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Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated

Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated

The new iProspect Future Focus report explores the intersection of consumer attention, commerce and data.    Today, we officially launch Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated as the essential read for conscientious marketers seeking to explore and exploit the latest consumer and industry advancements for brand growth. The 75+ page report addresses some of the most pressing aspects of modern marketing including; the battle for attention, wholesale changes in data privacy, and the emergence of assisted commerce.    Combining evidence-based research with interviews and responses from over 200 brand marketers in 29 countries, the Future Focus 2021: Brands Acceleratedreport delves deep into the challenges and opportunities faced in the current global climate and within the immediate media landscape. And, convenience and relevancy of media to the consumer is key, as 61% of marketers, polled for the report, considered ‘building a highly convenient experience for the consumer’ as the most powerful lever to generate business growth.i    The content of this sixth edition of the Future Focus series typifies the intricacies of bringing brand and performance together to achieve growth.     “Despite the challenging times we live in, I believe there have never been so many opportunities in media. With our new and unique approach of performance-driven brand building, we are firmly optimistic about the future and resolved to make it happen, today. With Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated as their guidebook, I hope all marketers will be able to leverage the growth potential afforded at these significant intersections of media, data, commerce and culture.”  Amanda Morrissey, Global President of iProspect    The findings showed that around 2 in 5 marketers (42%) still think the linear path to purchase is as relevant today as it was decades ago, despite the rise of digital. While at the same time 32% of marketers feel that expanding commerce capabilities is important for the 2021 roadmap, however 26% see this as one of the most difficult challenges this year.ii      Practical advice to marketers.   In addition to discussing and dissecting the impact of major global industry trends and innovations, the report spotlights the relevancy and opportunity for brands, regardless of sector, to capitalise on these seismic shifts in the media landscape. Examples of the report’s advice and guidance for marketers worldwide include:    #1: Commerce is Everywhere    Organisations should strive to build and maintain an accurate picture of their commerce capabilities across five key dimensions: desirability, availability, findability, buyability, and repeatability. This will help them define the most profitable commerce model for their brand, better integrate their e-commerce and stores into an actionable omnichannel strategy, explore new growth channels, and turn media opportunities into transaction opportunities.    #2 The Battle for Attention  Brands should consider factoring attention into their media optimisation and measurement efforts to elevate the impact and efficiency of their investment. To maximise audience attention, they should ensure the content and experiences they design truly align with consumer intent, and that the campaigns they develop do not relegate diversity and inclusivity as afterthoughts.  #3 The New Data Playbook    On the data front, organisations should embrace the new privacy-conscious world by re-evaluating the value exchange they offer to their audiences and anticipate technological changes to minimise business disruption. This is the occasion to explore opportunities for automation, evaluate the quality of the data they collect and process, and more broadly reflect upon how data is effectively used to inform decisions.    The last point is of particular significance as the report found in some circumstances there are huge disparities between what the consumer and brand marketer think, when it comes to assessing data value. Only 9% of marketers believe helping a company improve products or services is an incentive for consumers to share their data, while 44% of consumers believe it is a good enough reason to release personal identifiable information (PII) to the brand.iii      Download your copy of Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated now.    -----------------------------------------   [i] Proprietary omnibus survey: iProspect, 2020 Global Client Survey, 12 Oct–11 Nov 2020, 202 respondents. [ii] Proprietary omnibus survey: iProspect, 2020 Global Client Survey, 12 Oct–11 Nov 2020, 202 respondents. [iii] iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey (Oct 2020) and iProspect and Microsoft Advertising, Consumer Privacy and Data Survey (Mar 2020) Content 0

