How iProspect Is Building an End-to-End Media Mindset

How iProspect Is Building an End-to-End Media Mindset

Danielle Gonzales, CEO Americas, and Duncan Smith, Chief Media Officer US, at iProspect sat down with Adweek to discuss where the agency is headed and the new media mindset.   How have iProspect’s own brand initiatives progressed since the refresh in March? How has iProspect redefined itself? Danielle Gonzales: It’s been a transformative moment for iProspect—we evolved our organization to offer clients a competitive advantage by bringing a performance mindset to all media decisions. In addition, we’ve cross-trained our teams, brought together expert skillsets, [and] better enabled tools and technology to be used for end-to-end connectivity.  We’ve already seen a considerable amount of progress with the positioning and output of iProspect over the last year. The vision of iProspect enabled significant wins, such as Cox Communications and LinkedIn, as a true full-service, performance-driven media agency. We have been accelerating the delivery of those services not only for Cox Communications and LinkedIn but across our client portfolio every day.   Not only has the balance of the work shifted, building on our world-class performance foundations to offer more strategic and omnichannel activation, we have also evolved the internal organization and services to form a cultural mindset. Over the past year, we have built a larger, stronger and more consolidated strategy team to work across our entire portfolio, continuing to drive market-leading thought leadership around all things performance while balancing that with award-winning brand strategy and personnel. We have also doubled down on communications planning expertise and are currently raising the bar for those disciplines across the entire body of our account management and planning teams.    As we continue to evolve and accelerate growth, we want to ensure that our mission to close the gap between brand and demand is well heard, understood and embraced by our clients and the industry. In addition, we will continue to develop thought leadership around the intersection of all things performance. How has the company’s approach to performance marketing evolved? How has the definition sharpened or been refocused in terms of the work iProspect has been doing? Duncan Smith: iProspect has always been at the vanguard of performance marketing. Our belief that no dollar should be left unaccounted for can now be applied across every interaction with a consumer, driving communications and commerce up and down the marketing funnel. To achieve this means taking the lens of performance to all of the media and marketing decisions activated by our clients—evolving our product to be more strategic and consultative, more outcomes-focused across every touchpoint, and more dynamic and addressable in execution. Check out the full article here 0

