Tag Archive: purpose

  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.

    ***

    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. Human-centricity: the key to marketing in a post-pandemic world

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    A few weeks ago, we posted an article containing insights from this year’s ANA Masters of Marketing. One of the key themes from this conference was human-centricity – many speakers at the conference told how their brands are focusing on people as humans, with all the associated desires, values and flaws, rather than as consumers or vehicles for wallets. This is nothing new – after all, corporate social responsibility has existed for many years – but in the last few years the idea of purpose has really gathered speed, and has become the phrase on everyone’s lips in 2020.

    So what does human-centric marketing mean? And what does it look like?

    From consumer to human

    For a long time, brands have talked about the people who buy their products or services as consumers. This implies a one-dimensional, money-focused view: but consumers are, of course, human beings who are complex and driven by values, desires and whims. In order to appeal better to people buying their products, brands need to appeal to those values, desires and whims – the ‘human-ness’ – and not just target their wallets. At the ANAs, Marcos Spanos, the Senior VP of Brand Marketing for yogurt at Danone North America, set out a new ‘four Ps’; long used to refer to product, price, place and promotion, Spanos claimed it now means people, purpose, passion and positivity.

    ‘Human-centric’ can mean different things for different brands

    Human-centric behavior can mean many things for brands, and will depend on a brand’s identity and mission. It could mean supporting causes that your customers cherish, responsive customer services or treating and paying employees fairly. What it always means is acting with authenticity, because consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about spotting when a brand is authentic and when it is simply talking the talk.

    Having a positive impact

    One of the best ways to forge a connection with a human is to support a cause that is important to them. A study of 8000 people and 75 companies across eight countries showed that people are four to six times more likely to buy from, trust and champion companies with a strong purpose. 83% said companies should only earn a profit if they also deliver a positive impact. At the Masters of Marketing, Intel’s CMO Karen Walker told delegates ‘The brands that are taking action and have a more human-centric approach are the ones driving meaningful change.’

    What does all this mean for marketers in 2020?

    Just like every other sector of business and society, the coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the advertising industry, driving fundamental change. Marketing campaigns have a very different feel, with brands changing their messaging to be more sensitive to the plight of many staying at home, missing loved ones and facing unemployment or illness. They have also sought to put their weight behind the causes that have become so important to society: supporting healthcare and key workers, ensuring children have enough to eat and combatting loneliness, to name just a few. Meanwhile, the Black Lives Matter movement has forced brands to have more diverse representation in ads, as well as in boardrooms and among employees.

    Black Friday 2020: from consumerism to altruism

    Black Friday has traditionally been a major income-generator for brands, positioned as it is at the start of the Christmas shopping season. Indeed, it has been transported from the US, where it originated, across the Atlantic to Europe and beyond. But this year has been anything but traditional. The pandemic seems to have unleashed kindness and greater environmental consciousness, with many people waking up to the fact that hyper-consumerism doesn’t do the planet or society any favors. Many brands declared themselves out of the Black Friday discounting race this year, instead choosing to promote more altruistic initiatives, such as Ikea’s ‘Buy Back Friday’ and Deciem’s ‘Knowvember’, which saw it shut down its physical and online stores on Black Friday and christen November ‘Knowvember’ to raise awareness of the climate crisis.

    The behind-the-scenes work is just as important

    The final piece of the human-centric jigsaw is the work that isn’t immediately visible to the customer, but that certainly affects wider society and will reflect the customer’s values. That work includes ensuring that the makeup of boards and teams reflects that of wider society, and makes space for diverse voices; looking at where investments are made; and making sure that supply chains are ethical and sustainable. Diageo’s ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ approach is very much part of its company strategy, rather than just a marketing strategy – it has, in its own words, ‘infused brands with purpose’. The impact of this strategy will no doubt be used to create compelling and engaging communications campaigns that will resonate with the people that buy Diageo’s products.

    Context is key

    When communicating around brand purpose, the context in which an ad is placed is even more critical than usual. It is more than just avoiding toxic content like that of the brand safety scandals of recent years; it is about choosing spots or placements sensitively so that the brand’s messaging is not negated by an awkward juxtaposition. What’s more, carefully selected placements can enhance a campaign, with the ad acting as a response or solution to the content in which it is placed, for example. We live in an age where marketers will have to wean themselves off targeted marketing thanks to the demise of the cookie; this will likely make way for a return to contextual marketing, which allows advertisers to deliver marketing messages to consumers when they are consuming relevant content. This can only be a good thing for purpose-led marketing, where context is key.

    2020: a sea-change for brand purpose

    ‘Purpose’ has been an advertising buzz word for many years, but 2020 may just be the year that made it the default, not a nice-to-have. Many people are talking about a ‘new normal’ for a post-pandemic world; maybe the new normal for advertising will be to have the human – and not the consumer – at the heart of a brand’s communications and behavior. But it only works if it comes from a place of real care about humanity and causes: people can sense the difference between an authentic desire to have a positive impact, and simply wanting to look and sound good – and if they sense the latter, it can have a very damaging effect on a brand.

    We would be interested to hear what human-centric marketing means for your brand, and how you will be bringing that to life in 2021. Please do let us know on LinkedIn or at – we look forward to hearing from you.

    Header image: Body Stock / Shutterstock

  4. Purpose and authenticity: this year’s ANA Masters of Marketing

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    Our US Business Director Victoria Potter attended this year’s ANA Masters of Marketing from the comfort of her own home. Here are her key insights.

