Views from the top

Fridays are best spent soaking up marketing wisdom in the BT tower courtesy of The Marketing Academy.

Views from the top

Having breakfast at the top of the BT Tower is a brilliant way to kick off a Friday. It’s even better when coupled with an inspiring event hosted by The Marketing Academy. The Scholarship Lecture featured “The Panel of Wisdom” and it was wonderful to hear such interesting learnings and important insights from senior marketers.

The panel consisted of: Kerry Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer at Viacom International Media Networks, Claire Cronin, Vice President Marketing at Virgin Atlantic, Steven Overman, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Kodak and Jo Coombs, UK CEO, OgilvyOne. 

Four things I learnt:

1) Nostalgia for a world never experienced

In the context of global change and uncertainty, political turmoil, rising awareness of, and action against, embedded social issues, young people are looking back to the ‘simple, pure, certain’ times of old. Taylor (of Viacom) talked about this in the context of the return of Blind Date, celebrating the ‘old fashioned’ ways of meeting and dating without the complexity of social media and dating apps – something that many millennials have never experienced.

Overman (of Kodak) talked about this in context of the Super 8 camera being reintroduced, and people nostalgically embracing analogue technology that was out of date before they were even born.

2Create content to market your content

Not a new idea, but it’s one to always keep in mind. You need to make compelling, unique marketing content to get people to engage in your actual product content. For TV shows, you can’t just show clips of the show, you need new and surprising images, disruptive digital campaigns, and virality-inducing videos. As Taylor discussed, young people don’t want to be ‘advertised to’, but they’re happy to engage in sponsored content. In a world where 80% of what people watch on TV is driven by recommendations, their sharing, promoting and participation in this sponsored content is key.

Facebook live in particular is exploding – Taylor cited the example of Chloe Ferry from Geordie Shore attempting to break the chicken nugget eating world record live on Facebook, to promote the show (recent lip fillers meant she was only able to tackle four…). 

3Nurturing client-agency culture

Like any relationship, the client-agency relationship is built on trust, understanding, and empathy. Coombs gave her perspective on why personal relationships are vital, but why time, energy and effort is needed to build a relationship that goes deeper than that. A company and agency have ‘muscle memory’ of working together; it doesn’t necessarily matter which specific people work on a project, as long as they’re an extension of the agency culture and style. In fact, Coombs states that new people bring new ideas and inspiration – keeping it fresh for clients.

4) Cool-Relevant-Innovative

While heralded as an example of completely missing the boat in market disruption, Overman reminded us that Kodak actually pioneered the digital revolution in film. Alas, they were slightly too far ahead of the curve at the time to milk it, with no viable business models yet in existence.

Overman talked about his three step approach for re-invigorating the Kodak brand, a strategy rooted in what the brand stands for and what it’s always done – empowering the creative generation to make the world a better place.

First, be cool – leverage the evocativeness and visual appeal of the brand, the retro/vintage graphics, the link to ‘cool’ people like artists, fashion directors, film-makers. Remind people you’re there. Second, be relevant – speak to the role you play in people’s lives, the value you add. Only then do you have a platform and permission to, (thirdly) be innovative. With the launch of Kodakcoin, a cryptocurrency made specifically for at creators, Kodak are reaching this frontier. 

With a smashing location, plenty of food for thought, and candid opinions shared by a wise panel, I look forward to seeing what’s up for grabs at future Marketing Academy Scholarship Lectures.