3 mins read

Danielle Gonzales Joins iProspect as Its First North America CEO

Danielle Gonzales Joins iProspect as Its First North America CEO

NEW YORK, NY — October 5, 2021 -- iProspect, a dentsu company, announced today that it has appointed Danielle Gonzales as its first North America CEO. In this new role, Danielle will guide over 1,000 specialists across the US and Canada, leading a unified team in elevating the agency’s end-to-end capabilities to accelerate growth through a performance mindset. Danielle will report to Doug Rozen, CEO, dentsu Media – Americas and become a member of the dentsu Media Americas executive team. With a deep knowledge of changing consumer behaviors, innovative media connections, and data-driven storytelling, Danielle is known for how she redefines media approaches that push business outcomes. Danielle joins iProspect from Publicis Groupe, where she was recently elevated to President and Chief Client Officer of Publicis Media North America. Before that she was President and Chief Client Officer at Starcom, where she led North America and global client partnerships for KraftHeinz, McDonald’s, and BeamSuntory across Publicis Groupe’s media, communications, data, and tech teams. With over 25 years of industry experience, Danielle has helped transform clients’ marketing and communications connections from siloed to complete consumer experiences.  Before her leadership positions at Starcom, she led the largest multicultural media agency Tapestry for more than a decade. At Tapestry, Danielle successfully grew the business by double digits for five consecutive years. Doug Rozen, CEO, dentsu Media Americas said: “Danielle is a get it done, master practitioner that truly knows the how, the what, and the why -- which allows her to push the status quo and stay ahead of what’s next. Her ability to understand the radical shifts in media and develop client friendships beyond just a professional relationship is exactly what the new iProspect requires to capitalize on their impressive full suite of services. Danielle brings a leadership style of boldness and empowerment that not only champions systematic change, but creates an inclusive environment for our people, clients, and partners.” Danielle is also a well-recognized industry leader, having been named Ad Age’s Women to Watch, Adweek’s Media All-Star, and HispanicAd.com’s Media Planning Executive of the Year in recent years. On joining iProspect, Danielle commented: “The next evolution of marketing involves improving performance at every bend of the consumer journey, and iProspect’s unmatched expertise and craftsmanship makes them unstoppable. I’ve seen first-hand the power of product and the value it brings to global brands and iProspect is perfectly positioned as the agency to not only accelerate growth for those brands, but also make a distinct impact on the industry. I’m excited to lead this forward-thinking team focused on delivering real outcomes.” Amanda Morrissey, Global President, iProspect added: “iProspect is the agency designed to deliver more effective growth across the entire media spectrum through the intersection of brand and demand. Danielle’s fierce ability to know consumers and their needs will play an integral role in shaping iProspect’s unique culture and client relationships.” Danielle joins iProspect at a transformative moment, recently launching into a game-changing digital-first end-to-end media agency. iProspect was also chosen as a global strategic media partner for LinkedIn anchored out of the US, and named the agency to handle Cox Communications US ad planning and buying business. In addition, it has won numerous accolades at industry events this year, including the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Original article on Adweek   Danielle Gonzales joins iProspect as its first North America CEO NEW YORK, NY — October 5, 2021 -- iProspect, a dentsu company, announced today that it has appointed Danielle Gonzales as its first North America CEO. In this new role, Danielle will guide over 1,000 specialists across the US and Canada, leading a unified team in elevating the agency’s end-to-end capabilities to accelerate growth through a performance mindset. Danielle will report to Doug Rozen, CEO, dentsu Media – Americas and become a member of the dentsu Media Americas executive team. With a deep knowledge of changing consumer behaviors, innovative media connections, and data-driven storytelling, Danielle is known for how she redefines media approaches that push business outcomes. Danielle joins iProspect from Publicis Groupe, where she was recently elevated to President and Chief Client Officer of Publicis Media North America. Before that she was President and Chief Client Officer at Starcom, where she led North America and global client partnerships for KraftHeinz, McDonald’s, and BeamSuntory across Publicis Groupe’s media, communications, data, and tech teams. With over 25 years of industry experience, Danielle has helped transform clients’ marketing and communications connections from siloed to complete consumer experiences.  Before her leadership positions at Starcom, she led the largest multicultural media agency Tapestry for more than a decade. At Tapestry, Danielle successfully grew the business by double digits for five consecutive years. Doug Rozen, CEO, dentsu Media Americas said: “Danielle is a get it done, master practitioner that truly knows the how, the what, and the why -- which allows her to push the status quo and stay ahead of what’s next. Her ability to understand the radical shifts in media and develop client friendships beyond just a professional relationship is exactly what the new iProspect requires to capitalize on their impressive full suite of services. Danielle brings a leadership style of boldness and empowerment that not only champions systematic change, but creates an inclusive environment for our people, clients, and partners.” Danielle is also a well-recognized industry leader, having been named Ad Age’s Women to Watch, Adweek’s Media All-Star, and HispanicAd.com’s Media Planning Executive of the Year in recent years. On joining iProspect, Danielle commented: “The next evolution of marketing involves improving performance at every bend of the consumer journey, and iProspect’s unmatched expertise and craftsmanship makes them unstoppable. I’ve seen first-hand the power of product and the value it brings to global brands and iProspect is perfectly positioned as the agency to not only accelerate growth for those brands, but also make a distinct impact on the industry. I’m excited to lead this forward-thinking team focused on delivering real outcomes.” Amanda Morrissey, Global President, iProspect added: “iProspect is the agency designed to deliver more effective growth across the entire media spectrum through the intersection of brand and demand. Danielle’s fierce ability to know consumers and their needs will play an integral role in shaping iProspect’s unique culture and client relationships.” Danielle joins iProspect at a transformative moment, recently launching into a game-changing digital-first end-to-end media agency. iProspect was also chosen as a global strategic media partner for LinkedIn anchored out of the US, and named the agency to handle Cox Communications US ad planning and buying business. In addition, it has won numerous accolades at industry events this year, including the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Original article on Adweek   0

