Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The era of one big creative idea rolled out over a long term-campaign no longer applies, according to Brett St Clair, head of Digital Product Management at Barclays Africa. He was speaking at last week’s Apex Next Level of Thinking masterclass, held in partnership with Provantage.

“As agencies and brands we’re constantly looking for that big idea to roll out to win new customers,” he said. However, given the huge shifts in digital, ubiquitous technology and a rapidly changing world, it’s an approach that no longer works, since the rate of change is just too fast.

Technology platforms, said St Clair, are turning our world around. Mobile devices no longer map the world around us but are putting us in the same story. This is the era of the selfie, which requires marketers to understand micromoments at huge scale – and this can be achieved only with artificial intelligence.

The days of speaking to customers are over, he said. Rather, marketers need to understand their consumers better. “Listening to your customer is vitally important because it’s all about hyperpersonalisation and building incredible and delightful customer experiences.”

St Clair predicts that incredible experiences will be one of the few differentiators for brands, and it will require that every organisation has designers on its payroll to ensure these unique experiences.

Emirates Airlines, he said, is a good example of a brand that completely understands customers, customer experience and the building of incredible customer experiences.

Brands need to use data to build better relationships with their customers, said St Clair, and rather than looking for that one big idea, they need to focus on close partnerships. Data, he advised, needs to be delivered in an easily understandable and usable format.

Both brands and agencies need to change their operating processes – a fundamental shift in structure and approach, said St Clair. “The new way of working is more lean and agile. It’s about learning, tweaking, testing, refining and working out continual iterations. Agencies can no longer work in silos and they need a very close partnership and relationship with brand marketers.”

The big take-out: The rapid rate of digital disruption means that the era of one big creative idea rolled out over an extended period is over, according to Brett St Clair, head of Digital Product Management at Barclays Africa. He was speaking at last week’s Apex Next Level of Thinking masterclass, held in partnership with Provantage.

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