance market is changing, and consumers are faced with an increasing number of brands, with varying prices and offers, to choose from. The growth of aggregators within the market has made it easier for consumers to compare many brands at once, making it ever more important for brands to present a competitive proposition.

But in such a cluttered market how exactly do customers choose between brands?

To answer this question for our motor insurance clients we used our Proposition Optimiser tool, putting together a piece of tailored conjoint analysis research. The aim of the project was to reveal what attributes drive customer decisions when they are choosing where to purchase motor insurance from.

Respondents were asked to choose one option from a number of options presented to them, based on the four attributes we looked at: Brand, Price, Value and Offers.

Our research found that whilst all four attributes played a part in driving consumer choice, brand and price had the largest role to play.

Within the brand attribute we tested a number of well-known names in the insurance market. Although this is the most important attribute for consumers, it is the hardest for brands to adjust. This is because consumers have well-formed opinions on brands that cannot easily be changed. Factors such as heritage also play into this which is again out of the brands control. However increasing the marketing budget brand awareness can be improved, which may help performance in this attribute.

Within the price attribute we tested a number price propositions. We found that phrasing can have a huge effect on price-level attractiveness - guaranteed savings win over potential savings claims.

The work also revealed some useful learnings around what offers perform best. We found that the offers that included freebies that were not insurance related were the highest performing, although only when the brand of the freebie was stated.

By implementing learning from this research our client was able to increase policy sales, with the introduction of a freebie offer proving to be particularly effective.


The Connected Consumer Conference June 2016

This year a few of us attended the Connected Consumer conference. Across a day of panel sessions and short presentations, the aim of the conference was to cover all things “Connected”: connected consumers; connected brands; connected screens; connected data; connected technologies; connected planning and trading.

Reassuringly, we all came away with the same conclusion. Whilst we learnt nothing new and ground-breaking, everyone is facing the same challenges as we are. The CEO of Aviva, Jan Gooding, sums up todays environment:

‘People have changed their behaviour, their expectations have changed but the fundamentals of marketing have not changed.’

The key themes that emerged were:

Brands need to find ways to deliver great experiences

Most importantly, in a way that is non-creepy. Consumers do not want to feel like they are being followed around. Brands need to show consumers that they will use their data to personalise the experience but not share it, in order to gain consumers trust. A great case study is the Share a Coke campaign which gave something back to the consumer for sharing their details.

Partnerships are growing massively, no-one will be able to deliver the scale of the experience required on their own.

Technology is enabling new things

Technology is now a given, its become second nature. There is an average of 2.7 devices per individual. We’re all used to it in our personal lives, however businesses have been left behind. The fragmentation of digital with hundreds of channels and platforms has resulted in consumers with very small attention spans. In 2000, consumers visited on average 25 websites per month. Now consumers access 150 digital touchpoints per day across apps such as Facebook, email twitter and so on.

However there are opportunities for Brands within this environment. Battersea Dogs Home used OOH to target consumers who had picked up leaflets with a radio frequency tag in a shopping centre, by serving their ads on the OOH screens as the consumers walked round, reinforcing their message.

We’re too focused on measuring every touchpoint

We need to avoid over measurement and concentrate on measuring the right thing, not the clicks. Its about how the business is performing and how you are contributing to that. It’s a business challenge, not a marketing challenge. Everything is marketing. Everyone should be empowered to do what is needed to make the team/business successful.

Digital needs redefining, its not digital marketing but marketing in a digital age

Digital is about all data. Consumers create the data and Brands already have all the data they need. We need to focus on ‘data positive marketing’. Agencies, social and brands need to move away from silos and work together as a system. The digital transformation/reinvention will mean a move away from ‘media’ for agencies and the role of the agency will be to have the big idea and to encourage the co-creation of the brand.

Adtech is disruptive

There isn’t a process around the adtech companies, who are working in big data with no standardisation. Technology companies have become media companies yet don’t have the consumer experience. We need currencies to plan against, trade against, measure against and provide ROI. We need to be able to prove the value of engagement.

