Festival of Marketing 2019: Our top 6 talks

As ever, the Festival of Marketing was buzzing and brimming with insights, innovations and ideas. Below, we’ve rounded up our top six picks from the two-day immersive marketing experience. A common thread runs through them all, and that is the importance of brands striking the balance between listening to and being aware of what consumers care about and want, and being able to deliver this credibly, in a way that resonates with what the brand stands for.

How can you achieve strategic effectiveness in 2020?

Mark Ritson, Adjunct Professor of Marketing, set out to remind brands that while embracing technology and working on strong short-term marketing campaigns may seem like the way forward, long-term marketing will always work better for building brand identity and business and should not be forgotten. He encouraged brands to look to the likes of Snickers or Cadbury, brands that you would notice or pick up without question because they are simply always there.

He recommends having 2-3 key strategy objectives and keeping them at the core of everything you do. He also believes that brands should ‘overdo’ their codes, to ensure they keep their place in people’s hearts and minds and standout in a crowded market. Although short-term sales activation will help drive immediate sales, it is long-term strategy that will bring true, lasting success to a brand. The key, according to Prof. Ritson, is to focus on the results of research, and not to get too caught up in the latest consumer trend or fad.

Building contemporary social currency for a heritage brand.
(The Roald Dahl Story Company)

How do you keep your brand relevant when the genius and inspiration behind it all died nearly 30 years ago? If all of the key codes and attributes of your brand lived within one person, how do you keep that legacy alive when they are no longer around, whilst still remaining true to the original content and heritage?

It is no easy feat, but when your brand is the Roald Dahl Story Company, you do have a few extra cards up your sleeve: the stories, values and – of course – the humour of books like Matilda, The Witches and The BFG are all still incredibly relevant to children and adults alike.

When creating new content to engage with new and old readers, the wonderful human beans at the RDSC build on individual stories and characters and what they stand for, rather than on the man behind them. Through this focused approach and a marvellous blend of tasteful reimagination and respectful creative licence, they are able to bring them into the modern world seamlessly. And so it is that (who would be 30 years old today!) stands up to contemporary Trunchbulls like President Trump, and brave beer lovers can toast to horrid hygiene with brewed with disgustingly delicious detritus from Roald Dahl’s writing chair. What a phizz-wizzing brand!

Brands and activism: Is it ever a good idea?
(Panel discussion)

Activism and political opinions seem to be everywhere – on TV, Social Media, even in advertisements. The question is, should they be? Since political campaigns have to abide to strict limitations in the forms and channels through which they can advertise their views and policies, it’s fair to question whether brands should also have to follow the same protocol.

Today, we see more and more brands use their voice to promote not just their product or service, but also to share a strong activist or political message. Many see this as a positive development, suggesting that brands have the power and, more importantly, the responsibility to promote “good” causes and important concepts such as sustainability, inclusivity and equality. Others, however, question whether brands – especially large, international ones – have too much influence, reach and power, to do so without becoming biased and undemocratic.

The panel discussion, lead by Glimpse, Greenpeace and LadBible, argued both cases. As brands continue to jump on the activist bandwagon, it is key to understand whether a particular cause is part of a brand’s core identity, or a cheap marketing ploy…Especially since most consumers will see right through this and won’t forgive these kinds of tactics.

In other words, for some brands activism can be a fundamental part of their story and purpose, whereas for others it’s the fastest way to lose consumer respect and support.

Harnessing the power of photo: Behind the success of EasyJet’s Look & Book.

Technology, apps, Social Media and the way consumers interact with them are in constant flux, and brands need to keep up and adapt accordingly to remain relevant and impactful. EasyJet are a prime example of a company that has managed to use innovation to do this successfully.

The airline is already known for its award-winning, easy-to-use Mobile App. They have recently taken this further, by making destination hunting even easier. EasyJet identified a key opportunity in the pivotal role played by Instagram in travel inspiration, through the dreamy shots shared everyday by bloggers, influencers, celebrities and peers. But what if a snap, a tap and a swipe could be all you needed to go from #instadaydreaming to booking your next trip?

With the EasyJet in-app Look & Book feature, users can upload an Instagram screenshot to be matched against a growing database which will reveal the exact location, and how cheaply and easily the airline can get you there. This inventive use of modern technology and a keen eye for consumer behaviour keeps EasyJet in sync with the modern world.

How brands win by creating better human experiences.
(Karmarama)

Sid McGrath from Karmarama spoke about the importance of remembering that consumers are not just customers – they’re people, looking for human experience and satisfaction. Therefore, upgrading your product, offer or service to improve human experience can open up a completely new way of communicating.

Brands that demonstrate more human-like behaviours and treat their audience more like people than statistics or customers create stronger emotional bonds, and thus become irreplaceable. Sid’s theory is called “Closing the Human Experience Gap” and includes an 8-step process to elevate brand thinking around consumer interest and the human experience.

How can large-scale FMCGs build a purpose-driven, consumer-centric, winning growth culture and innovate internally? (Mondelēz)

Debora Koyama, CMO Europe for Mondelēz, shared the F&B giant’s journey to leading the future of snacking and cultural change. She described how Mondelez have created a culture of entrepreneurship within their teams, inspiring them to feel empowered to share ideas off-the-cuff and unprompted.

Using the Milka chocolate brand and its “Dare to be Different” tagline as a pilot project, Debora described how, starting with a key challenge, brand teams pitched their ideas to senior leadership and then saw their winning ideas brought to life. This approach lead to bigger, brighter ideas, as well as a positive competitive atmosphere in the organisation. It also made it possible to showcase the impact and results of the new thinking, in order to change the culture within the overall organisation. .

Want more?

Path Founder and Marketing Director Thomas Herman also presented Your Mind Matters – Mapping the future of mental health and more for brands at the Festival of Marketing 2019.

Watch the video here

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