Aired December 9, 2015
To be effective, brands need to deliver an integrated product offering through multiple touchpoints.
“At the end of the day, the brand is the sum total of all the positives and negatives we say about it…it’s never just about one thing.”- David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R
Marketers should restrain from the pressure to be present through all media outlets and instead focus on messages that are relevant to people’s lives.
“Innovation doesn’t mean technology necessarily, but it certainly points to relevance.”- Leslie Sims, Chief Creative Officer of Y&R NY
Brands need to involve consumers in the brand creation process and focus on mattering for people rather than marketing to consumers.
“Consumers control the brand today more than most marketers would like to believe.”- Stan Sthanunathan, Sr. Vice President of Consumer & Market Insights at Unilever
This week on “Marketing Matters,” Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing & WFoA Academic Director Jerry Wind co-hosted with Executive Director Catharine Hays to talk their upcoming book, Beyond Advertising: Creative Value Through All Customer Touchpoints. The book is a synthesis of the bold and creative contributions to the Advertising 2020 project, where two questions were posed – “What could/should advertising look like in 2020?” and “What should we do now for this future?”–to over 200 thought leaders, innovators, and visionaries from a breadth of disciplines around the world. They welcomed three guests– David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R, Leslie Sims, Chief Creative Officer of Y&R NY, and Stan Sthanunathan, Sr. Vice President of Consumer & Market Insights at Unilever–to talk about the findings of the book in the context of their own organizations.
Global CEO of Y&R David Sable says he began his career in advertising because it allowed him to express his creativity and attributes his success to his passion for the role. He also adds that his business “is not really about advertising; it’s all encompassing. It’s about life. We are a business about life. We are about culture. We are about news. We are about what’s happening today. We are about what might happen tomorrow. We are about what happened yesterday.”
As evidence for his statement that advertising is never “just about one thing,” Sable brings up iconic campaigns such as “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” from Alka Seltzer. The “viral” catchphrase did not necessarily move the product because it did not link itself back to the product. Consistent with the book’s findings, David agrees that brands need to deliver an integrated product offering through various touchpoints.
At the core, Sable says that advertising should focus on the person. “We talk a lot about big data…It’s not about big data; it’s about primo data, meaning you. Everything starts with a primo point—that’s me, that’s you, that’s the consumer. It’s about what the consumer wants…The touchpoints are all about the people.” Sable also notes the importance of creating experiences for the consumer through the product, as the Sears Wish Book did so successfully in the 1900s. “Everything is about experiences… Creating experiences has always been what this business has been about.”
Leslie Sims, Chief Creative Officer of Y&R says, “We are coming out of the phrase of ‘we got to be everywhere.’” Although brands nowadays are pressured to be present on various media outlets, Leslie warns that people may become tired of continuous advertising and the negative effects of one poor decision may overshadow a positive brand image. Consistent with the letter “R” in the R.A.V.E.S. model proposed by Beyond Advertising, Leslie encourages “radical relevance” in a brand’s marketing.
Leslie cites the findings of the Brand Asset Valuator (BAV) developed by Y&R, which reveal, contrary to popular belief, that people perceive Ziploc and Post-it to be two of the three most innovative brands. Despite the rise of start-ups and new technological advances, Sims points out that “innovation doesn’t mean technology necessarily, but it certainly points to relevance.” At Y&R when Sims works with brands, she says, “What we like to do now is figure out what the brand wants to be first in the ecosystem … and what we have to be most relevant to people’s lives.”
Stan Sthanunathan, is the Sr. Vice President of Consumer & Market Insights at Unilever whose job is to “inspire and provoke people –to enable transformational actions.” For example, he states that while many marketers want to get closer to their consumers, such a feat is difficult due to time and budget constraints. He helps solve problems like this through consumer connect programs that link hard-to-reach consumers to marketers through video conferences. “At the end of an hour or two hours of consumer connect, you have probably created the idea much better in your mind than what you have done otherwise by just looking at your desktop computer screen.”
Echoing the Five Forces of change in Beyond Advertising, Sthanunathan says,
“The world of marketing is evolving very rapidly. And if you think it is fast, then I can tell you that the speed has never been this slow, and it will never be this slow ever again. It will only get faster and faster with every passing month.” Sthanunathan says, “Marketing to consumers is becoming less and less relevant because people are becoming a little bit cynical about being marketed to.” Therefore, marketers must focus on “marketing for people” as consumers are a part of the brand-building process. More importantly, however, Sthanunathan emphasizes “mattering for people” and states, “The brand has to stand for something way more than functional and emotional benefit. If that’s all they communicate, they are not likely to have a strong brand in the long-run.”
Rachel Yuqian Li
WFoA Program Assistant
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2016