Tag Archive: ANA Masters of Marketing

  1. The ANA Masters of Marketing 2022: ECI’s key insights

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    The atmosphere at this year’s ANA Masters of Marketing was a combination of excitement and caution. Excitement because this was the first time since 2019 that most of the delegates had travelled to Orlando for the conference; caution because these are difficult times to work in marketing, with budgets threatened and consumers cutting costs. But top marketers from the US ad industry took to the stage to share their insights and experience in not just surviving, but thriving through adversity.

    ECI Media Management was proud to sponsor the Wi-Fi at the conference, and attended the sessions to hear first-hand from some of the industry’s leading lights. Here are our key insights from the three days.

    Invest through the recession

    The looming global recession was top of mind at the conference. Everyone was questioning how best to manage their advertising investments over the next few years – and some were anticipating having to cut their ad budgets. The ANA’s CEO, Bob Liodice, was very clear that this was the wrong strategy in his opening remarks on the first day of the conference: ‘In the next few months, you’re going to be asked to cut your budget. You’ll be asked to find ways to save money. This is not the time to do that’. He argued that successful brands can only win when they differentiate themselves from the competition – and that this can only happen when budgets are protected, no matter the economic conditions.

    At the Masters of Marketing, United’s Head of Global Advertising Maggie Schmerin described how the airline maintained its advertising spend throughout the most difficult days of the pandemic, despite a dramatic loss of revenue. They saw it as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to gain share of mind and emphasise its mission to be a force for good. The campaign was its biggest in a decade, and allowed the company to ‘make leaps and bounds in terms of where we were prior’.

    Read our recent whitepaper for tips on how to market during economic uncertainty.

    Be clear about your brand purpose

    The longstanding theme of the Masters of Marketing is ‘Force for Growth. Force for Good’, so it’s not surprising that a common thread linking the talks at the conference was how activating brand purpose has led to increased sales. Chipotle’s Chris Brandt described how the company brought its purpose – ‘cultivating a better world’ to life across their business by sourcing their ingredients responsibly and supporting farmers. This approach added $2.8 billion to their sales over five years, as well as having tangible impact on the lives of farmers and the health of their supply chain. Chris and all his fellow speakers emphasized that brand purpose must be authentic and have real-world impact – ‘greenwashing’ or ‘whitewashing’ is not good enough and, what’s more, consumers can see it a mile off. Marcel Marcondes, the Global Chief Marketing Officer at AB InBev, talked about the importance of not just talking about what we stand for or only about what consumers care about; it’s about finding the intersection between the two.

    Confirming the key role that media and advertising have to play in the battle against climate change, Cannes Lions CEO Simon Cook announced that entries must disclose the C02 footprint of the work in question. This is an important step towards a more sustainable ad industry, but will leave many marketers scratching their heads over how to measure a carbon footprint.

    Balance investment at the top and bottom of the funnel

    In times of economic uncertainty, it’s tempting for marketers to focus on bottom-of-the-funnel efforts to drive immediate sales. This is sensible, but shouldn’t be at the expense of investment into the upper funnel and brand equity measures. A downturn is an opportunity to drive loyalty and share of mind. Gary Osifchin, CMO and GM, US Hygiene at Reckitt, told delegates in Orlando how Lysol harnessed the cash and brand equity generated from increased sales during the pandemic to invest in new channels and reach new audiences. This approach allowed the brand to maintain sales at 56% higher than before the pandemic.

    Multicultural marketing is mainstream marketing

    Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, used his annual keynote slot at the Masters of Marketing to urge fellow marketers to step up their efforts to serve minority ethnic audiences. Not only do these audiences deserve to have products and messaging that resonate with them, but it also makes financial sense for brands. Minority ethnic audiences represent 100% of American population growth in the last decade, and $5 trillion in spending power. Tailoring messaging to these individuals can only reap benefits for both business growth and society.

    Be open to experimenting

    Several of the speakers at the Masters of Marketing shared their experiences of considered risk-taking in their marketing campaigns, and the rewards that have resulted. Soyoung Kang, CMO at Eos Products, shared how their ground-breaking campaign for their shave range would have likely been less successful if they hadn’t taken risks and been open to experimenting. The campaign – which focused humorously on body parts that others might shy away from – drew its success from the team’s willingness to really listen to fans and followers. They constantly checked and monitored responses to avoid straying into vulgar territory, and used what they learned to drive new campaigns. Kang described their use of creativity as ‘rocket fuel’.