During these challenging times, it’s important to understand what type of content you should be creating. It’s likely you had a content strategy and were working to a content plan, but now is the time to revisit that approach and be cognizant of what will land in the coming weeks and months. To tackle this conundrum head on, we’ve devised five key considerations for your content team and strategy. Consideration #1 Refer back to your current strategy and draw up an adapted approach that considers the wider circumstances. There are a number of ways to go about plotting what content you should be creating: Your customers – what questions is your customer service team receiving? What are people asking of you as a brand on social? Search listening – what is the current keyword demand for COVID-19 relating to your brand? If you’re a beauty brand, what home tutorials can you provide them? If you’re a bank, how can you assure your customers their money will be safe in these times?   Your brand – what do you stand for? What topics do you have the remit to talk about and how can that be applied to everyday customer queries and issues? Social listening – what are customers saying on social, and how can you create content around that to mitigate fears or concerns? Media interest – what is the media talking about? This seems to change on a weekly basis at the moment, but keeping an eye on the news agenda will help you understand what consumers are reading about It’s important to note that people’s interest in digital content has increased significantly since COVID-19. Consumers have more time and in the evenings are turning to the web for news, inspiration and humour. Consideration #2 This is perhaps the biggest consideration: things keep changing. By that, I mean people’s attitudes, behaviours and journeys to purchase are changing all of the time. The content you created or had planned to create three months ago is probably not something customers want right now, but don’t fear; it’s content they’ll want again one day, so it isn’t wasted. The search intent around products will change week to week, potentially day to day. If you look at something like travel insurance, terms relating to that broad topic usually mean people are looking to take it out for an upcoming holiday, but now the intent of that topic and terms related to that product have changed massively; it’s all about “Am I covered?” The intent of people’s searches now takes on a new meaning but mostly people are trying to find answers to complex questions, for which, in some cases, there aren’t any answers at all. However, as a brand you have the right and responsibility to provide customers with content that is useful, offers a solution and addresses a fear or concern. The temptation is to pull back on creating content but, right now, your customers need you more than ever. The relationship you’ve created over years, decades and potentially centuries is always something to think about to ensure you’re still holding a relationship with your customers during these uncertain times. To summarise, the world is changing and the situation is changing rapidly. We need to be able to understand what people want week to week, day to day, hour to hour, and offer them content that satisfies that need. Consideration #3 This seems obvious but a consideration that is crucial right now: your content needs to be found. This splits out into two parts: Website architecture Your website and owned properties need clear navigation to useful content Your site must be quick. People have short attention spans at the best of times and what people are demanding right now is answers fast, so you must improve the speed of your site Your content needs to be able to be indexed by Google so it can be listed and customers can find it The structure of your page is a hugely important. Think about questions like “How to get Vitamin D in my diet?” or “How to work out at home”. These both trigger a featured snippet in Google, so if you’re a fitness or food brand you can provide genuinely helpful responses to this. However, if the structure of your page hasn’t been set up correctly you’ll never be featured in position zero Positive PR It’s likely that your PR activity is paused, cancelled or postponed, and is now only about crisis management, which is understandable. However, people are looking for positive stories. You’ve only got to put the term “positive stories” into Google Trends to see that people want them right now. In addition to this, journalists want positive, non-Coronavirus stories:   The media is crying out for content. Remember, most journalists need to be able to produce a new article every 45 minutes, so it’s likely that they’ll run out of COVID-19 stories eventually. What they want is motivating, surprising, useful and positive content for their audiences. There is a captive audience out there right now, and PR shouldn’t stop because of COVID-19. If you want your content to be seen by a wider audience, then PR is the best way to do this. We’re currently working with brands to plan small reactive campaigns that help customers but are also of interest to journalists. Consideration #4 Google has been quite open about its algorithm and guideline changes over the past couple of years. First we had E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, Trust) then there was YMYL (Your Money Your Life) and most recently we had BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) and actually during COVID-19 all of them take on an even heavier importance. It's now that people are looking for a layer of expertise beyond fluffy content. This presents brands with an opportunity to offer customers expert advice, perhaps in the form of employees who have decades of experience in a sector. For example, do you have a beauty consultant who can offer expertise on skincare at home? Do you have a mortgage advisor who has been at your bank for 30 years? If so, can they give their expert opinion? If you’re creating this content, ensure that readers know who the author is. This builds trust between the brand and the reader, and is widely encouraged by Google. Google’s approach to YMYL is that every page you create should impact a customer’s Money or Life. So, think about that in relation to COVID-19. Give your customers content that delivers tips on how to improve their life right now (and for the future) but also make sure you’re giving them solutions for intricate financial decisions. Lastly, BERT is a deep learning algorithm that understands the nuances and context of words in a sentence, to better match queries with search results. Make sure your content is structurally sound and can be processed by BERT so that it can be visible in Google. Consideration #5 The last consideration for every piece of content, whether it’s on your website, social or in email, is whether it is purposeful or profiteering? If you have an inkling that the content you’re creating doesn’t provide people with purpose or a point (the point could be handy DIY tips or how do your eyebrows at home), then tweak it so it does. Now is not the time to be taking advantage of people’s vulnerability and most customers will see through it. Your content should deliver significance and not be overly commercial. You can absolutely provide customers with products that solve problems and solutions, but don’t piggyback on COVID-19 for the sake of it. Lastly, it’s important to not go ‘dark’ and turn the lights off on your marketing activity. If anything, now is the time to make sure you’re connecting with customers. There is an obvious temptation to avoid the topic or in some cases withdraw any content at all, but it’s been proven that brands that don’t cut budgets during periods of uncertainty are best placed to prosper when the upturn returns. Numerous studies have proven this over many years. 0

