Pointing in particular to the importance of mobile, Pile argued that the exponential growth of technology has led to his team having a highly challenging time, with more and more expected of them.
But there is a positive to this, he went on: “Technology being the new normal in this ‘selfie’ world has allowed beauty to thrive. Indeed, the fact that some 1.2bn selfies are taken a year, he said, is partly why L’Oréal UKI grew at a rate of some ten per cent in 2016, fueled by Cosmetics.
And the use of social listening tools and trend analysis, he added, has allowed it to spot trends such as ‘Ombre’ or multi-tone hair dye effects, and then create a product in record time.
Pile also spoke of ‘relentless upskilling’ and a ‘constant, unrelenting flow of new training’.
We are all slaves to a lack of time, he admitted, particularly when faced with ‘distinct, multi-faceted disciplines’ and an ever-changing technology landscape.
Nick Manning then gave details of a global piece of research by Ebiquity and the World Federation of Advertisers which focused on how the world’s advertisers are feeling about online advertising following recent high-profile issues such as ‘brand safety’ concerns.
He revealed that, “even at this point when advertisers are aware of potential concerns, they are planning to increase investment.
“There is a paradox, at play,” he said, reminding delegates that the industry has got to live ‘in the real world’ in terms of metrics, and help advertisers justify their growing investment in online advertising.
Mediatel columnist Dominic Mills then hosted a panel with Publicis Media CEO Amanda Morrissey; UK CEO of MediaCom Josh Krichefski; and Jenny Biggam, co-founder at the7stars.
“We need to think less about channel and more about what’s happening to our consumers,” urged Morrissey, while Krichefski pointed out that an agency’s role has ‘always’ been to navigate complexity.
The need to find ‘integrated’ and increasingly collaborative ways of working was a recurring theme of the morning and Biggam stressed the ‘increasingly consultative’ nature of agency work.
Accenture Interactive’s Joy Bhattacharya and Karmarama’s Lawrence Weber then delivered a session entitled ‘Assisted Creativity’ and urged the audience to consider the power of bringing tech and creativity together.
“Lots of creative agencies are not properly embracing the need to automate,” said Weber, while Bhattacharya pointed out that AI cannot currently automate the all-important ‘origination’ of ideas, even though such tools can do a “pretty good job of executing and replicating”.
And so they urged those present to “innovate our way forward”.
Finally, during the fireside chat, hosted by Verve’s Ian James, Wayne Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Grey - now Valenstein & Fatt - and Lauren Dick, Head of Emerging Platforms at Mail Online spoke of the ongoing challenges presented by new platforms and behaviours.
Dick stressed the fact that her team wants to “free up time from platforms that already exist so that we can discuss the next iteration”.
“We need to fight the muscle memory,” added Brown. “I sit in too many meetings that are entirely focused on a TV."
Diversity and the bringing in of new skills is a ‘big key’ to solving such challenges, he said.