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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 Accelerated report 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  Future of Branding 2021 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:    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.    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.  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) 0

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.   Need help getting started?  You are always welcome to contact us if you want to hear more about how we can help you with structured data.  We are happy to help you get started, so that together we can create a digital success that drives business performance.    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

Desire, confidence, shock, delight. Emotions play a critical – if not the most important – role in communication. They capture hearts and minds, build relationships, and urge action. Yet, according to the iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, a third (34%) of marketers declare the lack of emotional connection is a challenge for increasing long-term consumer trust in their brand. Here are three inspiring and recent examples of companies embedding emotions such as excitement, fascination, and surprise at the heart of their communications to build attention-grabbing experiences.   Enhanced reality Brands able to add a new layer of reality to everyday experiences and provide a new perspective, as a result, can deliver a deep yet scalable immersion into their world. Not all experiences have to be grandiose and high tech - simple ideas with impeccable execution are often the best. To promote tourism amongst New Yorkers, the Austrian Tourism Board designed an immersive AR audio wherein Vienna’s most famous son, Beethoven, guided users through specific Manhattan locations that are related to Austria. Through the combination of geofencing, 3D sound effects, and exciting stories, people were able to discover the Austrian connection of locations such as Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, Café Sabarsky and Carnegie Hall. By letting New Yorkers experience their city in a whole new way, this campaign created five times more impressions through owned and earned media than paid media budget.   Where music and culture meet  Sonos have always focused on ensuring their products deliver greater sound quality than the competition and wanted to showcase this in a campaign that would deliver premium sound messaging through environments where music and culture meet.  To do so, Sonos used out-of-home (OOH) advertising to deliver visual impact across iconic locations with a connection to music such as the Opera station in Paris and the Hamburg docks. To own relevant cultural environments, Sonos also used OOH during an audio exhibit at Barbican station in London and around the major music complex Philharmonie in Paris. This OOH strategy increased aided awareness by 82%.  Additionally, Sonos partnered with popular podcast hosts, specifically those who were Sonos fans, to give authentic testimonials to their audiences about the sound quality of Sonos products. This strategy delivered a 19% uplift in consumers’ association of Sonos with superior sound quality and a six-fold increase in unaided awareness vs. control.  Sonos also created a bespoke “Brilliant Sound hub” on Amazon Prime offering discounts on select films with quality sound and connecting their brilliant sound proposition with the big screen. More than 40% of Prime users clicked to view the hub, and that increased consumer searches for Sonos products on Amazon.    Multi-sensory experiences As most brands mainly rely on visual cues to communicate their messages, the ones leveraging other senses as well stand a much better chance of creating deep-rooted memories. Sound drives brand recognition like nothing else, while smells are a shortcut to emotions. Hendrick’s Gin wanted to offer a surprising and refreshing detour to Londoners during the dullest time of the day: their commute. The brand used a 1,000-square-metre vinyl wrap to cover the floors and walls of the 74-meter-long tunnel in the capital’s busiest station with illustrations from its imaginative world, such as floating beluga whales, hot-air balloons, and dapper gentlemen atop unicycles. The installation featured 20 scented posters immersing commuters in Hendrick’s signature scent, a rose-and-cucumber infusion. More than 400,000 people experienced this multi-sensory and distinctive campaign, and five times as many through the pictures shared on social media by delighted commuters. Guides such as Lonely Planet even featured the experience as a must-visit in the city.   These examples show how brands can build powerful experiences to capture the attention of new and existing consumers. By combining emotional value for people and fidelity to their brand territory, marketers can turn attention into memorable experiences that build their brands, one moment at a time.   This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated. Download "Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated"  for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0