There is a rise in the ‘unconnected’ consumer

Consumers are overdosed and overwhelmed. The rise of ad blocking has proven that consumers have growing concerns over trust, transparency, brand safety and fraud. People are actively disconnecting. At all times we have to think of the person behind the data.

Consumers are device agnostic

However they expect to have the same experience across all devices. While we have a continual challenge to measure across devices, the creative needs to be consistent. Content and experiences need to be device appropriate.

Data needs to tell stories

It allows is to understand the consumer journey and reduce wastage. We need to create the human link with data and be contextually relevant. Be in the moment.

Emotional data is key, more important than behavioural data

Purchase choices are made emotionally, not rationally. Brands need to use mood and emotions as signals and serve the right message at the right time with the right feeling. For example, if its sunny, send a message suitable to being sunny and happy. While people are enjoying their 6pm glass of wine, they are more likely to shop, the creative needs to evolve to be contextually relevant. 

And finally, its always about selling more stuff!

Measure what matters

Choosing the right KPIs to measure both marketing efforts and overall business success has always been important. Business KPIs can either be hard or soft. Hard metrics such as sales, footfall and traffic to a website are ultimately what a marketing manager is tasked with moving but soft metrics have their place in any robust measurement strategy as well. Understanding the value of your brand through brand tracking measures such as awareness, consideration and purchase intent can be the key to unlocking extensive long term growth.

It goes without saying that the main measure of the success of media should ultimately be driving growth in the business. Be that increasing sales volume and revenue, generating more leads or getting more customers through the door. Any CFO will question the investment in advertising if it is not leading to business growth. It’s very easy these days to get caught up in click through rates, likes and retweets but if your media strategy isn’t delivering growth in your business you’ve got a problem. The, some may say disastrous, shift of Pepsi to a very social media heavy strategy a few years back is testament to this. Choosing to measure the metrics that represent growth in your business is important.

Brand. Any worthwhile strategist will tell you the importance of having a strong brand. Advertising has always had a double edged effect. Spend £10m on Brand TV and you’d expect to get a decent uplift in short term sales and return on your investment. You would also hope the mass reach generated by the channel is building awareness of your brand, moving consumers to consider and eventually getting them to purchase whatever it is your business is selling. Building your brand may not always deliver right now but ensuring growth in the future is a very savvy approach to business. We’ve proven this relationship for numerous clients over the years. Understanding the dynamics of your purchase funnel and where you currently sit within that is crucial. This area is also the main benefit of social media. Tapping into social listening can be an eye opener to what the average Joe is saying about your brand.

Choosing the right KPIs to measure the success of your media against is only the first hurdle. The second is employing a robust measurement strategy across each of these KPIs to understand their underlying drivers. As part of the broader move to systems thinking within MediaCom, Business Science has been employing a holistic measurement approach across a number of clients to try and understand the drivers of each component of their systems. Whether this is looking at how increased web traffic leads to improved physical in-store sales or understanding the interactions between different digital media touchpoints through attribution modelling, having a clear understanding of how your system works is crucial in the modern, connected world.

Choose your KPIs wisely. Measure them properly.



Understanding the impact of outside factors on your business

A large retail client of Business Science has seen significant growth year on year in majority of their departments, however kitchens sales have been declining over the past few years. Whilst this decline has slowed considerably in recent years, several successful kitchens campaigns have not been able to stop it completely suggesting that there is an underlying explanation not affected by media.

It is known that this retailer’s seasonality spikes following an increase in home mortgage approvals, where specifically the bathrooms, bedrooms, decoration and kitchens departments are most highly correlated with mortgage approvals.

During our latest econometrics project, the team split the UK into three sections- Scotland, England & Wales and London- in order to compare sales in those stores to the trend in house sales and/or mortgage approvals. Research found that the volume of house sales in Scotland had increased by 12% year on year (Registers of Scotland), while kitchen sales in Scottish stores were up by 5%. In contrast, the volume of house sales in England & Wales had decreased by 6% year on year (UK Land Registry), while kitchen sales in these stores were down by 9%. In London specifically, the volume of house sales had decreased by 12% year on year (UK Land Registry), while kitchen sales in London stores were also down by 12%. This lead to the logical conclusion that kitchen sales were being dramatically affected by the housing market.