6 mins read

The Beginning of A New Era

The Beginning of A New Era

The global demand for privacy is one of the most consequential consumer dynamics at play today.   Across the globe, 91% of consumers are concerned about the amount of data that companies can collect about them, [i] and 42% have taken steps to reduce the amount of data they share online.[ii]   In light of this desire for increased privacy, most technology platforms have recently implemented or announced restrictions around data collection and user tracking through their web browsers and operating systems.   For brands and the advertising industry, the magnitude of this evolution is massive.   On the short term, it is undoubtedly a source of conundrums for many marketers and publishers. Processes, ways of workings, legal compliance efforts, technology stacks, customer data strategies – even business models – must be reviewed and rethought to limit business disruption.   Yet, in the long term, it offers a unique opportunity to (re)build trust between brands and consumers around the data issue. Success will hinge on increasing efforts to educate audiences (67% of consumers declare they have little to no understanding about how their data is being used[iii]) and defining a right value exchange that works for all (only 15% of consumers feel they are getting a good value from granting access to their data[iv]).   In the midst of sensationalist headlines, technical solutions still being worked out, and a lack of shared standards to get behind, it is normal for marketers to feel lost and nervous. In a recent marketer survey we conducted, 60% of respondents declared they are not familiar with tracking prevention or are unsure about the consequences on their business, showing that this fast-changing landscape is not fully understood yet.[v]   In this new dentsu definitive guide for global marketers, The Cookieless World, we rise above unique market perspectives and cut through the ambient noise to help you focus on what you should know today and investigate tomorrow to be ready in 2023, when the world will become cookieless.   For more, download the full report today: http://ow.ly/KDTK50FKTaJ    [i] Microsoft Advertising in partnership with iProspect, 2020 Consumer Privacy and Brand Trust Survey, Dec 2019 – Mar 2020, as featured in the report In Brands We Trust, published in April 2020   [ii] Dentsu, Decoding Data Dynamics: Digital Society Index 2020, Global survey of 32,000 respondents   [iii] MMicrosoft Advertising in partnership with iProspect, 2020 Consumer Privacy and Brand Trust Survey, Dec 2019 – Mar 2020, as featured in the report In Brands We Trust, published in April 2020   [iv] Microsoft Advertising in partnership with iProspect, 2020 Consumer Privacy and Brand Trust Survey, Dec 2019 – Mar 2020, as featured in the report In Brands We Trust, published in April 2020   [v] iProspect, iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, November 2020, as featured in Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated, published in April 2021 0

3 mins read

Making the most of Attention by Aligning UX with Consumer Intent.

Making the most of Attention by Aligning UX with Consumer Intent.

This article is authored by Chris Philp, VP, Lead, SEO and Karen Kysar, Senior Director CX Strategy.    Advertising campaigns are not the only ways for brands to get consumers’ attention. Guiding them when they search for information, helping them to learn more about a topic, and assisting them in accomplishing what they want are powerful means for brands to capture their interest and to influence what happens next.   To design valuable, consumer-centric experiences that will be noticed by their audiences, marketers should focus on three priorities: correctly interpreting intent, solving users’ problems and delivering on expectations.   Understand intent Correctly interpreting intent is not just about observing consumers’ search activities and the various tasks they perform throughout the day, but also about understanding their reasons and the context around them. First-party data is a good place to start. For instance, website analytics inform about the kind of audiences you attract, CRM data show who buys your products, and customer support data cast light on consumers’ struggles. To complement these data sources, ad hoc surveys can capture consumers’ attitudes, motivations and triggers. For example, running a large-scale quantitative survey of first-time moms helps understand what their everyday looks like, where they are seeking advice, and how they handle caregiving issues. To give voice to that data, small-scale user studies enable you to hear directly from first-time moms (e.g., the types of searches they perform). As privacy regulations give consumers more control about how their data is used, we anticipate that consumer surveys will see renewed interest from brands. By encompassing what audiences express and how they interact with your brand, this approach makes it possible to truly know audiences as people. You can then develop actionable portraits rooted in data which help identify areas where your brand is well positioned to win with content and develop content roadmaps that truly address your audience needs.   Solve a problem To help consumers solve a problem, start with a shift in focus from the brand to the consumer. It is about adapting the brand response to the consumer moment, and recognising that all these moments are not necessarily about purchasing a product. For instance, Google has identified four pivotal micro-moments: I want to know, I want to go, I want to do, I want to buy. When first-time moms look to soothe their crying infants, they will often turn to search engines. The keywords they use carry a lot of intent and emotion. A search for “swaddle” may be about looking for a product, while a search for “swaddling” may be about looking for information on whether it is safe. In both cases, these keywords are proxies for the underlying problem: how to get a baby to sleep through the night. In the search engine result pages, results for the “swaddle” query are centred around products – which only partially addresses the bigger problem at play – and there is a lot of advertising competition. Conversely, the query “how to get a baby to sleep through the night” returns the “Interesting finds” component, which provides users the option to land on a content page. For brands, it is an opportunity to demonstrate they understand people’s intent and context, and to provide a valuable solution rather than focusing solely on the product and transaction. From telecom companies developing guides around improving Wi-Fi reception to water treatment companies educating consumers about contamination of water, this approach using value as the key factor to capture attention is applicable across all industries. By understanding intent and assessing the search engine results page and content types delivered, brands can much better assess not only the problem, but the best suited format for delivery, too - whether that is a video, an article, an image or other.   Deliver on expectations Delivering on expectations means ensuring that you are not only showing up when people search, but also that they can convert easily once they land on your website. This requires acting simultaneously in two dimensions: the user experience (UX) and the technical side. There is an important difference between a website that looks clean and a website that is truly user friendly. Analytics can help you detect the most problematic bottlenecks of your website. Then, user testing can help you understand the various reasons behind these bottlenecks, such as a frustrating product catalogue organisation, or an impractical checkout. These insights can help you address the most urgent pain points through A/B testing, and ultimately improve your UX. From a technical standpoint, there is a host of aspects to consider, starting with site speed. Site speed is fundamental in user experience, and has a strong influence on bounce rate and conversions. Marketers should regularly monitor their site speed, using online tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights. Additionally, UX plays an increasingly important role in search engine rankings. From May 2021, page experience signals (e.g., mobile friendliness) will be included in Google Search ranking. Simply put, UX is not only important for making the most of the attention of people who reach your website, but it also conditions your ability to get the attention of additional users through search results!     As one marketer out of two (48%) declares that not being consistent across every element of the consumer experience is a main challenge for long-term trust in their brand (iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey), strategic use of content presents a true opportunity to bring the experience together - from attention to transaction - by making the most of consumer intent and context through value.     This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated. Download it now for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0

