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Four Inches to Creative Breakthrough: Mobile & Other #AWNewYork Topics — Part 2

By Laura Messer Jackson
November 3, 2016

In my previous blog post, I introduced my four takeaways from my trip to Advertising Week 2016. This post will look at what those takeaways taught me.

My Biggest Takeaways

  1. Mobile is an Imperative
  2. A Diverse Culture Makes the Agency
  3. Media and Creativity Need More Collaboration
  4. Insightful Data Matters

Why do my four takeaways matter to our industry and our agency?

These takeaways provide just the right amount of tension to create change. Instead of directly quoting some of the speakers, I decided to provide my interpretation of what I heard and learned at the conference. There was some serious clout in many of the seminars, and I definitely recommend that you browse the free recordings and watch a few. And let me know which topics stick out to you. Let’s compare and contrast!

Mobile is an Imperative

Every consumer has gone mobile and there’s an entire world of possibility in this space. But we have to make sure that our content is relevant and timely and that it’s served in the right context. Don’t look at the four inches of a smartphone screen as a smaller space to work with, think of it as our most dynamic opportunity ever to reach consumers.

We also have to think about engaging consumers, not just getting in front of them. Attention creates action. And the longer we can have someone’s attention, the more impact we make. Holding someone’s attention better can happen through improving the stories we tell in the mobile space, as well as discovering new forms of mobile interaction. Think: 360 canvas ads, innovating filters on Snapchat or targeting users with customized carousel units.

A Diverse Culture Makes the Agency

Homogeny has never and will never enable the highest level of authentic and creative thinking. Uniform makers simply won’t get there. It’s no longer acceptable for agencies to be out of touch with values that put diverse practices in action. Clients also insist on this. Agencies have to stop talking about diversity and set values or rules in place and start hiring a more diverse workforce and creating work that speaks to and understands the diversity of consumers.

One of my favorite quotes from the entire week is worth leaving word for word here:

“Doing the same thing this year that you did last year is not risk-averse. It is dangerous and wasteful. You need to accept that.” -Brad Jakeman (PepsiCo)

Media and Creativity Need More Collaboration

There are too many silos in place preventing collaboration between media and creative. The RFP game is one of the main causes of this. Agencies need to work with the media agencies and the media publishers more closely from the beginning. Some agencies are sending the creative teams to meet with the media agencies before even writing their scripts to complement and amplify the media. There will never be any innovation if everyone comes to the table with different ideas and try to mush them together.

If agencies are ready to adapt, they need to get everyone in the same room and “get to the first yes” and then move from there. Additionally, metrics need to account for people, not proxies. Deep media insights help communications planning give the right people the right content downstream.

Remember, we can either shift perception or shift behavior. We can’t work towards ten goals. We can work towards one goal, and we can’t get there if we don’t understand our consumers or agree on our objective as a team from square one.

Insightful Data Matters

Sift through your data for real insights that help you solve complicated problems. Don’t drown in your data, looking for metrics that don’t really TELL you anything new that you can USE. Be cautious of your data tricking you when your team is performance-driven.

Reporting raw impressions is no indication of what a brand means to an audience. We need to be making impressions, not counting them. We need to be driving actual business results for our clients. We can’t sell things with advertising, but we can make things more sell-able. And the more insights we can glean from our data, the more we can innovate.

I had a great time at Advertising Week 2016 and definitely learned (and saw and ate!) much more than I can put in a blog. As is true with anything in life, continuing to learn and seek out new lessons is the only way to keep us on our toes in advertising. Now it’s time to put the lessons into action!


About Archer Malmo

Archer Malmo, with offices in Memphis, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas, combines brand thinking, data and technology to help growing brands adapt to the digital and creative complexities of today. Since 1952, we’ve continually evolved to changes in the industry, helping level the competitive playing field for midsize companies. The agency’s combination of discipline specialists, strategic orientation, creativity and culture yields strong client relationships and business results. With more than 150 people,  Archer Malmo is one of the oldest independent agencies in the U.S. and has been recognized by Advertising Age and others as a “Best Place to Work” and has been named to the “Inc. 5000” list of fastest-growing private companies in America for five consecutive years.