Key insights from the ANA Brand Masters 2020

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By Victoria Potter, US Business Director at ECI Media Management

ECI Media Management has just returned from an inspiring and informative few days at the ANA Brand Masters in Phoenix last week, and we took home valuable learnings from the talks and panel discussions. Brand Purpose was a key topic, with many conversations around how brands can earn the trust of consumers.

Our US Business Director, Victoria Potter, shares her key insights from her time in Arizona.

Insight 1: Data turns sparks into flames

Time and time again, brands turn to data to take a small spark and turn it into a flame. Those small sparks could very easily be ignored and extinguished. However, with just a little bit of oxygen, they become blazing fires.

Boston Beer noticed a spark in the form of spiked seltzer, and just three years later, the hard seltzer category (of which their brand, Truly, has the number two ranking) has achieved a value of $2 billion, an increase of 275%.

Crocs, suffering from a relevance problem, embraced their individual identity with a boost from Ariana Grande. They revitalized the brand by embracing a ‘Come as you are’ mentality to provide space for free expression.

Insight 2: A brand without trust is just a product

The digital age in which we live creates a strange dichotomy between the personal and impersonal. Making your brand valuable in a consumer’s eyes goes beyond price. One of my favorite quotes of the week was from Brian McCarter (Ogilvy EMEA), representing Dove: “A brand without trust is just a product”.

However, Manos Spanos from Danone pointed out another important truth: brand purpose doesn’t have to be about saving the planet. Having a purpose and truth to your brand is important, but not all brands need to be about saving the world. For Danone, that meant recognizing that Oikos, a great source of protein, could help NFL footballers with their “bubble butts”. This brand purpose is no less important from a brand perspective than Honey Nut Cheerios’ ‘Future with Bees’. The key to trust is being true to yourself. As Boston Beer CMO Lesya Lysyj stated in her fourth rule – Play Your Own Game.

Insight 3: In the age of data and AI, the human element is just as important

Danone is bringing together humans and AI by creating great content that lives the brands’ truth, but uses AI to determine the efficacy of the creative.

Boston Beer noticed a small piece of data indicating strong BoDeans sales in Montana and Maine. Humans helped develop that data into a rebrand which helped reinvigorate and relaunch the brand.

Caterpillar embraces the complementary relationship between humans and machines, championing automation as a way to get more work done remotely, keep workers safer, and for longer periods of time.

Insight 4: If at first you don’t succeed…

One of the ‘four rules of marketing’ that Boston Beer shared was ‘Get it out fast, even if it’s wrong’. It sounds counterintuitive, but they pivoted a five-state launch into a national launch in just seven days, in the knowledge that they might not have it all right. However, three years later, the success of the brand speaks for itself. Admittedly, plenty of mistakes were made, but they stuck with it to get great results.

One of the key insights from OK Cupid’s CMO was that ‘this may not work, but the win is in the insight’. Sometimes trying something and not getting it right is just the information you need to get it right next time.

 

If you’d like to discuss anything you have read here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

Image: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

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