    Mastercard’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar spoke about how Mastercard has created ‘Priceless’ moments for consumers across the world by experimenting with multisensory marketing, including by creating touch cards for the visually impaired, Mastercard-sponsored culinary experiences, a sonic logo and bespoke fragrances.

    Don’t panic about the metaverse

    The metaverse received less attention than might otherwise have been expected at a marketing conference – largely, one suspects, because marketers have more pressing things to think about right now. When it did come up, the message was reassuring: it’s ok to feel uncertain about it, because it’s uncharted, confusing territory. Jeff Charney from Mkhstry said ‘I know the metaverse is hard to understand. You don’t have to be in it today. Just be aware of it… Be knowledgeable’. Soyoung Kang said that Eos Products is equally measured when it comes to its approach to the metaverse: ‘There are pockets where our consumer is actively engaging. And we just want to make sure that we are testing in a measured way our ability to connect with our audience in those places. It’s all about learning and awareness right now and, if it feels right, dipping your toe in. The metaverse still has a long way to go, so there’s no need to go all in yet.

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    This year’s Masters of Marketing from the ANA provided, as always, a plethora of opportunities to learn and connect.

    ECI Media Management was the proud sponsor of the Wi-Fi at the ANA Masters of Marketing.

  2. ANA Masters of Marketing 2022: Day 1 – it’s good to be back

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    There’s a buzz in the air of the vast space of the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel in Orlando: marketers and industry players from across the US are delighted to be back at the ANA’s flagship event, the Masters of Marketing. For many, it’s three years since they were last here in person. And what a return it is: with more than 2000 people attending in person and 1500 virtually, it’s safe to say that the industry has officially reconvened. The enthusiasm for three days of conversation, learning, inspiration and good old-fashioned fun was palpable.

    Setting the tone: a call to arms

    The ANA’s CEO, Bob Liodice, opened the conference as always with his reflections on the state of the advertising industry in the US. He spoke to the feeling of excitement with a call to celebrate all that we have come through – the pandemic but also stagflation, social strife, global unrest and rising crime. He quoted Unilever’s Esi Egglestone Bracey: ‘We are sprinting through an endless obstacle course. Take a recovery break and reflect on what the world needs now and what we can do as marketers and business leaders to help. The world is ripe for even more purpose and positivity’. Esi’s words set the tone for Bob’s presentation and indeed the whole of day one: marketers and brands have the power to be a real force for good in a world that so desperately needs it. The key is ‘Brands for Humans’ or ‘B4H’ – finding the humanity and purpose in a brand and using that to deliver purpose and drive growth.

    Using a powerful graph that showed in black and white the disparity in growth between companies that invest in their brands and those that don’t, Bob reminded the audience that ‘highly-branded companies’ consistently outperform their competition by a wide margin – so resisting calls from CFOs to cut budgets is crucial for both short- and long-term growth.

    Driving multi-cultural market growth

    Next up on the stage was another well-known figure: P&G’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard. His presentation reinforced Bob’s focus on humanity. He took the audience through P&G’s seven habits for market growth, which center on inclusivity, diversity and creativity. He pointed out that 100% of population growth in the US in the last decade came from increases in Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native, Indigenous, multiracial and multi-ethnic segments of the population. These groups have a combined buying power of more than $5 trillion, so it’s clear that marketers need to reach them effectively in order to drive sustainable growth. This cannot be done by using old marketing habits: brands need to speak specifically to these people and to meet their unique needs. The one lesson that Marc wanted us to take from his presentation? Multi-ethnic marketing is mainstream marketing – so it’s time to transform our strategies at every level.

    Creativity is the rocket fuel for growth

    The importance of creativity in marketing is another key theme at this year’s Masters of Marketing. Soyoung Kang, CMO of Eos, showed us how Eos has embraced risk-taking, smart experimentation, honesty, creativity and, crucially, truly listening to their consumers, to find new ways to communicate and grow their shaving range. We received a ‘mature content’ warning at the start and it’s fair to say we heard about strategies and messaging that haven’t graced the ANA stage before! Soyoung’s presentation was invigorating and inspiring, encouraging us to find the edges of our comfort zone and then ‘gently and respectfully push boundaries’. It was the Eos team’s willingness to embrace discomfort and really listen to their consumers on social media that allowed them to evolve into a multicategory, 360-degree personal care brand, with some remarkable growth and expansion statistics.