Wendy Clark nieuwe Global CEO Dentsu Aegis Network

Wendy Clark nieuwe Global CEO Dentsu Aegis Network

Wendy Clark appointed Global CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN). Wendy brings unparalleled experience with significant client-side leadership roles alongside running global agency network. This pivotal appointment further bolsters DAN’s ambition to deliver data-driven, tech-enabled and ideas-led integrated solutions to help clients. LONDON – Dentsu Aegis Network, headquartered in London, today announces the appointment of Wendy Clark as Global CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN).This pivotal hire follows a transformational period focused on growth and scaling the business globally and builds on DAN’s objective to deliver world-class marketing services and integrated solutions which are data-driven, tech-enabled and ideas-led.  Wendy brings almost 30 years’ of industry experience as a delivery-focused leader, having worked for global brands such as The Coca-Cola Company and AT&T, as well as industry-leading agency roles. She joins Dentsu Aegis Network in September 2020 from Omnicom Group where she held the role of Global President & CEO for DDB Worldwide. Prior to Omnicom, Wendy spent seven years at The Coca-Cola Company in global and regional operating roles, culminating in her promotion to Coca-Cola's President of Sparkling Brands and Strategic Marketing.  Wendy Clark, comments: “It’s both an incredible honor and deep responsibility to join DAN at this crucial time. Given such unprecedented global change it’s more important than ever that we’re completely focused on creating insightful, informed, important ideas for brands, businesses and their customers.”  “The focused investments made by DAN over the last few years to acquire and grow the right assets, talent and capabilities, enabling modern marketing solutions, is undeniable and ready-made for today’s marketplace and beyond.” “It is hugely compelling to me to help continue Dentsu’s rich legacy of constant innovation and industry leadership over the last 100 years. I’ve had the privilege of working for brands and companies with powerful heritages and that’s informed my enduring belief that great brands and companies benefit from having a foot in their past and a foot in their future. It’s a massive competitive advantage that Dentsu has decades of know-how and experience that serve both as a foundation and a built-in benchmark to continue to drive the company forward.” “I genuinely can’t wait to meet the 42,000+ associates of DAN later in the year – when the world emerges from this significant period of change and turbulence - so we can roll up our sleeves and get to work creating value and impact for our clients, together.” Wendy is recognised for her modern leadership approach that includes her celebrated philosophy ‘lift as you climb’ translating to taking talent with you as you grow. It is this inspirational style that has been widely acknowledged by the industry including having been named Ad Age Executive of the Year (2017).  Wendy will report to Tim Andree, Executive Chairman, Dentsu Aegis Network and will be appointed Executive Officer Dentsu Group Inc. at the same time as she joins the business in September with the approval of the Board of Dentsu Group Inc. Tim has been Executive Chairman of DAN since its founding in 2013, adding the CEO role to his responsibilities for the past 15 months, and he has lead the search process.  Tim Andree, Executive Chairman, Dentsu Aegis Network, comments: “Following a thorough and considered global search, I am happy to welcome Wendy as our new CEO and look forward to working together to drive our ambitious agenda forward. With her combined experience of walking in the shoes of the client, coupled with her leadership in running a large global creative agency network, Wendy is the stand-out choice for the role.   “Her experience is hugely complementary to DAN’s growth plans over the coming decade where Dentsu’s long-standing history of client-centricity combined with an ability to deliver fully integrated solutions will be critical. Wendy will join us as the world is emerging from a period of unprecedented challenges. I am confident that her strong leadership style and comprehensive experience will inspire our people, connect with our clients to help drive their brands forward and continue our focus on providing integrated global solutions while building excellence into every part of the rapidly changing marketing ecosystem we serve.”   Purpose built for the digital age, Dentsu Aegis has focused on acquiring relevant, high-performance businesses globally in high growth areas including data, brand commerce, customer experience, performance marketing and social & mobile. As the most acquisitive agency group Dentsu Aegis Network has welcomed over 177 acquisitions in the last six years, most notably, the Merkle acquisition placing Dentsu Aegis Network as the market leader for data, analytics and CRM.  Toshi Yamamoto, President & CEO Dentsu Group Inc. comments: “This is a key time for our business as we bring Dentsu Aegis Network and Dentsu Japan Network closer together for the benefit of clients and our people. Our philosophy is that innovation can come from anyone, anywhere, and it is clear Wendy shares our passion for discovering new and better ways to solve client challenges and will be motivating and inspiring for our global workforce. Her blend of global marketing experiences makes her the ideal leader for the role and importantly will allow her to marshal our world-class capabilities to align with changing client needs.” Tim Andree has been on a health-related leave of absence since January. Tim returned to his role as Director of Dentsu Group Inc. last month and will return to his other roles at Dentsu and DAN in a phased approach. During this period, Toshi Yamamoto continues as Acting Executive Chairman & CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network, in addition to his role as President & CEO Dentsu Group Inc.  0

