Inside Effectiveness spent a few minutes with McCann Health's EVP, Director of Strategy, Federico Garcia and SVP, Experience Strategy Director Rob Zand to learn more about their perspective on changes within the industry. Together they shared strategic insights on brand positioning and tone of voice, innovations used to encourage engagement, new trends that have come into play this year, and the role big data plays in the marketing mix.
Inside Effectiveness: Speak to how your strategy for brands including brand positioning and tone of voice evolved this past year?
Federico Garcia & Rob Zand: Most of our brands went over an inward “soul searching” exploratory at warp speed, to revisit key elements like its meaningful role in this new context, its tone of voice and ways of engaging with its audiences.
Inside Effectiveness: What specificically were you hoping to acheive with your revised approach?
Federico Garcia & Rob Zand: Tone of voice was revised in many cases to ensure a more empathetic delivery, and many brands extended actions that offered real value “beyond their core product”, something that’s rarely been done before.
Inside Effectiveness: Is big data playing an even bigger role today?
Federico Garcia & Rob Zand: Big data is definitely playing a big role in our work today. We have both a vast array and a growing set of data - media habits, purchases, insurance claims, and brand affinity - with which to inform ever more personal creative. The data informs audience segments (for asset creation) and communication triggers (for asset deployment). That said, perhaps the biggest innovation influencing our work today is a byproduct of the remote environment we all find ourselves in.
Inside Effectiveness: What innovations changed your team's creative process and what was different in your approach to problem-solving?
Federico Garcia & Rob Zand: Virtual collaboration tools have introduced new elements to our design thinking exercises. Today it is easier than ever (cost effective even!) to bring together a broad array of perspectives for problem solving. While the exercises themselves are similar to their physical form - mind mapping, role playing, and pure rapid fire brain storming - the ease of gathering virtually has truly allowed us to think "outside the box". Moreover, these collaborative exercises have been energizing, because they engage the collective, and offer a welcome alternative to the "sea of faces" found in many virtual meetings.
Inside Effectiveness: Are there any specific creative trends that have come into play this year to deliver creative and effective results?
Federico Garcia & Rob Zand: We are endlessly inspired by short-form mediums for self-expression, creativity, and authenticity found on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Stories. The content found there has pushed our creative by forcing a distilled message, demanding alternative narratives, and even soliciting input from our audience. In a social campaign for a major pharmaceutical brand, we saw engagement far above benchmark for work featuring real patients who filmed themselves with drop kits we provided. A second iteration of the work, included our audience by asking them how their routines matched those of the patients found in phase one. It too performed well above benchmark. We give credit to both our brand and our creatives, who trusted that giving up some control in the process would ultimately yield highly resonant work.
Inside Effectiveness: What part do effectiveness awards play within the industry?
They (these awards) are fundamental in our industry in that they help understand the real value of what we do: creativity. Competing for and awarding the most effective communications has been key in cementing the notion that creative work does yield good business results. It legitimizes the atemporal principle of “good work that works”.