5 mins read

RELAUNCH OF iPROSPECT

RELAUNCH OF iProspect

2 mins read

Insights

Future Proofing Your Business in a Cookieless World

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The Renewed Importance of Structured Data

The Renewed Importance of Structured Data

There are multiple benefits of automation for brands, from more consistent user experiences across platforms to a competitive edge in performance optimisation to reduced media waste. According to the iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, about one marketer out of two has already automated data and analytics (54%), search (50%) and programmatic (47%) activities – at least partially. One out of three (32%) has automated social efforts and one out of four (24%) has automated effectiveness measurement. As automation is increasingly accessible to brands, with increasing numbers of automation focused solutions made available by vendors and tech platforms, it is relatively easy for brands to launch decent campaigns – but it also makes differentiating from competition more difficult. This is why structured data and feeds continue to grow in importance.   Structured data and feeds power automation Structured data and feeds are collections of data (e.g., price, product availability, weather) with useful associations that can be used consistently across a large array of marketing channels (e.g., search, social, email). By organising information to be understood and utilised by various systems, structured data is the true cornerstone of automation, powering the brands’ ads across many verticals, such as airlines (e.g., flight rates), hospitality (e.g., hotel listings) and automotive (e.g., nearby dealerships). Structured data is becoming increasingly important for three reasons: Structured data can be used to automate the integration of any data signal into the media ecosystem, especially the brand's products and service details. Products and service data sets do not include personally identifiable information (PII) data and are not impacted by data privacy concerns, which means marketers can confidently invest in these specific structured data to deliver the best value for audiences regardless of the ever-changing privacy landscape.   Six marketers out of ten (61%) declare the most powerful lever to business growth is building a highly convenient experience for the consumer (iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey). Feeds enable marketers to make the most of shoppable media opportunities, which make the consumer path to purchase more convenient. They also improve the relevance of ads through more personalisation possibilities. For instance, iProspect helped a retail apparel company to dynamically adjust which product image to use for each product via the feed and connect it to media campaigns. Analysing performance data, we realised that for women's products, images featuring models performed much stronger than images of the product by itself. For men's products, it was the exact opposite. We were able to increase the relevance of ads by optimising the images featured for each product, resulting in stronger engagement and increased average order value.   With the current recession putting marketing budgets and resources under pressure, structured data and feeds can make media management more efficient. For example, campaigns can automatically be paused when a product is momentarily out of stock, reducing media wastage. They also make maintaining ad accuracy of large catalogues more efficient. For instance, we augmented the feed of all the properties managed by a real estate client with point-of-interest data and neighbourhood data - both critical to how people search for properties - so that the ad copy could be updated automatically with minimal human intervention.   How to get started with structured data and feeds There are three challenges most marketers will face when exploring how to use structured data and feeds to create a positive value exchange: identification, access and execution. The following considerations are key to overcoming these challenges. Data signal audit (People): Conducting a thorough data audit to understand what data sets are available to you and what signals are relevant to your brand is the first step to tap into structured data. When it comes to automation, bad data input can quickly turn into a very bad output, which is why collaboration is critical at this stage. Involving internal stakeholders (e.g., IT department) to align on how to structure data sources and setting quality standards for third-party feeds is a good practice to prevent potential issues later. Data acquisition (Platform): Securing continuous, real-time access to the right data signals requires identifying a technology platform able to both connect to your own internal data systems to pull in relevant data and ingest third-party data sources into a single data environment, such as iProspect’s FeedConnect and iActivate. Data management activation (Process): Connecting structured data to active media programmes can be challenging, as each platform has its own technical integration, and each channel its own requirements. For instance, paid search keyword campaigns typically call for short titles of products without brand names, while product listing ads and organic search require longer titles and descriptions. On top of technical know-how, it is important to include a complete testing strategy to make the most of each data signal in the feed and inform campaign management decisions, for instance, by factoring product seasonality to adjust bids throughout the year, or by including margin data to the feed to optimise against bottom-line performance.      Product-to-audience affinity is the future of structured data We believe the future of structured data leans toward optimising how likely a given audience segment is to purchase a specific product, and we predict there will soon be an opportunity to use additional data signals to maximise the affinity at the product level. It could mean using analytical data at the CRM and product SKU levels to determine which products drive the highest contributions to a consumer's lifetime value, looking at the types of products that most often drive a second purchase to boost them through advertising and drive customer retention, etc. For instance, a smartphone brand will be able to use structured data and feeds to increase the bid of ads featuring their most recent device - and not the bids for its entire smartphone range - when communicating specifically to early adopters.   The possibilities are endless, but it is crucial to coordinate between departments to create models with tangible applications.     This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated. Download it now for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0

