At the inaugural Brandweek conference this week in Palm Desert, CA, I learned a LOT.
I learned that marketers at big brands don’t want to be sold to, but they do want to embrace their brand’s problems — and sometimes even faults, when they are in a safe space.
I learned that the newest brands on the block, like Away, are able to be so consumer-centric, that adding in an agency wouldn’t have a bigger impact than what they’ve built internally.
I learned that everyone who works in marketing is always going to be chasing the next ad tech and working hard — like, really hard — to explain that to anyone who will listen.
I learned that there are so many things I would have never learned if I hadn’t made the time to get out of our office and see what everyone else is talking about.
But today, I want to talk about something that all agencies need to learn. If you are an agency, and you aren’t focused on the value you provide to clients, then you are doing it wrong. If you work in an agency and you aren’t focused on the ways you can help brands better communicate, engage and interact with their consumers, the ways you can help them UNDERSTAND their consumer better, than you could take some advice from the people behind the brands that I met at Brandweek.
This was a well-attended conference. Marketers like Rick Gomez from Target, Jen Rubio from Away, Michael Dubin from Dollar Shave Club, and Leesa Eichberger from Farmers Insurance were in the audience and on the stage talking about what ground they are breaking and what problems they are facing. I even got the opportunity to sit next to Victoria Russell, the Chief Diversity Officer of Papa John’s, during a workshop. Yes, she knew about the scandals before she took the job, and yes, I believe she will be the person to turn that brand around.
Between the varying degrees of brand awareness and brand loyalty, the thing that everyone had in common was the fact that they are all SO laser-focused on their consumer. What is their experience? How do I draw them in? How does their feedback shape my product lifecycle? How does their feedback save my business?
We got to hear about all of these issues from the marketers themselves, but even better, we got to work through them together during two different break-out workshops. People were asked to connect on issues and topics like “collaboration” and “the brand’s role in society.” They were asked to think about new media opportunities and new technology that could solve problems. And then entire rooms of people got to connect on those issues and problem-solve together.
So, what did I learn that I will take back to my team that I think will REALLY make a difference? It’s all about the consumer.
At DiGo, this isn’t a new idea. We’ve worked alongside inspiring action companies for over two decades, and each time, we’ve placed the consumer at the center of everything we do. Inspiring action companies know the importance of “learning what your devotees love about themselves with you”.
This is what we do for our clients, even when they don’t realize it. It’s our focus on this that allows us to truly act like a brand-and business-building partner to our clients. It’s what turned Weight Watchers around, and what led HelloFresh to outpace Blue Apron in the meal-kit delivery wars of 2017. It’s what re-launched Reader’s Digest, and what is behind the work we’re doing for the Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids and Salesforce.org.
It’s Inspiring Action.