Further research found that the percentage of the population renting privately has increased by 5% since 2008 (English Housing Survey, GOV UK). Consequently if more people are renting, then less people will be in the market for buying a kitchen in the short term, although they may buy from our retailer in the long term if brand health is strong. From 2016 onwards, the UK Land Registry has predicted that housing transactions will begin to increase every year and given this, it is important for our retailer to keep on advertising. Generating long term benefit from the kitchen campaigns will help improve kitchen sales performance, while also ensuring the retailer’s long-term position in the kitchen market.

An econometrics project for another Business Science client, who is a higher education provider, has previously found that although the economy offers a small contribution to the total number of course registrations, it can be a main driver of increased volumes. A stable economy allows people to feel more confident and like they can invest in education, which can be costly. Research into possible future scenarios found that should the economy worsen again, the way to overcome this would be to focus on driving consumer opinion that higher education is worth the cost.

A different large retailer also experienced the impact of the economy when a short term shock in demand occurred during Easter 2015, causing a 1.8% decrease in sales compared to the previous period. Although the economic climate had significantly improved compared to the previous period, all major economic indicators showed a sudden drop over Easter. Research found that this was likely caused by the proximity of Easter to their Winter Sale as well as the financial uncertainty caused by the upcoming general election in May 2015, which prompted consumers to hold off or cancel their purchase plans.

Having seen that the economy has such an impact on clients across various sectors, it will certainly be interesting to see how the British public vote in the EU referendum this Thursday!

Thinkbox Big Think

Last week we attended Thinkbox’s Big Think event. It was billed as a morning to tackle the big issues in advertising and marketing for 21st century brands, creativity, technology and the dangers of bad research. It was a really thought provoking morning with some interesting content.

First up was Adam Morgan, the founder of eatbigfish, talking about his new book, "A Beautiful Constraint". The book describes how to take the kinds of issues that all of us face today—lack of time, money, resources, attention, know-how—and see in them the opportunity for transformation of oneself and one's organisation's fortunes. The ideas in the book are based on the authors' extensive work as business consultants, and are brought to life in 35 personal interviews from such varied sources as Nike, IKEA, Unilever, the U.S. Navy, Formula One racecar engineers, public school teachers in California, and barley farmers in South Africa. Underpinned by scientific research into the psychology of breakthrough, the book is a practical handbook full of tools and tips for how to make more from less.

We then listened to three of the IPA Diploma’s class of 2016 talk us through their essays. The overarching theme was 21st Century brands. Key takeouts included how brands should facilitate consumers to live more dangerously, in the belief that this will enable deeper and more meaningful relationships between brands and consumers. In addition, there is a belief that brands today want to link with popular events or colonise the latest platform and out shout the nearest competitor – is this all really necessary? Brands should avoid knee jerk reactions and think about whether a link with popular events is relevant for them. We also heard about how the environment is as important as bringing brilliant individuals together to solve today’s clients questions. Finally, we should consider what we can learn from the quiet brands;  these have a strong sense of purpose, identity and consistency. It doesn’t mean that these brands don’t communicate to consumers, but they do it in a considered way. Often, these introvert brands have strong bonds with their customers and generate better customer experience.

The final session highlighted the dangers of poor research. Ben Page, the CEO of Ipsos MORI warned us to be aware – what the public think and what is true differ. In addition, it’s not the size of the sample but how it’s been selected. He used the example of the 1936 USA election poll and demonstrated that a badly chosen big sample is much worse than a well-chosen small sample. Page stressed the importance of ensuring your methodology is fit for purpose and addresses the question you need to answer. Remember that correlation does not imply causation. Be aware of claimed vs. actual, people can be impacted without remembering, intent to purchase increases for those consumers who have been exposed but don’t recall. 

You can watch all the sessions from the morning by clicking here.