Google is reinvigorating their marketplace product Buy on Google (formerly called Shopping Actions) by removing commission fees and giving control of the brand experience back to the hands of merchants. These updates represent a direct effort to compete with Amazon and evolve Google’s online shopping experience at a time when people are shopping online more than ever due to COVID-19 closing down physical stores and altering consumer habits.   The announcement made last week highlighted several major changes. Google showcased new payment service platform partnerships with PayPal and Shopify and also expanded data feed integrations within Merchant Center. Google also passed back responsibility to brands for managing customer support, shipping, and returns. Finally, Google has even created a solution which builds feeds directly from Google’s own database.   Buy on Google will disrupt small and large retailers.  A streamlined checkout process has several highlights that are covered in a bit more detail below. 0% commission fees: This is a major change which will encourage all retailers to rethink their Buy on Google strategy.  A comparison that highlights the magnitude of this change:  Previous commission rates on Shopping Actions for apparel product categories was 12%! Updated merchant and financial requirements: The requirements to sell on Shopping Actions are now gone and Google is pulling out all the stops to remove excuses for brands to not onboard. Marketers no longer need a US bank account after linking to GMC with an approved payment service platform account (PayPal and Shopify, to start with). Barriers of entry have been removed: Google has relinquished complete control of payment transactions, managing customer support, as well as returns & shipping. Returning ownership of important brand-owned processes back to the retailer shows that Google is confident in brands meeting customer expectations for purchases made on Google Shopping. Product feed integrations: Google Merchant Center is supporting non-Google product feed uploads, by their greatest ecommerce and marketplace competitor - Amazon. Focus on supporting small businesses: Consumers will soon be able to filter and view products sold by small business merchants specifically.   What was missing in the announcement Google has been slowly rolling out new features and updates over the past several months around other organic and unpaid feed-powered listings. Retailers activating on the Buy on Google program can also opt-in at the same time to these free Google products listings called Surfaces Across Google. The same product feed powers both programs so merchants not only have commissions removed for Google’s marketplace but their catalog will now serve across multiple shopping experiences without paid media.  We predict that in the near future to see Buy on Google checkout options begin to show on organic search results, such as on the Knowledge Graph - a previously paid ad listing placement. While this experience is what we expect next, the details still follow suit on aggregating paid and free product listings to their specific ad placements across Google properties. Shopping Actions:  A solution in search of a problem...until now The Google marketplace (Shopping Actions) has struggled to burst through the bubble of mass adoption by merchants with spending the last seven years expanding and rebranding the program. The removal of commission fees is a unique value proposition and explicit advantage against marketplace rivals like Walmart and Amazon, but also a deep benefit for small businesses that started digital ecommerce on eBay and Etsy. The payment system partnerships have made up for years of minimal merchant integrations. To compensate and attempt to counter Amazon’s two million+ small businesses already selling on that marketplace, Google chose to integrate the Amazon catalog into Google Merchant Center. This has never happened in the history of Google and is unprecedented. What Google now has is a data set of product information far more robust than their own catalog. Shopify has a small business customer base of one million (and growing) on the platform which now brings a larger assortment of products, and new small businesses that have minimal reason to not now sell on Google marketplace. What does this mean for your business? Brands who have refused to launch on marketplaces like Amazon now have minimal hesitation to begin selling on Google. Nike has refused to sell on Amazon for some time due to not being able to own the customer experience. Brands should focus on evaluating their media plan and product feed strategy. This would entail identifying product lines, seasonality SKUs, and less profitable products to be specifically assigned as eligible to serve in a marketplace, organic/unpaid listings or paid campaigns. This granular setup is especially important due to limited reporting features and forecasting features within the Google Merchant Center--feature gaps which will hopefully be addressed by Google in the future. Google is placing a strategic bet on small businesses to lean into their marketplace by removing commission fees and reducing barriers to entry. These changes were driven by Google’s Bill Ready, a former PayPal executive, executive leader at Braintree & Venmo, and supporter of small business commerce for over a decade. When it comes to steering a ship such as Google marketplace in a new direction, his vision shows the understanding of how small businesses are driving the future of marketplace commerce. However, even if the primary focus of these changes appears to be small businesses, if large brands don’t take the time to review their current Google Shopping approach and leverage these new features, they will be the ones missing out on a major commerce opportunity during this coming holiday season. 0