    Purpose at the heart of it all

    The ongoing theme of the Masters of Marketing conferences is ‘Force for Growth. Force for Good’ – and it is brand purpose where those two forces overlap. The morning’s sessions concluded with engrossing presentations from two prominent CMOs talking about how their brand’s purpose lies at the heart of all they do.

    Ford’s Suzy Deering explained how the brand activated its newly defined purpose statement by ‘evaluating company decisions using it, investing on behalf of it and making sacrifices for it’. Faithful adherence to this new purpose – ‘To help build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams’ – allowed the company to take what appeared to be risks without fear. This included creating the electric version of the iconic F-150 truck and making plans to build Blue Oval City in Tennessee.

    Bob Liodice introduced Chipotle’s CMO Chris Brandt with some impressive results: they have added $3.8 billion in annual sales by implementing a new marketing strategy and embracing the digital ecosystem. Chris took to the stage to talk about how Chipotle harnessed its purpose of cultivating a better world as the foundation for this growth. The brand has put its money where its mouth is, literally, to promote what it calls ‘real food’, support organic farming practices, help feed communities in need, train the next generation of young farmers and support current ones. And it’s working, for both the planet and the bottom line.

    Breaking through the clutter

    In the last session of the day, Mastercard’s well-known and well-respected Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Raja Rajamannar, started his presentation with the observation that we are living through the most significant paradigm shift in history, with a ‘tech tsunami’, a ‘data deluge’ and huge cultural change. Consumer attention is spread incredibly thin as a result, and they are turning to tools such as ad blockers for some respite. How can brands capture their attention in this brave new world?

    For Mastercard, it has been about harnessing science, psychology, technology and experimentation to explore new, exciting ways of reaching consumers. They observed that marketing focuses on two of the senses – sight and hearing – but that there are three more that barely get a look in. This led the Mastercard team to create ‘priceless’ moments; they worked with scientists to optimize the colors in the logo; they created taste experiences with innovative chefs and food brands; they collaborated with artisan parfumeurs to create bespoke fragrances; they innovated in credit card design to create cards that are more accessible for blind people; and they worked with world-leading musicians and musicologists to create a new sonic identity. Raja’s presentation was fun, invigorating and no doubt inspired his audience to consider new ways of reaching their audiences.

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    Day 1 at the Masters of Marketing was as inspiring, thought-provoking and fun as everyone expected it would be – and it didn’t hurt that it ended with an electrifying performance from none other than Michael Bublé! The bar has been set high for day 2, but the ANA never disappoints…

    ECI is the proud sponsor of the Wi-Fi at the ANA Masters of Marketing.

  3. Purpose and diversity: the ANA Masters of Marketing 2021

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    In October, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the US advertising industry’s largest trade association, held their Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Florida, welcoming both in-person and virtual attendees for the first time since 2019. Deyon Brown, ECI Media Management’s Digital Consultant, North America, was on location, connecting with fellow marketers and stakeholders and listening to industry leaders share their perspectives and experiences from marketing during the pandemic and discuss their visions and business priorities in a post-pandemic economy. 

    When Deyon got home, we sat down with her (in a metaverse dimension!) and asked her to share her insights, experiences and learnings. 

    What was it like to be at an in-person event after all this time?

    It was beautiful, I loved it! It was more intimate than it would normally have been due to many people not being able to travel because of covid restrictions, so it allowed me to meet people more naturally and organically. I loved the more intimate size. It felt good to be around people again – of course, we were all taking covid precautions, but it was amazing to have conversations that weren’t just about work, like Zoom calls often are. We talked about everything! 

    What were attendees talking about?

    spoke with several agency CEOs about the great resignation and whether it was affecting their companies. It does seem to be an issue that is affecting the industry at large, with staff going to other industries or even to competitors. The pandemic has given people time to reassess what’s important to them in their work. Turnover in this industry is high – it’s a demanding industry, and people can feel overwhelmed – and if they do leave, it’s difficult to just replace them, because the talent pool is limited. Many agency CEOs and senior leadership teams are therefore looking for ways to keep their people happy and keep employee retention high. 

    The theme of the event itself was ‘a force for good, a force for growth’, with speakers exploring purpose in marketing and how contributes to company growth. Did that sit well in the wake of a pandemic? Did it resonate with audiences, and feel relevant? What elements of that were picked up in the talks you attended? 

