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Managing Marketing: Discussing creativity, innovation and their importance to business

Edward Pank
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Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Ed Pank is the Managing Director of WARC Asia and a self confessed Digital Marketing Evangelist, Start-up Builder, Advertising Insight Generator. Here he talks with Darren on the importance of creativity and innovation in business today. They explore the nature of agency creativity and explore the role of the agency in developing customer and business innovation.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing and I’m in Singapore this week and I’ve got a chance to catch up with, Edward Pank, who is the Managing Director of Warc Asia. Welcome, Ed.

Edward:

Hi, Darren, good to be here.

Darren:

Ed, we’ve just spent a couple of days seeing presentations at the first Mumbrella 360. It was quite an interesting array of information provided, wasn’t it?

Edward:

It was. It was a good couple of days actually and all credit to the Mumbrella guys; I think they did a good job, the first time they’d done it in Asia but there was some good content.

There were some interesting things coming out of the conference around how marketers can cope with the complexity that there is now in the marketplace, how they can drive their brands forward, and the risk that sometimes entails. So, lots of good stuff and lots of good work that we’ve seen. I enjoyed it.

Darren:

These events whether it be award shows or conferences seem to be about recognising creativity, innovation, performance in the work that people are doing. And it’s really interesting because you do get a sense there are quite divergent ideas about what is innovative, what is creative aren’t there?

Edward:

From my perspective, creativity can be single-mindedly focused on what a good idea is and that maybe simplifies the whole area of creativity and innovation that at the heart of innovation and creativity is a good idea and that is born out of a really deep idea of who your audience is.

So, gleaning fantastic insights that help deliver a great idea that can inform either a communications plan itself or inform part of that business offering (whether that’s a new innovation or a service offering).

So, at the heart of good creativity I believe fundamentally it’s a great idea based on a human insight or a human truth as we heard this week.

Darren:

You’re in a unique position to be able to get a terrific view of the marketplace. Here at Warc you’ve got a huge amount of resources, research data, and case studies. Can you share a little with us about what that actually means? What is that Warc resource and what does it mean to you and your clients?

WARC case studies

Edward:

You’re right. We have a repository of 1,000s of award winning case studies in best practice, insights, trends and data about the industry and how our clients can do better smarter marketing and advertising campaigns.

So, we crowd source, collect and curate all of these great ideas and put them on Warc. Then we draw out the meta data, the meta-analysis, which are the key themes we think our clients can learn from in terms of how they can manage the complexity of the marketplace and how they can do smarter campaigns.

Warc helps support our clients in lots of different ways but a key way, particularly for our advertising clients, is to provide genuine inspiration. I think a lot of what holds marketing and advertising back in Asia is fear, the notion of what I’m going to be doing is actually taking a huge risk. There’s a lot of complexity in the marketplace; how do I know that I’m going to be spending my money in the right way?

Darren:

It’s funny you should say that, you say Asia because I think it’s lots of markets where, because of complexity, I hear a lot of marketers saying who else is doing that? Every time someone puts out a new idea or innovation the next question is who else is doing it?

Edward:

You’re absolutely right and our mission for Warc in Asia/Pacific is really to help build the strategic might of marketers in the region and help make that transition from tactical, activation based work into more strategic, consistent, and long-term brand building work.

We can do that by providing success stories, proof points, evidence of a particular campaign in a category that might have worked in a particular market against a particular type of audience. So, help provide some evidence and some confidence to the agency and the client marketer that a particular strategic path is the right way to go.

So, that’s really our mission; to provide the evidence and the proof.

Darren:

You haven’t always done this, have you? It was actually advertising that brought you to Singapore and you started your career in London. How did you get into advertising? What made you (was it Y&R, London that was your first agency), what was the path that led you there?

Edward:

I was always interested in business but I wanted to do business with a creative side—I had a bit of creativity.

Darren:

A bit of flair.