    It’s October, and that means one thing for the US advertising industry. No, not Halloween and no, not even the looming Presidential election. The ANA’s Masters of Marketing takes place every fall, and this year was no different – except of course, it was completely different. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic forced the convention online, and the ANA really rose to the challenge. They hosted some of the industry’s biggest names on virtual stages, all presenting their ideas on this year’s theme, ‘Force for Good. Force for Growth’. This theme was, of course, pertinent in a particularly difficult year, as the world has grappled with how to contain and manage the coronavirus, and how to come to terms with and tackle racial inequality. Brands play a huge role in people’s lives, and therefore have a huge potential to be a force for good. If that comes from a place of authenticity and is tied to the brand’s values and identity, it will resonate with consumers – and that will lead to growth.  

    As marketers from some of the world’s most famous brands spoke to their virtual audiences, some powerful ‘sub-themes’ emerged, all dovetailing back into the official theme. Time and again, presenters emphasized the need to move from consumer-centric to human-centric, how chaos has acted as a catalyst for change, and the importance of authenticity in marketing 

    From consumer-centric to human-centric

    There is a tendency amongst advertisers and marketers to talk about ‘consumers’, which inherently defines people by their capacity to ‘consume’ media messaging, products and services. That can allow us to forget that ‘consumers’ are, in fact, humans, with human desires, values and foibles. There does seem to be change afoot, however: many of the speakers at the Masters of Marketing focused on people as humans and what brands need to do to appeal to this humanity. Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, talked of opening up conversations with people, in order to create understanding between them and the brand. That understanding leads to empathy, which drives action. A person is more likely to buy from a brand with which they feel a connection, so acting on what that person values makes good business sense. 

    CVS Healthcare also did a deep dive into how empathy is at the heart of their strategy; indeed, their stated goal is to become the world’s most empathetic company. They have demonstrated that being a force for good can indeed be a force for growth: back in 2014, they acknowledged that selling tobacco went against their purpose of ‘helping people on their path to better health’, so they removed it from their stores, wiping out $2 billion dollars of revenue at a stroke. However, through other efforts based on the same philosophy, they have in fact increased their revenues by $100 billion in five years, making them the largest healthcare company in the US. Force for Good. Force for Growth. 

    Walmart has long adhered to founder Sam Walton’s belief that ‘there is only one boss – the customer’. For them this year, that has meant embracing racial equality and representation, as CMO William White explained: their Diversity and Inclusion review included having 50 marketing professionals weighing in on all aspects of their marketing. But it wasn’t just about ads: they have pledged that 40% of all production will be from women and/or minorities, and they have donated $100 million to organisations that promote racial justice.  

    Chaos as a catalyst for change

    Racial justice has loomed large on the 2020 landscape. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police and subsequent demonstrations have led to a moment of reckoning for the US and indeed much of the world. Many brands responded positively to societal pressure to demonstrate their support for racial equality. The Facebook boycott was one result of this movement, but brands also implemented internal changes. 

    LVMH’s Global Brand Officer Mathilde Delhoume talked about how the luxury powerhouse captured the mood with its ‘acts not ads’ philosophy. Sephora, its chain of beauty product retailers, was one of the first major retailers to commit 15% of shelf space to black-owned companies, and cast its own employees in its most diverse campaign ever,  ‘We belong to something beautiful.’  

    Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked unprecedented chaos on the world, upending economies, ways of living and indeed lives. Walmart occupies a unique place in American society, with 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a Walmart store, so it was well placed to help its customers cope with the changes to their every day lives. It has positioned itself at the heart of the community, creating free Walmart Drive-In movie showings, turning their parking lots into town squares, with gameday experiences and farmers’ markets, and launching health centers. It also launched its Walmart Plus subscription service, helping families dealing with extra pressures to save time and money, safely.  

    CVS Healthcare has also sought to support people through the Covid-19 crisis. It has offered drive-thru Covid-19 tests, free home delivery of essentials and clinics with at-home diagnosis. It has placed an emphasis on life research, rather than relying on data alone. 

    Authenticity is critical

    The changes implemented by these brands, and many more, have undoubtedly been a force for good at a time when the world needs positive brands more than ever. However, from a growth perspective, they would be irrelevant if they didn’t come from a place of authenticity. Successful activations around issues that matter must be rooted in the brand’s identity and values, and not just be a nod to prevailing trends. People are savvier than ever and will quickly call ‘bs’ on a brand’s efforts if they are inauthentic. The only thing worse than not acting with purpose is using purposes solely as a marketing tactic.  

    Purpose is here to stay

    Purpose has been a recurrent theme at the Masters for several years, but never has it seemed so important as in 2020, when the world is in crisis and people are turning to the brands they trust. As Danone’s SVP Brand Marketing (Yogurt BU) Mark Spanos said in his presentation, ‘Purpose is no longer a fad, it’s a norm’. Danone has weaved purpose throughout its product portfolio in a way that speaks to their values and identity, addressing hunger, food waste. Spanos quoted Patagonia’s Alex Weller: ‘You can’t reverse into a mission and values through marketing. The organizations that are struggling with this are probably the ones that are thinking about marketing first.’ 

    In our rapidly changing world, where the customer holds the power, success lies in meaningful, authentic activations which speak to customers’ values and needs. A brand that can do that is a brand that will succeed. 

    Image: fizkes / Shutterstock

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