Data & storytelling - growth drivers for UK leaders?
This year's Festival of Marketing saw Oystercatchers take to the main stage alongside Toby Whitmoyer, Global Marketing Officer at Bacardi; Lisa Thomas, Chief Brand Officer at Virgin and Gen Kobayashi, Chief Strategy Officer for ENGINE UK
The year ahead brings both challenges and opportunities as brands need to find innovative, quick fire ways to reconnect with customers. Is the golden blend of storytelling and data a superpower in this journey to growth?
This year’s Festival of Marketing saw Oystercatchers take to the main stage to look at the impact of Covid and what comes next, with a stellar leadership line up including Toby Whitmoyer, Global Marketing Officer at Bacardi; Lisa Thomas, Chief Brand Officer at Virgin and Gen Kobayashi, Chief Strategy Officer for ENGINE UK. All moderated by our very own Suki Thompson.
Recession is breaking new creative ground
“We’ll look back and see this as a time of great creativity and innovation” said Gen, from Engine UK. A future agency transforming brands such Aldi, The Royal Navy, Transport for London and Avon through its own unique ability to reimagine its model to meet changing times.
“I’d look to history. Through major recessions we’ve seen innovation flourish. The great depression of 1920 was the birth of talking pictures and the golden age of cinema. P&G launched its first soap opera on NBC radio in 1933.”
“Now’s the time to see new creativity come through – and we’re seeing that happen already”. he added.
As the world’s largest privately held spirits company with over 200 brands and labels from Bacardi, Grey Goose, Dewars to Martini, Patron and Bombay Sapphire, Bacardi’s innovative heritage delivers a beautiful ability to pivot and transform. 2020 has seen Bacardi reach people in new places such as turning homes in to bars with cocktail masterclasses engaging with entertainment and ecommerce. “This is a new moment that matters – supporting people where they are and how they are meeting. No-one would have thought that Zoom cocktail parties could be a hit and an opportunity to catch with people from the past.” said Toby.
Toby believes that growth will come from enriching home experiences – entertaining “in a more and fun way”. Virtual won’t go away as people look for safe ways to socialise. The market is changing and channels are blurring.
Data as story-telling enrichment
“Data suggests that people are trying new products and brands faster and more often than ever before. The crisis has forced new behaviour – offering rich opportunity”, commented Gen.
Take up of D2C brands and commerce over the past month has grown and will continue to rise. Covid has accelerated these shifts we and is tipping this behaviour in mass behaviour. “A great opportunity to speak to completely new audiences in completely new ways”.
Spotify uses data brilliantly in a creative way by bringing to life data around their user base and telling stories. The RAF tapped data mining to dive deep into understanding minority groups, and, to better engage with the BAME community. The result is a powerful set of stories, told to the right people at the right time. As a result, the RAF has ramped up recruitment.
Meanwhile, at Virgin, renowned for providing unique and exceptional customer services for over half a century, data is being used to create confidence and surface positive stories around the businesses. The entrepreneurial culture continues to drive constant change.
The panel agreed that in 2020 winning brands will increasingly blend data with storytelling to drive growth. And success will come from the ability to interpret data with refined relevance.
Normality is an illusion – consumer behaviour is always in flux and the marketer’s challenge is to assess which trends are worth anticipating and acting on. So long as we keep pushing ourselves to break new ground, we will all thrive.
You can still catch up on the whole conversation through Festival of Marketing's view-on-demand passes.
Thank you to Toby, Gen and Lisa for frank and generous insights and thank you to all of you for tuning in.