bigdog News - Mad//Fest for it

Mad//Fest For It!

December 2018

Written by Dan Marsh, Digital Director at bigdog 

Recently, we spent an inspiring day at Mad//Fest, a new kind of marketing conference based in the old Truman Brewery just off London’s Brick Lane. Only just considered trendy enough to be seen in that part of London, we were lucky to squeeze into packed talks and workshops featuring speakers from diverse industries including Uber, Not On The High Street, Samsung, Sony and Tenzing.

Here’s a light summary on some of the more interesting points raised during a real eye-opening day.

The Power of Native

During a really visual talk by Missguided, they showed how native advertising has become an integral string to their bow. Through partnerships with the likes of Love Island combined with well-targeted video ads, they were able to use native far more effectively.

The approach is simple. Serve the right message, to the right person, in the right place/content at the right time. Sounds easy, but the key to their success seemed to be about getting each part of that approach absolutely nailed – something so many brands seem to misfire on by over-compensating on one, but not all. In an age with ad blockers on the rise, it was really inspiring to see that the ‘basics’ of digital advertising can be used to really great effect.

Personalisation isn’t just first name basis

Another one which may seem obvious, but Not On The High Street (NOTHS) shared how they were looking at combining their data to craft experiences that go way beyond simply tailoring product recommendations to people’s purchase habits.

A recurring theme throughout the day was the sheer amount of data consumers have captured on them at any one time. Our smartphones are capturing bio-rhythmic, geographic and behavioural data every second we use them. And yet there is a reluctance to put this to good use.

Consumers are actually quite open to sharing their data, providing they receive value from brands in return. And to hear a business like NOTHS exploring more creative ways to both capture data but also use it far more effectively to add value to customers emotionally was really refreshing.

Innovation can’t do everything – brand still plays its part

I’m sure I’m not alone in confessing that in the wave of disruptive businesses to succeed in recent years, Uber is one I would seriously struggle to replace in my life if it disappeared.

But their admission that, in January 2017, they realised to continue to grow they needed to go beyond innovating and explore who they were and what they represent as a brand. The results were a revolution in how they communicated through advertising and content, and we saw some great examples of how they have evolved as a brand.

Tenzing also emphasised the importance of separating out brand positioning (their role in people’s minds) and brand mission (their role in people’s lives). A remarkably simple way to separate out how they communicate as a brand to what they deliver to their customers.

It was great to see companies known for challenging convention to acknowledge the importance of clarity on who they are as a brand, and evidence that even as tech and behaviours continue to evolve – the emotional connection to a brand is still as true as it were decades ago.

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