6 mins read

INTRODUCING A NEW iPROSPECT

INTRODUCING A NEW iProspect

Hello and welcome, I have the great pleasure of introducing the new iProspect, a brand new digital-first media agency which will define a new era of performance-driven brand building at a global scale. As Global President for iProspect, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a front row seat at the creation of this new agency as we’ve fused together skillsets, teams, and resources into something new and something different, with enhanced capabilities to accelerate our clients’ brand growth.  The essence of this new agency and its people is rooted in a single, fundamental belief: We are an agency where the promises of tomorrow are our building blocks for today, where uniting performance and purpose creates brands that can change the world by getting better one moment at a time. Simply put, iProspect is a new agency born at the intersection where the science of performance marketing and the art of brand building come together.  This unrivalled perspective, grounded in deep digital specialism, married with brand building strategic firepower enables us to optimise in real-time and with precision in order to accelerate brand growth in the short and long term. And, we can do all of this at scale. At iProspect we focus on how consumers behave in their digital world and apply that to real world scenarios via a highly connected and creative use of every media channel.  As digital specialists, our perspective allows us to rapidly optimise our work and adapt to ever-evolving human intent at those pivotal intersections in life where culture, content, data, and technology meet. We also understand people are different and behave differently the world over and it is through rich insights and our network of iProspect and dentsu teams globally that we can adapt, flex and scale to meet unique client, consumer and market demands.  We are an inter-operable organisation which builds solution-orientated teams via our agile teaming platform, underpinned by data and technology enabled infrastructure.   The heart of this agency is our immensely talented people and their unparalleled understanding of media, of local culture and, of course, their clients. We have built our new brand working with teams in more than 90 markets to ensure we have both global consistency and also local relevancy in everything we do. In short, this new iProspect is powered by our shared passion and restlessness to create momentous work which makes us proud, transforms brands, provides effective business growth, and sets us on a path to change the world by getting better one moment at a time. We want to drive growth for good through our commitment to a fairer, equitable and sustainable society that works for everyone. We are a different type of agency built for the future.   Amanda Morrissey 0

