1. Face Off: Brands need to step outside their comfort zone, says Guy Abrahams

Face Off: Brands need to step outside their comfort zone, says Guy Abrahams

Why target young trendy women for a coffee machine when you can look at the actual behaviour of new coffee machine buyers...

By: | Published: June 23, 2015 12:37 AM

Why target young trendy women for a coffee machine when you can look at the actual behaviour of new coffee machine buyers and buy media against that audience? This is what Guy Abrahams, worldwide strategic marketing officer of ZenithOptimedia, a part of Publicis Group, has to say when asked about the relevance of paid media versus owned media in today’s world. Mining the reality of the digital world for insights is more fruitful than mining data from surveys and focus groups, says Abrahams. In this interview with FE Brandwagon’s Anushree Chandran, Abrahams advises going to the real world for solutions – doing a pre-testing using Youtube or using social listening as  focus groups— instead of doing a competitive review looking at spends and ads. Edited excerpts:

What are the big changes  in marketing communications?
In a world where advertising is getting easier to avoid, there is a value exchange where consumers will give attention, engagement or action in exchange for relevant brand experiences. The big question is: how do you make brand experiences relevant? We start with the most authentic voice for the brand—which is its own assets that deliver brand experience. We focus on the touch points that work the hardest, rather than cost the most. We call this owned media, based on the principle of systematically thinking backwards. Paid media might be taking the lion’s share of your spend, but owned and earned media is that much more influential. It is therefore important to optimise your owned media before investing in paid. It is important to focus on the consumer journey and experience and to change your audience perspective.

What are the other steps to creating winning brand content?
To deliver new kind of content cost-effectively, one needs to go outside the comfort zone of traditional creative suppliers and embrace the new creativity of those who are native to this digital environment—YouTubers, bloggers, Twitter humorists and app developers. It is also important to use purpose to build longer running ideas. So in the post television era, your big ideas need to be long ideas, like Milo whose grassroots involvement in sport for over 40 years probably makes it one of the world’s leading brands. Our touch point studies have shown than activities like these can create more brand experience and at a lower cost than equivalent television based activity.

ZenithOptimedia advocates the ‘365 approach’ over the 360 approach. What do you mean by that?
The integrated 360-degree marketing campaign built around the advertising idea is not the best approach in a digital age. We should be building marketing ecosystems designed to drive sales 365 days a year.

WPP has entered into a multiyear partnership with Facebook to share data and offer its clients “enhanced insights.” Your thoughts on this deal?
All large agencies have got relationships with Facebook for data. And certainly, I am applying the latest bits of Facebook data all the time. As a planning person, I look at a lot of Facebook data and use that data to get better insights into the audiences globally. It is not in Facebook’s interest to give data to one major supplier in the market place. It has to optimise its revenue and be revenue focused.

The secret for success in the modern age will be how to optimise or use the open source systems, rather than trying to create your own system in isolation. The world is moving too fast to be able to do that.

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