    There was a lot of focus on DE&I (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). Following the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020 there was a real reckoning in the United States, and indeed across the world. It was a tragedy, but a lot of good came of it. At the Masters, there was a recognition that we need to look at DE&I in all our businesses – it can’t just be a niche. It needs to be incorporated into our everyday living and working.  

    The conference featured several speakers who spoke about DE&I in an interesting and engaging way; however, I didn’t see many implemented solutions – I really wanted to see how brands have followed through with their DE&I strategies both in-house and with their customers. It’s important to talk about and recognize the importance of DE&I, and I’m glad that we are as an industry, but I would love to hear more about how they are incorporating it into their business and marketing strategies. Of course, speakers only had 45 minutes, and there has been a lot going on in the last year with the pandemic and the societal reckoning around race and inclusion, so it has been challenging to implement significant changes. Next year, I hope we will hear many more examples of how DE&I has been successfully incorporated into every level of a company’s vision and strategy – and results too.  

    Another thing I’d love to hear more about is how brands are working with minority-owned media agencies – not because they are minority-owned, but because they do brilliant work and have so much to offer to enhance a brand’s relationships with its consumers.  

    What were some of the most interesting things you learned at the ANA Masters of Marketing?

    There were some really interesting conversations around flexible working. It’s well-known that the tech industry has adapted flexible ways of working, offering their workers the option to do what works best for them, with more boundaries between professional and personal lives. The media and advertising industries – which obviously work closely with the tech sector – seem to be following suit. As we’ve talked about above, this can be a hard industry to work in, and burnout is a real issue, so it’s great that they want to help their employees find a balance that means they can deliver results at work without sacrificing their personal lives tooSo if you need to go to your kid’s soccer match or a medical appointment, you can do that and return to work later. Some industries are pushing their employees to come back to the office full time, so it’s great to see that the ad industry is, on the whole, open to a more flexible work model. And it will, perhapslessen the “great resignation” we spoke of earlier.  

    What was your highlight of the week?

    Deloitte’s CMO Suzanne Kounkel spoke about her company’s Chief Purpose Officer, a new role the company created because they wanted someone who would oversee how the company’s purpose was being interpreted by employees. I think this is such a great idea – employees will always feel more engaged and valued if they understand the importance of their work to the organization and how they are contributing to the organization’s mission, vision, values and growth. It’s even more crucial for large companies with thousands of employees, as it can be difficult to understand how you fit into the bigger picture. 

    Another highlight was hearing CMOs such as Kohl’s Greg Revelle and Lowe’s Marisa Thalberg speak about how their bricks and mortar stores have become a key part of their marketing strategies. Thanks to the pandemic, the whole world has spent much of the last 18 months sitting at home, shopping online. These brands want you to get off the internet and go to their stores, so they have focused on making the experience fun and engaging. There are product demonstrations that invite customer participation and special seasonal in-store giveaways. Kohl’s has even partnered with Sephora in creating a dedicated beauty space, making in-store shopping more enticing for the likes of me!  

    I think this is a creative, counter-intuitive way of thinking in light of the pandemic and retail headwinds. More and more people are doing an increasing amount of their purchasing online, but instead of investing in their online experiences, these brands are thinking differently and making their physical stores a destination for engaging, immersive experiences, in order to drive higher foot traffic.  

    What would you like to see at next year’s ANA Masters of Marketing?

    As I mentioned earlier in this post, I’m excited to hear stories of how brands have successfully integrated DE&I into the heart of their business and marketing strategies. But I also want to be wowed by the future. All marketers know that Baby Boomers and Generation X have the biggest spending power right now. But that won’t always be the case – Millennials (Generation Y) and even Generation Z are growing up and earning more money. How are we going to target them? What are the marketing strategies of the future that will engage them and drive brand loyalty? That’s what I want to see at the Masters of Marketing next year. For me, going to a conference like this should be like going to the World Fairs of the early 20th century – I want to see into the future! What is the future of marketing and targeting? How much more involved will social media and influencers be? What is the next big thing? I’ve been reading a lot about the metaverse recently and it’s so exciting – how are marketers going to incorporate technology advancements into their strategies? I want to know where my flying car is, and what the marketing strategy for it will be!  I understand marketers are often focused on the here and now, but it’s never too early to consider the future. 

    Header image: ESB Professional / Shutterstock

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