At CES 2017, the Consumer Technology Association's official print publication interviewed four agency leaders to look at what's next for marketers, and the intersection between brands and technology. Excerpts from their interview with Adam Gerhart, U.S. CEO, Mindshare, are below - you can read the full piece in print.
Mindshare: Driving Brands at the Speed of Culture
Adam Gerhart is the U.S. CEO for Mindshare, a media agency network of more than 7,000 people in 86 countries. Mindshare is part of communications leader WPP.
How would you describe Mindshare?
Our job is to help connect brands to consumers in a meaningful way through the most relevant media and through the most relevant advertising formats.
What does it mean to be meaningful?
We need to be in the spaces, places and mindsets where consumers are most receptive. For us that's in the context of culture. We have a very codified approach to how we identify cultural moments where consumers are most willing to engage with us brands and marketers.
Can this personalized, contextual approach work for any brand?
The dynamics of the industry have changed. This approach is not for a select set of brands. You can be incredibly meaningful and relevant to consumers if you truly understand them.
One of our clients, Unilever, has a number of hair care products. Packaged goods, you can argue, are a low-interest category, more commoditized than most brands or products. They wanted to communicate their range of hair care products, everything from TRESemme to Dove. We worked to understand key hair care trends before they were peaking like no-'poo, which stands for no shampoo. We quickly realized there was a way for the brands to be relevant to consumers by offering them style tipes and hair care tips that were at the cusp of popular culture.
On a weekly basis, we started turning out a set of creative assets that capitalized on these cutting edge industry trends. We saw a huge uplift in brand consideration and awareness simply because we were talking to consumers in a more relevant way. Being ale to understand consumers and creating a meaningful dialog with them can work for any brand, so long as the brand itself, and the agency partners that they are working with, have a true appreciation of how to organically connect with consumers.
How many other folks in your industry understand this?
The question really is: are we as an industry fully embracing the idea of personalization and knowing the consumer deeply? That premise is not new. The adoption of that, however, has yet to be fully embraced by our industry. We're a still a number of years away from agency partners truly understanding that.
As the amount, depth and breadth of data becomes more available, it is unlocking a huge amount of potential to connect with consumers. The more that happens, the more consumers appreciate the change in the industry itself and the faster that will occur. Our mantra for working is what we call Adaptive Marketing - the ability to leverage real-time insights to drive real-time action or decision-making from a media and a marketing standpoint. While getting to those answers often very complex because of the amount of data that is coming to the forefront, ultimately, the better we can understand that data, the easier our jobs will be.
We will most likely see a steep learning curve across the industry. Those that lean into it, whether it's agencies or brands, will be far better off as a result.