Edward:

A bit of flair, a bit of creativity was inherent in the DNA of who I am so advertising was the perfect balance of business and creativity if you like. I started on a grant trainee programme and then worked my way up.

Darren:

Rainey Kelly/ Campbell Roalfe/ Y&R was a hot agency even though it was part of the networks.

Edward:

Yeah, absolutely; it was a flagship creative shop for WPP at the time and we did some great work for Land Rover (producing some global communications for their cars around the world) and also Marks and Spencer foods, which was quite a seminal campaign at the time.

Darren:

You have a passionate belief in creativity.

Edward:

I do.

Darren:

I know. Did that experience reinforce that?

Ideas

Edward:

Yeah, I think so. I think the whole ethos at Rainey Kelly was all about ideas. They were one of the first to come to market charging an idea fee. They were one of the earliest of that kind. So, instead of charging by commission or project fee in terms of the time spent, they actually said this is the idea of the campaign.

Darren:

This is the value of it in the form of a fee.

Edward:

In the form of a fee and that fee would be repeated every year that idea ran so that there was obviously an incentive for the agency to produce a consistent campaign that would work over the long term, which I think is a great incentive to have.

Darren:

Because otherwise, what you see is this reinvention at every opportunity.

Campaign Length

Edward:

Absolutely, and that’s quite a worrying trend actually. We see more and more short-term campaigns and by short-term campaign I mean campaigns that run for 6 months or less.

That is because there is huge pressure on client marketers to be able to prove that their campaigns are working.

Darren:

If I can’t prove it I’ll just change it because then I’m starting again—the reset button.

Edward:

Exactly. The availability of digital metrics and the digital world that we live in now– we expect this immediacy. It’s digital so we must know whether it’s working. You can tell how many people are engaging with the campaign overnight but in terms of the long-term effect on the brand and the business it is going to take a long time.

Darren:

Because the other side of it is that marketers are changing their jobs more and more regularly. We’re getting new CMOs for marketing I think it’s like 30 months on average in the U.S. So, you’ve got regular change on one side, uncertainty and change in the process, and agencies themselves are almost driven by constantly wanting to reinvent the new rather than build long-term campaigns.

I remember one of my favourite campaigns from around the time you were entering advertising was, ‘happiness is a cigar called Hamlet’. Do you remember those?

Edward:

It was a bit before my time.

Darren:

The photo booth that was a famous one but the campaign went for years and years and they just updated it all the time. Clearly, I’m much older than you.

Edward:

Maybe a little, Darren, but not too much. It was a great campaign and it’s rare to see that longevity these days.

Darren:

Well, I can’t think of one and I’m sure if I gave you enough time to go through the Warc database you could find something but I think you’d struggle.

Edward:

I think you’re right. There will be a few in there. One that comes to mind (though I know it’s been changed recently) was ‘keep walking for Johnny Walker’. It changed a couple of years ago I think and the whole idea of mass immigration, which was a really long-term brand idea that they stuck with over a really long period of time became quite powerful. But even that has changed. There are definitely a few.

Darren:

Marketers talk about brand equity and building brand equity but how are we actually building brand equity if we’re constantly changing?

Edward:

That’s absolutely true and I think it’s incumbent on both agencies and client marketers to build a long-term partnership with each other so that they can invest in the brand together.

I know that’s easier said than done and I know there are lots of pressure points and all of the rest of it but if you make that kind of commitment and invest in the partnership for the long term and challenge each other and also have an ambition for the brand then I think that ambition or vision can be articulated through great work.

And that’s what we try to do at Warc: provide case studies, success stories of who is doing the best stuff in any given category. Sometimes people can talk a good game and say we need to improve our performance, build our brand, achieve x, y, z in terms of sales but if you have work that is a focal point that can help galvanise opinion and bring stakeholders on board and on side, particularly on the client side internally.