3 mins read

Shoppable by Design

Shoppable by Design

According to the iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, the main advantages of a better integration of brand and performance are a more effective measurement of marketing ROI (60% of respondents), more consistent consumer experiences (54%), and more efficient touchpoints that build customer relationship (38%). On the flipside, one out of two marketers (51%) sees the difficulty in measuring the contribution of brand initiatives to business performance as a key barrier to brand and performance integration.   In the context of less predictable shopping patterns, a shoppable-by-design approach, wherein brand interactions offer consumers a convenient path to transactions at any given time, can help marketers make the most of both their brand and performance efforts to elevate the consumer experience, maximise impact and track business results.   Shoppable media connects brands and commerce Shoppable media is nothing new for digital advertising which has embedded interactivity since its infancy. One could also argue that traditional channels have had shoppable mechanisms for a long time (e.g., newspaper coupons, direct response TV). However, technology is now driving an acceleration in this space, bringing commerce features to media without compromising brand experiences. All the main digital platforms have recently intensified their efforts to create more shoppable formats. For instance, people can now use the Google App to simply tap and hold any image in order to shop the exact item featured in the image or similar items. On YouTube, brands can pair their video ads with a browsable catalogue, so that while the video showcases the brand key message, the catalogue facilitates navigation towards the product page that matter. The TV industry is also active in this space, and networks have been leading the charge. Following the launch of ShoppableTV (a QR code-based solution for letting viewers shop products featured in shows they’re watching), NBCUniversal has announced Checkout, a unified shopping cart across its TV and digital properties, and recently partnered with PayPal to facilitate payments on the platform. TV manufacturers are keen to get their share of the shoppable media pie as well. For example, LG has announced a solution powered by artificial intelligence enabling its clients to easily purchase what they see on screen. These types of solutions could improve how brands measure the profitability of product placement and TV ads, and lead to new product personalisation opportunities (e.g., selling a limited edition tailored to what is happening on screen). In the long run, they may also change the nature of TV investment through the development of commission-based business relationships alongside the more traditional GRP-based trading. In the meantime, brands should focus on collecting insights through testing and building consumer habits through clear instructions when content is shoppable.     Livestreaming reinvents TV shopping channels for the digital age Today, the most dynamic place for creating shoppable-by-design brand experiences sits at the intersection of social platforms, influencer marketing and livestreaming. By combining the unique strengths of these three channels - collective experience, personal touch and sense of urgency - brands have a powerful recipe at their disposal to boost their commerce strategy. The most emblematic example of this convergence is TikTok, which has seen a spectacular audience growth over the last twelve months and is now expected to join the very exclusive club of +1B monthly active users in 2021. The platform has rolled out a series of shopping features that natively fit the content from creators, such as Shop Now buttons, shoppable livestreams with in-app transactions, and shoppable ads in partnership with Shopify - all of that while topping the other major digital platforms in terms of ad equity according to Kantar. It is no surprise that brands targeting Gen Z are investing in TikTok. For instance, Levi’s tapped into the #oddlysatisfying movement and partnered with TikTok influencers to create customised denim products that consumers could buy for a limited time. Livestreaming is an important growth opportunity for brands selling through third-party commerce platforms as well. In China, Taobao Live (Alibaba Group’s livestreaming channel) alone generated roughly $48B in gross merchandise value in twelve months. In Japan, the department store Isetan used Instagram and YouTube livestreams to introduce products to a user base larger than what would show up in-store. As livestreaming continues to grow, marketers should explore how they can make the most of this format that connects entertainment and commerce to design experiences improving both the image and sales metrics of their brands.   Technology advancements prefigure better shopping experiences The future of online shopping has never seemed so bright. Many of the technologies that were much anticipated over the last years are finally getting into consumers’ hands, opening new commerce possibilities for brands. Certainly, the most discussed is 5G, and, to a lesser extent, Wi-Fi 6. As coverage increases and the list of compatible devices grows, consumers are starting to experience these new networks that promise lower latency (e.g., enabling better livestreams) and higher reliability in environments congested with connected devices (e.g., enabling a smarter home). These improved connections could lead to smoother brand and shopping experiences, but they could also heighten consumers’ expectations, for instance, in terms of speed standards for brands’ websites and apps. Another exciting technology, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), is gaining increasing attention. It uses laser pulses to scan the environment around the device and create high-fidelity three-dimensional maps. While most of its applications to date have been reserved for professionals, it is now literally at our fingertips, with the latest iPhone flagship models featuring a LiDAR scanner. For consumers, it is an opportunity for more accurate augmented reality (AR) experiences, which can help visualize items at scale before purchasing. For instance, Apple announced that the IKEA Place app (which enables users to place furniture in their home in AR) will feature a new Studio Mode harnessing its LiDAR scanner. Tech platforms are also seizing this opportunity, with Snapchat now enabling brands to create LiDAR-powered lenses. These examples are only a glimpse of the various technologies that already, or will soon, make it easier for consumers to shop and easier for companies to create compelling experiences that bring brands and commerce together. Now is a good time for marketers to examine how they can make the most of these opportunities in the near future to bolster their commerce capabilities.     This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated.  Download it now for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0

