3 July 2017

DAN Cannes Facebook and GM panel Confirms Collaboration as key to Creativity

In “Data: A Love Story” a panel discussion at the Dentsu Aegis Network Beach House during Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Isobar joined Dentsu Aegis, Maven, Facebook and 360i to to explore the relationship dynamics of a new romance: data + creative.
The panel showcased how a successful partnership of people and platforms, for Facebook, GM and across DAN provided the ingredients for creative success in the long term. Nigel Morris, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, DAN, set up the session in a brief fireside chat with Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook. He argued that where the opportunity from the rise of digital will mean more engagement, it is “empathy as a critical creative task” that we should focus on.

This was echoed by Carolyn who argued that we need to move our thinking on from “how we earn people’s attention – and to provide relevant, personalized and empathetic content.” She called the CMOs in the room to “Stop running 30 second TV commercials!” and that “...you’ll need better mobile optimized creative as people are watching on average 1.7 seconds on video.” and “..the advertising creative needs to be as good as the content from family and friends.”

Panelists; Megan Stooke, Chief Marketing Officer at Maven, KJ Weir, Creative Agencies Partner at Facebook, Kai Exos, Chief Creative Officer at Isobar Canada and Abbey Klaasen, Chief Marketing Officer at 360i then joined Isobar Global CEO, Jean Lin on stage to discuss how the network has embraced the opportunity for data informed creative, brought about by the digital economy.

Jean opened, “Now is the most exciting time to be in the creative industry – there is so much opportunity to create excellent work.” and Megan continued this point, explaining how digital has forever changed the brand landscape, “..there are new demands from millennials that are redefining business models everywhere. For example, today Facebook is biggest driver of installs and downloads.” KJ countered, “.. the best work on the [Facebook] platform is similar to other environments and is powered by data.. but to produce great work is hard” and Jean explained that even with the move to digital, people and craft remain of utmost importance. So how does the craft of data create transformative ideas for business and brands? The panel unanimously agreed that Data is the easiest way to show what great works works and why it matters.

Abbey expanded on this point, “We have more data available than ever before, so we help clients capitalise on change. Advertising is just applied creativity. So the more data you have, the more context you can have.” The panelists discussed how their data-informed creative projects have relied on insights but also on collaborating with technology partners. Megan shared the example of how Maven is a closed network, so they can track data for the benefit of their members experience - using real time data to develop real time messaging. She explained, “As we go into a new market, we reference local which helps drive more installs... word of mouth still matters to us.” So if we are agreed that data informs our work, how do we change the perception that data constraints creativity?

KJ Weir shared how important working culture can be in changing that notion, “Being a learning organisation helps.. done is better than perfect. She explained that at Facebook they now have pre-creative testing – where you can edit, make changes and optimize. Megan provided an insight into Maven’s industry - “.. there is a pressure for things to be flawless in the auto business, but for Maven we are testing and learning in different markets which creates a different culture.” Abbey agreed that the magic of creativity often rests with the alchemy of bringing different kinds of people together. Sometimes this can mean with partners, but this can also come about by working with the audience directly. Kai Exos, Isobar Canada, CCO shared how embracing changes and an openness and a willingness to test and retest with the audience has changed what they focus on. He added, “We don’t think we know - we ask what people want to see and ask them for feedback.. This has been transformative and now we have better creatives and build better products and services.”

KJ Weir shared how collaboration needs to happen within our organisations too and acknowledged how, “.. It’s complex to get stakeholders to think in different ways,” but Kai explained how “..The [creative] work we are seeing win here is really rooted in this human scaled approach. Data was scary 5-10 years ago from a creative standpoint, but now we are going from big data to beautiful data.” So what tips did our panelists have for brands today? As a creative business, we know that the experience-led economy has increased consumers expectations of brands, so KJ advised “..The content you are competing with is the content that everyone is creating, so keep listening to people and keep them.” and Abbey encouraged brands to be ensure “No dead ends. You need to make sure people find the great work.”

Kai’s advice for creatives included, “Be fearless about what you ask for. Ask the question. Dig deep into the data.’ Which was then echoed Jean’s closure of the the panel: “We are now at the moment where we need to embrace data even more to drive and inspire success. Let’s do this.”