Darren:

A powerful idea can absolutely align and galvanise people to an objective or a viewpoint. The thing I find is that often the internal stakeholders, the marketers themselves, are the ones that get tired of the idea, even before the consumer has had time to really appreciate the idea. Internally, they’re already tired of it and want to reinvent it.

Edward:

I think that’s really true. Clients and their agencies live and breathe with an idea for 6 months before the thing actually comes to market and there’s an inevitability. Stick with it in the long-term and if the idea is good enough you can tweak it.

Darren:

And refresh it and extend it and do all those things; just don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

Edward:

Absolutely, and consumers these days are very savvy in being able to decode marketing and advertising messages so that is fine to tweak, refresh and evolve it all of the time.

Darren:

But do you think a bit of it is the whole way creativity is talked about in agencies? I was a copywriter and creative director for 15 years and what I found was first of all the irony of having a creative department.

By that definition everyone else in this organisation is not. Secondly, creative departments are almost incentivised to constantly do new because no one wants to extend or refresh; I want to put my stamp on it and make it new.

That’s been encouraged by the agency because there are more fees in it and by marketers because they get tired and they want something new.

Edward:

Yeah, I think that is quite an old-fashioned way of looking at it. Going back to Rainey Kelly, there wasn’t a creative department, although there were people who were copywriters, creatives. But actually, everybody sat with each other. It was all mixed up. It was a melee across the agency.

There were planners, camp handlers, press people all sitting on pods together and that created a really nice osmosis of ideas. And ideas could generally come from anywhere in the agency.

Darren:

Do you have a handy definition of creativity that you work to?

Edward:

It’s a tough one because creativity is a soft concept, it’s very subjective but I think at the heart of great creativity is just brilliant ideas, brilliant ideas that have a compelling human insight at the heart of them. That’s kind of what we were talking about earlier.

Darren:

The one I like is that creativity is the ability to see patterns in the world and your surroundings that no one else can see. Except that once you see the pattern it almost seems so obvious.

How many times have you heard of great ideas that are instantly surprising but then you go, ‘oh my god, that is so obvious’? Why hadn’t anyone seen it before? And I love that because this whole idea that everything has to be new goes out the window because it’s not new, it’s just a new way of looking at what’s already there.

And it comes from an essential truth because it exists in the world. It’s just reframed or re-connected in a new way.

Edward:

I think that’s right. You say obvious; I would say simple. I think great ideas there is an inherent simplification in that process. So that what you see may look obvious but it is brutally simple. You get it and it just speaks to you.

I think it is incumbent on brands to find more interesting ideas and ways to be creative to stand out because within categories everyone is starting to do the same thing. They’re starting to follow each other.

In my presentation at Mumbrella this week I talked about this concept of ‘Mephisto Waltz’, which is this astronomical term of two black holes that get caught up in each other’s gravitational pull and eventually they just collapse into one another. And that’s what’s happening to a lot of brands and categories.

Brands need to change the rules of their categories for them to stand out.

Darren:

But that’s going back to that behaviour of ‘who else is doing it?’ It immediately reinforces that waltz because what you’re doing is constantly comparing yourself to your competitors and not wanting to step out of what they’re doing.

Edward:

Absolutely. There is this fantastic campaign that we showed this week from China—actually one of the Warc Asia strategies for SK2 and if you know that market it’s very kind of cluttered.

The usual characteristics of that market are all about beauty and skin whitening and you have the usual kind of model shots. It’s really dominated by the European players but what SK2 did with their agency is really move beyond understanding their target audience, which is what are the values behind women in China (which the government has actually labelled as sheng nu–‘women on the shelf’ because there is a lot of pressure from parents to marry and all the rest of it).

A lot of these women don’t want to marry. They want to have their own independence and they’ve got the confidence to be themselves.

Darren:

The generation of the single child policy so there is a huge amount of pressure on their shoulders to carry on the family but also (single child) they’ve been brought up to be an empress or emperor.

So, they are more demanding and expecting of having more in their life than just following the rules.

