Cannes: Digital media is sweeping in a new world order, and Ogilvy and Mather’s prescription for digital chaos is to view the world through four lenses: Dada, Data, Alpha, Beta.
At the 55th Annual Cannes Advertising Festival, Jan Leth, vice-chairman digital of Ogilvy Worldwide, and Jean-Philippe Maheu, chief digital officer of Ogilvy North America, reiterated that the marketplace has become a conversation, and that marketers have to do some serious listening.
Says Leth: “Dada is the art movement that started around 1960. But, what it really reflects in today’s world is discarding old conventions. We need to stop working in silos. The world is an on-demand marketing world. To succeed, you need to have value proposition.”
Value proposition: Starbucks employees hand out samples in New York. The coffee giant allowed loyalists to define changes in the company and got back to them on what they were doing about it. (Photo: Marko Georgiev/Bloomberg)
Peer-to-peer publishing, network effect, reciprocity and transparency are all fundamentals of the new digital age, and brands need to heed them if they want to succeed against a digital backdrop, they say.
Some brands are aware of this and try and be ahead of the curve. Leth cited howPenguin books launched interactive web literature, dubbed We Tell Stories, under digital fiction, using six best-selling authors.
Similarly, Dole organic bananas puts in short informative videos on its website giving information about its farms and its high environmental standards.
Data, the second pillar, can help with storytelling, said Leth. By tracking behaviours and interjecting the right content at the right moment into consumer conversations, stories can be told. There is data on the Internet that can be used to segment audiences, construct media plans, set context, increase relevance and measure results and return on investment.
In addition, there is data, such as tags left by consumers that give an honest picture of the brand. Leth asks, “If you are brand X, what tags are following you?’
He adds that tags left by users say a lot about the brand. IBM, for instance, gets tagged as reliable and Big Blue, while American Express gets tagged on sites as expensive.
Motorola gets tagged by its popular caller tune and campaign line, Hello Moto, while also bearing the brunt of negative tags, such as crappy phones. Leth notes that Motorola is trying to make some changes now, which is how other marketers ought to respond to such type of feedback.
“Clients get freaked out when users alter or rework commercials or change brand messages,” says Leth. “But, I personally think that it’s the best thing that can happen to a brand” as it just reflects that the brand has a fan base and people talking about it.
Maheu identified the alpha as the leader of the pack. It is this community that spreads opinion like wildfire. They are the evangelists.
Rapidly it’s being seen that alphas are becoming publishers. “You need to value them and create utility for them,” says Maheu. If alphas are engaged with the brand, they will create a customer base through referrals and positive word of mouth. Maheu says that data shows that consumers are starting to trust strangers who have experienced a certain brand, or bloggers.
“Peer-to-peer publishing and customer service will pick up,” says Maheu, sharing the example of Apple, which allows a forum where users discuss and solve each other’s hardware and software problems.
Starting conversation and listening to the alphas is what brands have to do, according to Maheu. “Unilever started a conversation with African American women for Vaseline Intensive Care’s Cocoa Butter with the question: What does your skin mean to you? It also uploaded videos of them. Starbucks pushed the envelope by allowing loyalists to define changes in Starbucks and also got back to them what they were doing about it.”
In his opinion, we are living in a world where beta, reflecting change, innovation and a new way of thinking is all-important. Beta is to bring in innovation; to launch quickly and adjust quickly.
Brand Lego asked people to design their own toys, and then supplied the material for them. Today, there are more than three million registered online for Lego.