AME's Grand Jury represents some of the world’s most creative and strategic minds in advertising and marketing communications.The AME Awards honors not just campaigns that are creative, but campaigns that hit the bullseye for brands, triumphing in both creativity and effectiveness. AME’s Grand Jury are the genius minds associated with many of AME’s award-winning entries.
2021 AME Grand Jury member Nina Bressau is Director of Strategy at Natrel Health. She has over 8 years of global retail, CPG, and healthcare experience. She has founded several professional development initiatives and was recognized by Ad2Dallas in 2018 as a 32 Under 32 honoree for her extraordinary accomplishments in the Dallas advertising community.
Prior to natrel health, Nina worked at Integer, GSW, and Landor. She has hands-on experience supporting several Fortune 500 companies such as Eli Lilly, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, FedEx and Kraft, as well as startups and non-profit organizations. Nina is also active in industry organizations including Together Digital.
In the interview below Nina shares what creative trends have come into play this year, which creative trends will come into play, and why she's sharing her industry expertise on this year's jury panel.
AME Awards: How has the brand’s voice changed since the pandemic confinement measures? Speak to the evolution of brand positioning, values, and tone of voice during COVID.
Nina Bressau: Many of us are paying closer attention to what brands are spending money on during times when many are out of work and struggling to meet basic needs. Therefore, people have been quick to call out brands who are prioritizing profit by acting in their own interest instead of first ensuring that their messages and calls to action are relevant, safe and beneficial to our community.
While we have recognized the importance of brand purpose and values before the pandemic hit, the focus has shifted from ‘why’ to ‘how:’ customers are now demanding brands to demonstrate actions before they start talking about them. The brand voice needs to be authentic and empathetic to their audiences, and content needs to be thoughtfully crafted and appropriate to the situation.
As far as positioning, the pandemic has created new entry points for businesses across industries to react to new customer expectations. For example, we have seen CPG, retail, and hospitality brands create messaging, partnerships, and even new offerings to enter the health space for the first time. People are looking to health and safety first to inform their product and brand selections, even if it means changing their pre-COVID routines.
AME Awards: What new creative trends have come into play this year to deliver creative and effective results?
Nina Bressau: It has been especially interesting to observe creative trends from an experience perspective this year. Prior to COVID-19, immersive experiences that engaged multiple senses -- vision, touch, sound and smell -- gained momentum and created deeper connections to brands. During the pandemic, this trend has been flipped upside down and any non-essential experiences involving touch or crowds have been canceled, prompting brands to reconsider how to capture their audience's attention.
Some brands have successfully reached customers in their homes by increasing convenience, comfort or providing entertainment. I’ve seen the word “inspirience” being used to describe at home engagement strategies, which continue to gain prominence. Successful engagement strategies that stood out to me focused on addressing rising consumer needs, such as mental wellbeing, self-care, and connection with others. We have also seen some brands experiment with digital immersive experiences. For example, Lush cosmetics launched multi-sensory bath experiences that included calming audio and video to complement the product.
I expect brands will need to be more innovative with at-home engagement efforts in 2021 to address people’s challenges, such as deteriorated mental health and a sense of uncertainty, and help with their needs, for example enhancing their home lifestyle and planning for the future. While I am looking forward to seeing even more creative solutions this year, I think it can be difficult for companies who are more risk-averse to invest in innovation during times of uncertainty. The challenge is to stay in touch with audiences and provide them with something of value, even if profit is compromised short-term.
AME Awards: What mediums will take the lead in 2021 and what will take a backseat?
Nina Bressau: Great question. First and foremost, it’s important to listen to your customers and involve them in how and when they want to communicate, regardless of the medium. There’s still a lot of uncertainty, so we need to stay observant and respond to the needs of our customers.
When we reach the end of the pandemic, I expect people to stay mindful and more selective about in-person events and interactions. I believe streaming and gaming are going to continue to spike. Virtual events and conferences that started out of necessity may continue, as they have shown greater accessibility for lower costs. I also believe podcasts will continue to gain popularity because they allow consumers to take a break from their screen while still avoiding physical connections. Podcasts can satisfy the growing demand for authenticity and targeted content.
Some social platforms may evolve to more niche communities in the near future. People are demanding more privacy, but still want the ability to share experiences and build a network. They want to see less negativity and gain more value from their online engagements. While I think that mainstream social media will continue to be a way to reach mass audiences, more semi-private groups that live within these platforms seem to gain popularity as well. For example, within the past year I joined four different strategy-specific groups on Slack, Facebook, and Mighty Networks. This type of community platform isn’t new in healthcare: exclusive doctor networks like SERMO and Doximity have been valuable ways for physicians to learn and network in a less public digital environment.
We will continue to ask ourselves how to use media in order to co-create with customers and let them tell us what provides the most value.
AME Awards: Why did you agree to participate on this year’s AME Grand Jury and What do you hope to learn by viewing entries into this competition?
Nina Bressau: It was such an honor to be invited to participate on the AME Grand Jury. It’s a great way to contribute to the industry, and furthermore learn from and celebrate my peers. With this year bringing so much change, I am especially excited to gain inspiration and learn from new creative solves and brave campaigns.