6 mins read

Inclusivity Drives Attention

Inclusivity Drives Attention

One of the most important considerations in building experiences that truly capture attention is to make sure everyone feels included. It may sound obvious but is yet to be a reality for many population groups, despite their growing economic influence (in the US alone, the buying power of racial and ethnic minority groups is close to four trillion dollars). Like attention, diversity and inclusivity should not be taken for granted and require continuous effort. Brands have a critical role to play in that space. According to dentsu and SeeHer, 81% of US consumers agree media plays a crucial role in shaping gender roles, but less than a third (32%) think media usually portray women accurately.     A pivotal moment in time 2020 has been pivotal in allowing many to realise for the first time the disparities endured by minorities. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit minorities hardest and several tragedies in the US such as the murder of George Floyd have spotlighted systemic discrimination against people of colour. The global public outrage that followed made waves across all aspects of society, including consumption, through movements such as #BlackoutDay2020, and brands, with many major companies publicly confronted for the lack of diversity in their boards.   Brands can no longer neglect diversity and inclusivity. It may lead to uncomfortable realisations, difficult conversations and mistakes along the way, but embracing inclusivity is now an imperative for brands to become or stay relevant to population groups that have been overlooked for too long.     There has been progress, but the road to diversity and inclusivity is still long. According to the iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, 96% of marketers now believe inclusive marketing is important, most of them (63%) seeing it both as a moral imperative and a business opportunity. Interestingly, the percentage of marketers who believe it is only important for the business potential it represents is decreasing (-7% YOY), while the percentage of respondents seeing it as important solely on moral grounds is increasing in the same proportion. It could be a sign that more companies are growing more comfortable with embracing a societal role.     Reflecting on the campaigns they ran over the last six months, 55% of marketers declare they featured people from a different ethnicity/caste than the dominant one in their market at least once in a positive way. This increasing figure (+3% YOY) could hint that the increasing visibility of movements like Black Lives Matter progressively change perceptions and actions around social justice.   However, not all population groups follow the same trend. For instance, we observe the percentage moving down for people with disabilities (-4%), which makes them underrepresented compared to the global share of people living with some form of disability (15%).   These figures show that, although inclusive marketing is gaining traction, there is still a lot left to do to improve the visibility of minorities in media and advertising and to build authentic stories that accurately reflect minorities’ experiences. Although there is no inclusive silver bullet, there is definitely a starting place: the diversity within the organisation. Building inclusive marketing campaigns requires inclusive marketing teams wherein diverse voices can be heard. This is a sine qua non condition for brands to resonate with all their potential customers.     The fight against bias   Bias is everywhere in society, and technology and data are no exception. Far from being neutral, technology and data can perpetuate and exacerbate disparities, prejudice, and discriminatory patterns. Many fields at the core of data marketing can be subject to bias, from insights to algorithms to targeting and performance analysis.   However, tackling bias is a difficult challenge as it can appear in many forms and on multiple occasions. It can be intentional (e.g., a decision to exclude a certain ethnic group from a campaign) or unintentional (e.g., combining multiple data targeting dimensions such as income and location that could de facto exclude minorities living in certain areas). It can play out at an individual level (e.g., due to the personal values of an employee) or at a company level (e.g., due to a lack of diversity in a product development team). It can stem from organizational inertia, negligence, or ignorance. (e.g., if a community was never targeted by the brand, a predictive model using historical data can incorrectly conclude the community is less likely to purchase its products and thus that the brand should not target this community in the future). It can emerge from within or be imported into the organisation (e.g., by using incomplete or poor-quality data from third parties). It can be a combination of the factors listed above and more, which makes bias detection even harder.   Because of the omnipresence of bias across organisations, it is crucial for companies to actively seek to identify and eliminate bias through various, overlapping strategies.   According to the iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, a majority (52%) of marketing teams are now diverse and inclusive (+9% YOY). This is an important milestone as minority groups should not only be visible in consumer personas, but also around the marketing table.     Guidelines and best practices on diversity and inclusion are the second option favoured by brands (44%), followed by multidisciplinary bias training (32%, +8% YOY).   From the results, it seems that brands are increasingly concentrating their efforts on the people within the organisation (e.g., through recruitment, training, committees) to drive change, rather than relying on external partners or focusing on processes. However, the latter should not be overlooked. An external perspective can be useful for organisations to look beyond their filter bubble (e.g., through advanced analysis of data and algorithms, hiring process testing, or consulting on website design accessibility), and a systematic audit of product development and marketing campaigns can prevent oversights.   Marketers should keep in mind these additional considerations to reduce bias specifically in data marketing: As with the move toward privacy and Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), the fight against bias calls for better data. Question the quality of the data you use in your marketing campaigns to prevent bias from spreading into data-powered activities. Your teams are not the only ones who should have frequent bias training. Your predictive models should be retrained regularly as well to learn from new, real-world data. Tools such as the AI Fairness 360 by IBM and The Linux Foundation can help you understand the bias in machine learning models. Keep investing in diverse teams. Human critical thinking is an essential safeguard to remove blind spots automation can generate.     This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated. Download it now  for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0

