fall / 2012

The magazine of branded content

How’s Your Tao of Innovation?

Sep 1, 2012

Matt Howell
Managing Partner, Global Chief Digital Officer at Arnold Worldwide
“The biggest change I see is agencies and brands working together much more closely. A lot of agency/client relationships have been fairly austere: you go away for four weeks and come back and there’s a big reveal. Innovation doesn’t really work that way. The client is a stakeholder. They’re participating every day. There are defined end points, but you’re not always sure how you’re going to get there. When you’re talking about innovation, you’re talking about accepting a culture that involves failure and learning, embracing complexity. Sometimes it’s more time consuming or expensive, and often times you don’t nail it the first time. It’s a much more unscripted process, but a willingness to change midstream could really pay off. We set up desks here for our clients, and we work from our clients’ offices. It’s not a one dimensional relationship manager. That person isn’t someone we have at Arnold anymore. Now, what you get are people who can handle relationships. Working with American Eagle, we have a user experience designer, a software guy who has a good understanding of strategy. You want the client to see value in the person you put there.”

Sarah Aitken
MD, iris Worldwide, NY
“Johnnie Walker, one of our clients, came to us and said, ‘Okay, we’ve sponsored Formula 1. We need you to help make Formula 1 work for us.’ And out of that brief, we looked at all sorts of things: Globally, what does Formula 1 mean in all these different markets? What do consumers want from Johnnie Walker? What is the brand trying to do? It’s trying to get perceptions changed—a little more premium than it used to be. All these factors have to come together. What we ended up delivering for them was a completely integrated campaign, and content was quite central to it. We offered people behind-the-scenes access to Formula 1, where they could film the talent at these race events, and then we turned that content into this very quick, very urgent content development work stream. It was a huge part of the campaign, and a massive reason why it was successful was because the content was of value to the consumer. It was driving their business. It was changing their brand perception in the right way. But it wasn’t really out of a brief that said, ‘Can you please go make this content?’ The brief was, ‘Can you make Formula 1 work for us?’ And content was one of the ways in which we could do that.”

Hunter Frick
Director of Marketing at Terra Development Marketing
“We realize the idea of a traditional attribution model is outdated. There’s no specific entry or decision point for potential buyers anymore, where all touchpoints could be ‘the moment of truth.’ Our offerings are mobile, social, digital, and our consumers still appreciate printed marketing pieces, so we try to adapt based on who they are and how we can create positive, and more importantly, fulfilling, relationships with them. When that happens, it’s less about marketing and more about innovating with our audience. One of our favorite tools in digital is listening. When we launch something new, we can connect directly with potential buyers and understand their attitudes and preferences for specific content and places where they engage. It’s definitely a learning process and a place where we can try, learn, and iterate.”