Edward:

Absolutely. There’s this thing in Shanghai called the marriage market where parents actually advertise their sons and daughters to prospective spouses. What’s really interesting about this case study is that it was a Swedish agency that came up with the idea.

It’s interesting that they came from outside the region and outside China because they were able to ask the questions that if they had come from inside China would have been almost too obvious. They were able to interrogate the client and really get beneath the target audience in a way that they could empathise with the target audience.

And so, they had this marriage market takeover and they replaced the usual kind of answer you see with an amazingly powerful portrait of who these women actually are, looking absolutely beautiful. It came off that platform of change destiny and it had an amazing effect on their business performance.

Darren:

All this talk about creativity comes at a time when business (not marketing, not agencies) but businesses themselves are embracing this idea of innovation to avoid being disrupted by their competitors.

And I’m really interested in your perspective on creativity versus innovation because a lot of agencies are being pigeon-holed as being creative but businesses are turning to management consultants and people like that for innovation and not their creative agencies.

What is the difference between creativity and innovation from your perspective that would cause that?

Creativity vs Innovation

Edward:

I think that at the heart of either is a great idea and great ideas have to have a human truth and insight at the heart of them.

Whether that just gets played out in communication or in advertising or whether that gets played out in terms of a new business or service offering kind of depends on who the agency is and the willingness of that client to open up their business and for the agency to come in and really work with the client to innovate.

I think great campaigns can come from innovations around a particular product or service. There’s a really great campaign from a couple of years ago, in Australia actually, for the train service in Victoria. Their business problem was that they didn’t have enough weekend travel.

A lot of the kids had moved to the city, to Melbourne and weren’t travelling to see their parents. They came up with this notion, I believe McCaan worked with the client to come up with a prepay ticket, which they called the ‘guilt trip’. Parents could actually pay.

Darren:

For their kids to come home. They put new product development based on an insight.

Edward:

Based on an emotional insight that you can guilt your kids to come and see you at the weekend and obviously that increases travel and revenues.

Darren:

I like it because it actually goes to the core of a business problem, which is low participation on the weekends but a lot of marketers say to me that when they throw open the opportunity for business innovation to their agencies they either get new product ideas that are totally impractical or they just get things that lead to more comms.

It’s almost fed out of what the agency ‘does best’, which is creating marketing communications and advertising.

Edward:

I question whether the clients are genuinely opening up their business and really allowing the agencies to get hold of all the really interesting data that can really inform that kind of creative process.

And obviously when you are innovating, brainstorming, work-shopping you’ve got a blue sky and then you’ve got to rein it in. A good partnership between an agency and a client will understand the parameters of what you can do.

I think you’ve got to push it out there and then rein it back in again. At the heart of it is a commitment on both sides for a genuine longstanding partnership wherever that’s possible.

Darren:

There’s a split between creative awards and effectiveness awards. And generally, you’ll find marketers have very little interest in creative awards and more interest in effectiveness awards.

So, what do you see as the role, if anything, for creative awards for the industry?

Edward:

Creative awards for the industry can help keep talent within the agencies. It can help celebrate the craft of creativity and I think that’s great. But I’m more of an advocate for creative effectiveness awards, particularly working here at Warc where we celebrate great strategy and creativity in strategy.

So, looking at finding more interesting ways of developing ideas to reach target audiences and that kind of thing. Yes, creativity is important. It can inspire. It can help galvanise relationships. It can help push the careers of both client marketers and also agency folk and, critically, it has always helped agencies retain or attract key talent.

Creative Awards

Darren:

The reason I ask is there has been a lot of controversy in 2017, especially around the Cannes Creative Festival and the awards there. I was involved in running creative awards shows in Australia when I was a creative director and my concern is that the methodology for creative awards is incredibly subjective.

It’s basically other award winning creative directors getting together and deciding what’s good and what’s not based on their experience, which seems to lead to group think. It almost becomes that there is a certain style of advertising idea that gets promoted, and I particularly see it in the way that Asia is represented on international awards.