6 mins read

SOCIETAL RESPONSIBILITY IS THE BRAND KINGMAKER IN 2021

SOCIETAL RESPONSIBILITY IS THE BRAND KINGMAKER IN 2021

Climate crisis, social justice, privacy rights… as people’s expectations change and consumer scrutiny increases, companies must adapt to societal evolutions if they are to remain relevant and grow. Being the closest ones to consumers and the ones responsible for driving brand response, marketers have a critical role in promoting a societal agenda within the organisation – uncovering new growth opportunities at the intersection of marketing and society.   The new reality for brands People are increasingly questioning their own consumption decisions, not only asking themselves, “What is best for my wallet?” but also, “What is fair for all parties involved?” There is an increasing public consciousness about the power people can have on brands, and about the ability of brands to effect positive change through their marketing dollars. In light of these societal changes, some brands have doubled down towards social consciousness, some have ‘dipped their toes’ in using their media budgets as ways of influence, and others have so far kept a distance to avoid becoming embroiled in an increasingly polarized conversation. But this later stance is quickly becoming untenable, as scrutiny increases from consumers and employees who do not hesitate to publicly call out internal communications that contradict their own beliefs.   The practical guide to societal responsibility There is no secret recipe for brands to become socially irreproachable overnight. However, there are some key considerations to drastically improve their societal impact.  Bring it to the top of your agenda. Too often, we see societal priorities wrongfully depicted as a thorn in the side of business conduct, whereas they are generators of economic value. Drive change from the inside out. Consumers and employees are two sides of the same coin. If you want to be relevant to diverse audiences, you need to see this diversity in your organisation, and empower these multiple voices. Use empathy as your guiding principle. Real change requires true self-awareness and empathy. It’s okay to not get everything right if you are genuine in your intent. It is a beneficial journey that brands need to take as they become more responsible. Be both ambitious and meticulous. The path to responsibility requires an ambitious strategy, yet one broken down into concrete steps that enable incremental changes all along the journey. A clear framework to measure progress is critical. Communicate with openness and authenticity. Document your journey and how you measure your efforts in a very genuine and transparent fashion – including the shortcomings you face. It is an excellent way to build consumer trust.   The critical role of media There is clear added value in using simple and accessible communications to help overwhelmed consumers sort through the apparent complexity of societal topics. For instance, combining convenience and transparency is a great way to empower people to shop sustainably, as illustrated by the Farmer Connect app that helps consumers easily trace the origin of their coffee.[i] From a content perspective, brands can provide an open platform to connect with users and influencers on topics such as inclusivity by sharing stories, inspiration and experiences. It’s not only about showing what the brand does well, but about recognising that good ideas can come from anywhere by giving them a voice. The good news for brands is that they are not alone on this path toward becoming more responsible selves. For instance, dentsu, iProspect’s parent company, pilots DIMPACT, a pioneering tool to manage the media industry’s digital carbon footprint. The DIMPACT web-based tool, created in collaboration with the University of Bristol, calculates the greenhouse gas emissions associated with serving media content, and can therefore be used to help advertisers select lower carbon alternatives as part of their digital media strategy. - Marketing has always been about understanding people to deliver the most valuable product and service to them. In an age where people’s rising expectations around inclusivity, privacy, sustainability and transparency intersect with their consumption choices, embedding societal considerations in the company’s strategy is not a distraction to business conduct. It is the essence of marketing – the most powerful growth vector for organisations, today and tomorrow.   [i] Farmer Connect website, as accessed on Feb 26, 2020 - link   Content 0

4 mins read

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