“Focus on the outcomes you create, not the output you make,” course chair and GTB head of strategy Anuj Mehra stated to introduce the intensive three-day residential to Melbourne delegates on Sunday. “Think of marketing as a revenue driver, and not just the outcome of pretty things.”

With data transforming not only how we connect with consumers but how we ideate, technology is enabling marketing to become more effective by understanding audiences better than ever before.

“The power of artificial intelligence in communications planning is really interesting. In the next five years AI will assist us in making stronger connections with people,” said Saatchi and Saatchi managing partner and director of strategy Alex Speakman in his session ‘The Impact of Technology on Modern Communications Planning’.

“This deeper level of understanding enables us to uncover deeper and more meaningful insights into our audience – which is the absolute core of what we do as planners.”

Modern technology and the experience it creates can add value and build brand affinity connected to brand purpose, he went on, citing, Unilever’s global chief marketing officer Keith Weed: “The stronger your brand purpose, affinity, loyalty and advocacy, the better positioned you are to sell a product.”

Technology can take you from a brand message to a brand experience. To build that loyalty, Speakman encouraged delegates to get creative with data to show understanding and persuasion and to surprise without the “creep out factor”.

Speakman’s final words of advice? “Always be digging. Not matter what technology can do, without truth at its heart, it’s not relevant… Simplicity is the key to understanding what is the solution to what we are trying to solve.”

Constantly reassessing emotional triggers

GTB’s Mehra took to the stage again to discuss “Best Practice Integrated Marketing Communications – Integrating Responses Rather than Messages”.

“Who believes the communications of the brand they work on are truly integrated?”, he asked. “The responses from integrated agencies are that they are getting there – it is still a struggle. It is a trick question though, because all brand communications are integrated, not by a marketer or strategist, but by the receiver – potential consumers.”

When looking at brands and campaigns, you need to be pointed on what you want to trigger, and reassess this constantly, Mehra advised. Based on brands worked on within the group, the following examples were generated:

  • TCC – career development, insights, guidance, thought leadership
  • Wolf Blass – status, togetherness, celebration, appreciation, reassurance
  • Ford – freedom, adventure, professionalism, status, heritage, community
  • Renault – status, style, value for money
  • 711 $1 coffee – convenience, value for money, clever, savvy
  • Mini Babybel – dairy goodness, easy and convenient product, nurturing for mums, fun for kids
  • Infiniti cars – status, quality, ease of experience, uniqueness, individuality

Mehra noted that delegates should ask why the audience would care – “if the emotion is not strong enough, chances are you not creating the connection you want. Focus on emotion by channel, not messages.”

Developing famous brands and “five star ads”

Brainjuicer Australia managing director Ed Harrison took this concept further with his point: “Those who tell the best stories, rule the world.”

Brand growth – and their stories – is driven by three key factors, Harrison noted as part of his session, “The Role of Research”:

  1. Fame – if a brand comes to mind, it’s a good choice
  2. Feeling – if I feel good about a brand, it’s a good choice
  3. Fluency – if I recognise a brand quickly and easily, it’s a good choice.

Overall, the more distinctive a brand, the more it can command a price premium.

Harrison also offered delegates “Six considerations for five star ads”:

  1. Aim for fame and fortune follows
  2. Distinctiveness over differentiation is key
  3. Fluency in reinforcing the brand’s distinctive assets
  4. UHTs not USPs – ie universal HUMAN truths
  5. When you can, show don’t tell
  6. Emotional journeys drive virality

Delegates were then charged with the course pitch brief: to make car sharing services more desirable in Australia. They’ll be presenting to a panel of judges, who will offer feedback and select a standout presentation.