You constantly see the U.S and the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand up there in the leads because the group of judges have got a specific western viewpoint (even if they’re from Asia they have usually worked in the West) about what a great idea is that works against other ideas that may not fit the English/Western.

I think that subjectivity is what actually undermines the very essence of the award process.

Edward:

I think that creativity is a very subjective concept and can be quite challenging in that respect. We focus on creative effectiveness at Warc. And we actually publish the Cannes Effectiveness Lions award, which is creative work that has proven to have a business result.

So, typically, if they’ve won a creative award the previous year they go into the creative effectiveness awards and that for me is absolutely fantastic. Not only is it a brilliant idea but it’s proven to have a very significant business impact and we see lots of great examples.

Darren:

So, my scientist brain kicked in there and went ‘that’s a skewed sample, isn’t it?’ What you’re not actually looking at is all of the things that weren’t creative but also delivered great effectiveness.

Edward:

You’re looking at what’s in front of you and that tends to be some of the best work in the world.

Darren:

Well, it’s had to have won the Cannes Effectiveness awards. It’s had to have won the previous year and then be re-entered in the effectiveness awards but as a sampling exercise the filtering says, ‘clearly creative work is effective’. But where was the work done to look at the non-creative work and its effectiveness to get a comparison?

Edward:

We focus on a lot of effectiveness work from around the world, and the Asia Prize (which we announced just a couple of weeks ago) is really just focusing on strategy and the strategic inputs that help deliver great ideas and then has an impact on the brand and business.

I think there’s a really nice balance between creativity and effectiveness. If it’s just effectiveness without creativity it relies on the size or scale of a business—it’s kind of brand muscle. But if you’ve got creativity on potentially quite a reduced budget because that’s the magic that gets your brand noticed.

Darren:

At the Mumbrella Asia 360 conference we saw a case study from Grab but Grab’s not innovative. They’re copying the existing Uber model but they’ve been hugely effective, based on what was presented, so isn’t that an example of something that’s been hugely effective but not particularly creative?

Edward:

I think Grab is doing well in this region because they’re perceived as being a local brand and in Asia local brands do really well against the big global behemoths.

Darren:

But my point is that I think that sometimes the creativity isn’t in the marketing. Sometimes the creativity is just in the business proposition. Sometimes the creativity and effectiveness is by being second into market and doing it a little bit better than someone else.

WeChat

Edward:

That’s right. Look at WeChat in China. They’ve combined Twitter, PayPal, Facebook all in one platform.

Darren:

To me that is creative or innovative in that they looked at the West and went, ‘why do those stupid Americans have each of these on a different app? Why don’t we take all of them and put them onto one app?’

What an amazing utility it is to have a payment platform with a whole lot of social media attached to it. I mean as soon as I saw WeChat I went, ‘whoever did this was brilliant’ because it commercialised it straight away.

Facebook has tried to make money out of selling ad space—what a 150-year old idea that is. WeChat is infinitely more innovative as a business proposition because it started with a social media platform that is built on an ecommerce platform—two thumbs up, thank you very much.

Edward:

I was in China the other day and it is the go-to platform for everything from paying a bill or just creating a group conversation around the table, people will actually do it on WeChat. It’s phenomenal.

Darren:

Street vendors have a QR code that you just put your phone up to and your WeChat account pays for whatever you’ve ordered from a street vendor. It’s not even a store and yet in the West you go into a bank to arrange credit facilities to take payments from my customers— ‘oh well that’s going to cost you $500 to set it up, $100 a month to have that facility and then we’re going to take 1.25%.

WeChat is so far ahead, it is the disruptor that will bring the banks undone. But again, the creativity or innovation is in the very core of the business, which is,’ that’s a good idea, that’s a good idea—put it all together.’

Edward:

It’s a great idea which comes from a really good understanding of their audience that they’re appealing to and what that audience is looking for.

