Hobnobbing with the creative industry’s brightest minds at Advertising Week Europe

Earlier this week, we hosted a thought-leadership debate from a log cabin in a church courtyard next to the world-renowned BAFTA – a novel experience!

On behalf of our client Clear Channel, and to mark the first day of Advertising Week Europe, we brought together a mix of marketing and advertising in-house practitioners and agencies to debate the future of advertising in the context of digital and out-of-home, exploring how they could harness some of their biggest challenges for the better.

The conversation was a fascinating insight into the world of a marketer in this fast-moving, tech-savvy and multi-screening generation where the expected no longer seems to have a place.

Due to the unprecedented pace of innovation hitting pretty much every advertising channel going, including the traditional ones, such as print and out-door, where should the marketing investment go to create the deepest level of customer engagement that we’re all aspiring to achieve?

The above was a question that nobody around the table had a definitive answer to, but as one attendee put it, “regardless of which channel we use, the first consideration should always be how we can actually get customers to think differently, and get them to feel like they’ve been rewarded for their effort in the process.”

So while our client strategy director, Billy Hamilton-Stent, did all the hard work as discussion chair, I got to scribble down a few of the other challenges people were grappling with:

We’ve become a nation of change obsessives to the point where it’s almost impossible to know which way to turn. With each bit of new tech that’s introduced, aside from the opportunity it presents, our attention spans diminish – and this applies to buyers, providers and consumers in equal measure. What’s trendy today might not be tomorrow. Where does it all end?

There’s a growing tension between measurement and creativity:  If you’re all about the numbers, creativity, and ultimately your brand, will suffer. So don’t put all your money into feeding the meter. KPIs are an essential part of the commercial conversation, but people ultimately buy into innovation so that shouldn’t be an after-thought.

How do we combine the traditional with the new to create amazing? Everyone agreed that traditional mediums, such as out-of-home, are making a huge comeback and if they play their cards right, these industries have the potential to be rejuvenated in line with next generation demand. For example, by integrating with digital, there’s the potential to bring static billboard ads back to life, giving users a  chance to interact and engage and marketers the opportunity to track that journey and improve future experience.  Augmented reality and facial recognition technology were just two of the examples cited.

Attendees were in agreement that pushing the boundaries, foregoing the easy option and adapting to change have never been more relevant. The change in consumption habits cannot be ignored. If you don’t invest in the new potential, you risk being left behind, but what that doesn’t mean is leaving behind the old.