Kicking off the IAB UK’s Ideas Hack Day 2019 at Wavemaker’s Manchester office, Mike Liall, strategy director, Dentsu spoke about insight: what it is; where you can find it; and what you can do with it.
The Collins Dictionary defines insight as “a penetrating and often sudden understanding of a complex situation or problem”, he said, adding: “Data is ultimately useless unless we do something meaningful with it.
Insights can be around demographics, attitudes, behaviours, cultural, societal or market trends, or category definitions, he added, but ultimately, it’s about that ‘Aha!’ moment of ‘deep truth’ that has the power to change behaviour.
“We are in a business awash with data,” he warned. As such, we need to study patterns and outliers, and to avoid getting ‘caught up in the weeds’.
Joanna Parnell, managing partner at Wavemaker in Manchester, the host of the day, was up next, to talk about strategy.
“When building a brand, your first consideration has to be how to be noticed and get consumers’ attention; how to create fame,” she said.
“But we need real sustainable fame that drives performance and drives impact for your clients: sustainability is really important.”
Maintaining energy and establishing shared interest is key too, she said, since ‘noise’ is not enough. Meanwhile, impact, is of course, critical.
Parnell said that sustainable fame is built on ‘distinctive truth’, ‘emotional resonance’, and ‘breaking norms’ and she stressed that it’s also possible to leverage the fame of others through strategic partnerships: “A business is made of its moving parts from supply chain to sponsors to industry peers… how can you collectively work together to make an impact?”
Hannah Savage, strategy director, PHD then spoke about the importance of what she described as ‘rhythms planning’ when devising campaigns.
Her advice is to ‘think audience first, not brand first,’ and to actively set about ‘weaving campaigns into the fabric of audiences’ lives’ - essentially using data to identify key moments, those times when an audience is most susceptible to a message.
“Sometimes we are faced with too many pieces of data,” she warned, once again stressing the importance of remembering a really simple truth. She emphasised the importance of contextual considerations, too – whether for instance social, environmental, temporal, or locational.
Olivia Thomasson, partnership sales executive, Media Chain then shared some tips for pitching with confidence. Admitting that, at the start of her career, she found delivering presentations one of the hardest things to do, she shared some learnings from the time she has spent subsequently, practising, and learning from others.
“With a brilliant idea you should be able to summarise it,” she said. “The more concise you can be, the more effective you can be.”
Thomasson also advised telling a story. “The more personal a story, the more the audience will engage and you will resonate,” was her advice. “Storytelling is scientifically proven to hold people’s attention; as opposed to showing numbers on a spreadsheet.”
Next, Miranda Kaunang, FareShare’s development manager, told teams more about the charity that the teams were all gathered to help devise a winning digital marketing and advertising strategy for. Every day FareShare Greater Manchester receives and manages tonnes of surplus food in its warehouse on New Smithfield Market in the east of the city.
“Children’s poverty is increasing,” she said. “I see it as a personal mission to try to stop that.”
FareShare redistributes surplus food from the food industry, with the help of an army of volunteers, who turn it into nutritious meals. Last year it provided enough food for 3 million meals. The charity is now on the verge of launching an appeal – ‘Together We Can: 7 Million Meals!’ and aims to distribute 7 million meals a year by 2022. To do this, it will need a bigger and better warehouse, more food, more volunteers and staff, and more funds.
IAB UK CMO James Chandler then invited teams to get started on their pitches in response to the brief of using digital technology and advertising to make FareShare Greater Manchester famous.
“Work out the specialisms that you’ve got in your groups. Play to your strengths,” he said, and the presenters were then on hand to help mentor the groups as they devised their strategies.
The two shortlisted teams will go on to pitch at Digital Britain in Bridgewater Hall, Manchester a day later. The IAB UK will commit to hosting a meeting with the winning team, FareShare and mentors to bring the winning idea to life.
Read the write-up of Digital Britain to find out the leading two ideas and who wins.