Darren:

Well, human beings don’t want to have to open 4 or 5 apps to do what they could do in one.

Edward:

So, with all the onset of technology, yes, this is really exciting and offers lots of innovative ways to reach different audiences but at the heart of that are still human beings.

Human beings that have wants, needs, and emotions and all of the rest of it and one of the key things that we see coming out of effective creativity at Warc is work that really resonates emotionally and creates this emotional narrative which enables brands to connect with their audience in a very powerful and memorable way.

Technology and Innovation

Darren:

That’s one of the things I want to talk to you about: technology and innovation because so much of what we hear in conversations in the industry these days is all about innovation in technology.

Someone’s got a new platform to do something or here’s the new technology solution and there’s all these sales people out there selling to marketers and agencies—this is the next big thing or this is the solution.

In actual fact, going back to your premise; all of these technology solutions should be judged on how they enhance people’s experience shouldn’t they?

Edward:

Yeah, absolutely. It was really interesting to listen to the guy from Chope. Chope is an app where people can make reservations with restaurants across the region and the founder was talking at Mumbrella.

But at the heart of what they do is they’re adding value to their restaurant partners by automating this and making it easier for them to manage restaurant bookings and all the rest of it. So, it goes back to a fundamental human need.

Yes, the tech is fantastic but what is the human driver and need behind that and how they sell that to restaurant providers is by providing an automated service. These guys should be cooks in the kitchen.

They should be producing fantastic food but the tech takes away all the pain from the restaurant bookings and automates it in a fantastic way.

Darren:

I’ve seen too many marketers fall into the trap of buying these technology solutions only to then realise that it’s like buying the latest big power drill and first of all, not needing to drill any holes and secondly, not knowing how to drill holes.

Edward:

My advice is resist the shiny new toy syndrome and work out what are you trying to achieve? What are your strategic priorities? Come up with your idea and then apply the right tech that is going to get your message out there and enhance the innovation or creativity that you’re working on.

Put the human being first, the human truth first and then the technology second.

Darren:

I think the saying is technology is an enabler so work out what it is you want to do and why you want to do it and then find the technology that will enable you to do it more efficiently at scale, whatever it is that you are trying to achieve rather than buying the tool and going, ‘what am I going to do with this?’

Edward:

With the advent of technology it’s interesting; there was a report in the World Economic Forum in terms of what are the key skill sets for people in the future and number one was creativity, which is something that inherently can be produced and championed by human beings as opposed to robots or AI.

Darren:

That’s brilliant because the next thing I wanted to talk about is that there is an increasing body of thought that brands are being built by customer experience more than they’re being built by advertising and commerce.

That a person’s perception of a brand is coming more though their experience of it (which could include partly the comms), but social media, friends, the way they’re dealt with when they go into a store, the call centre, the product experience.

This whole customer journey and all of the touch points along there is actually much more powerful than any single piece of communication or even campaign of communication.

Edward:

Yeah, I remember seeing some research on Warc actually that said that the biggest factor that influences the net promoter score is customer service and it’s way higher than advertising.

But I think it all comes back to an all-pervading idea, something that can pervade the communications, the marketing, customer service, how people operate at point of sale. What is that customer journey?

It is absolutely right to put the customer at the heart of that. Work out who they are, what they’re looking for, how you can emotionally connect with them, and that, I believe, is the right way around.

Darren:

I like what you’ve been saying about creativity all along. Perhaps this is where creative thinking, creative or strategic process is looking at all those touch points and finding what is the human truth in each of those that we could enhance?

Steve Jobs said “don’t ask people what they want, work out what they need and give it to them”, which is part of that creative intuition. It’s understanding people and being able to give them a creative or innovative enhancement to their experience that surprises and delights them.

Edward:

I think it’s an exciting time. Technology enables agencies to get involved in lots of different areas beyond just the marketing. And if you can inform customer service or how a Chatbot might be used as part of the customer service experience and you can help to instill the DNA of the idea into how that Chatbot communicates.

Darren:

The brand personality.

Edward:

The tone of voice. There are lots of really interesting ideas about how to champion that idea and bring it to life in new, surprising, and exciting ways that can connect with your audience.

Darren:

You talked earlier about how creativity is the idea and agencies talk a lot about having the big idea. My experience of the big idea is that it is often judged by marketers on how it will then fit into each of their comms channels.

But on the basis of the big idea working across the customer experience we are actually looking at a big idea that can actually be executed as lots and lots of little ideas, aren’t we?

Edward:

We are and as I said before consumers are very savvy these days. They can decode stuff and you don’t have to have matching luggage. You don’t have to have an idea that looks and feels exactly the same in every different channel.

Darren:

Or is literally exactly the same in every different channel because it becomes boring.

Edward:

Absolutely. You can flex an idea and make it work with a particular channel distribution point and have a bit of fun with it.

11 Herbs and Spices

Darren:

Did you hear about KFC’s Twitter account?

Edward:

No.

Darren:

Someone has decoded the fact that KFC’s Twitter account globally has millions of followers but they only follow 11 people. And they worked out that they’re the five spice girls and 6 guys called, Herb.

Get it? Eleven herbs and spices. As soon as someone looked at that and worked it out and then shared it it’s gone absolutely viral on Social media because it is so clever.

And you go, ‘oh my god, whoever thought of that?’ How absolutely clever, something so small as the number of people we’re going to follow on Twitter. We’re going to make it meaningful and make people remember the KFC’s proposition: 11 secret herbs and spices.

Well, the 5 Spice Girls are not so secret but I didn’t know any of the Herbs.

Edward:

I love that. And we see a lot of that touch point creativity coming in campaigns—some really cool stuff. One that’s been talked about a lot this year (talking about Cannes earlier), the fearless girl campaign did phenomenally well at Cannes.

But what I love about that particular campaign is that before they’d always talked about female empowerment and they’d had the usual clatter about thought leadership and conferences and stuff.

But just by building this statue of this fearless girl who could face off the bull on Wall St not only provoked so many conversations around the world but in terms of trade, State Street reached the third largest fund manager in the States. Their trade has increased by 348%.

Darren:

Yes, agree but then it comes out that they are an organisation that pays women generally lower than they pay their men.

Edward:

I heard that and I can’t speak to that. That was obviously a PR issue. If you’re going to champion these things and you’re going to have a social purpose.

Darren:

Make sure you can actually live up to it.

Edward:

That’s a key thing. Lots of people are jumping on the social purpose bandwagon. Some people are doing exceptionally well but you’ve got to be careful. Don’t get into this mess unless you can deliver.

Darren:

The way they should have dealt with that is when the story broke, go, ‘yes, we’ve just become aware of it and this is what we’re going to do to address it’.

I don’t think people expect anyone to be perfect. We are so used to people letting us down. We are so used to organisations letting us down that we don’t expect people to be perfect but we do expect them to stop denying things and actually get on board and tell us o.k. we’re not perfect but these are the steps we’re going to take to fix it.

Edward:

I completely agree. I think a bit of human fallibility (coming back to humanity again) is really important. Brands don’t have to be absolutely perfect. Social media enables brands to go large these days but it doesn’t matter if there are a few trips and it doesn’t look quite so glossy and polished.

Darren:

A bit like this podcast.

Edward:

Like this podcast with lorries going on in the background. Anyway, that’s Chinatown in Singapore for you.

Darren:

Look we’ve run out of time but thanks for having me here at the Asia headquarters of Warc and obviously if people want to access the data and the case studies and things they just need to contact you guys here don’t they, to work out how to do that?

Edward:

Absolutely or you can go onto Warc.com and you can request a demo or a trial of our service and we can get in touch.

Darren:

Well one last question: what’s your favourite advertising campaign?

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Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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