| by SapientNitro

Idea Engineering: Redefining how brands and consumers connect

Anti-smoking app as featured in Channel 4's Embarrassing BodiesAnti-smoking app as featured in Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies

“The future of creativity is technology enabled. The agencies in our membership who get this are experiencing double digit growth. Those who don’t, aren’t. It’s as simple as that.” – Janet Hull, Marketing Director, IPA

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, which represents 250 companies and 20,000 people, is right about growth rates – SapientNitro’s organic growth is running at 29%, the fastest of any agency our size operating anywhere. Hull is right about the causes of growth, too. Brand owners and agencies must adapt to a world in which creativity does not exist in isolation from the force that changes lives every day – technology.

SapientNitro believes the real impact of changing behaviours is that brands need to engage with consumers in ways they want to be engaged; that they need to embrace media and channels without preconceived notions of ‘traditional’ or ‘digital’.

It makes us a new kind of storyteller. The tales we tell for brands can no longer be contained on a page, or find their audience sitting passively on a sofa. We are people who use technology creatively to start a conversation and never let it end – ultimately to build relationships between consumers and brands in ways that benefit both.

We call what we do Idea Engineering – a guiding principle that allows SapientNitro to attract clients looking to change the status quo. Idea Engineering is why creative responses from SapientNitro never look alike or share an agency hallmark – they manifest themselves as anything from a technologically enabled ad campaign or immersive digital experience to an innovative in-store experience. Our ideas delight, sometimes surprise, but always drive growth and brand advocacy for clients.

For Foot Locker, SapientNitro’s organising idea of ‘Enthusiasm Beyond Reason’ unlocked a communications platform that went beyond advertising, based on the passion that the brand shared with sneaker fans globally. The result was Sneakerpedia – the world’s largest sneaker archiving project and first-ever visual wiki. Crucially, we allowed the sneakerhead community to spread the word and to populate the space with their own content. ‘Sneakerpedia. Powered by Foot Locker’ has had more than 10,000 sneaker pairs uploaded, and garnered 16 awards in 2011 including a Gold Cyber Lion at Cannes and Gold at Eurobest.

When Ladbrokes appointed SapientNitro as its lead advertising agency in July of this year, it was a triumph over the ‘traditional’ ad agency model. But it was much more than that. Superior advertising ideas, a blurring of the line between brand engagement and the brand experience, and the true integration of strategy, technology and creative – SapientNitro’s capabilities offered Ladbrokes the opportunity to make a competitive leap forward.

‘Game On’ for Ladbrokes encompasses TV advertising in which excitable Italian commentator Tiziano Crudeli celebrates incongruous moments in a football game. It includes ‘live odds’ delivered in real time into an ad execution shown during the match coverage from a trading platform built by SapientNitro. ‘Game On’ has 33% ad recall and resulted in an increase in sign-ups of 65% over 2010. This is a TV ad all right, but not one that is traditional in any way.

Enjoyengland.com is the tourist website for VisitEngland and won ‘Best Tourist Board Website’ at the British Travel Awards 2011. SapientNitro created an immersive, personalised experience with tools such as the ‘Inspirator’, which suggests trip ideas based on the user’s interests.

Our own anti-smoking application, AR Lungs, employs a webcam or smartphone camera to superimpose medically correct digital lungs over the user’s image to show the damage caused by smoking. The app featured in the Channel 4 series ‘Embarrassing Bodies’.

These very different creative solutions are borne out of a combination of specialists – including business and brand strategists, planners, experience designers and developers, art directors and writers, technologists, data analysts and anthropologists – all working through a common Ideas Engineers philosophy and approach that is unique to SapientNitro. Under ever-evolving Idea Engineering Teams, their skillsets form and reform to liberate creative, technological and behaviour-based ideas.

SapientNitro has more than 6,000 people working in 35 offices across more than 13 countries. We’re big, but scrappy; an established organisation with the agility and tenacity of a start-up. We’re never satisfied and our commitment to evolution is unrelenting.

Contentment is not all that it’s cracked up to be. You have a mobile phone. You’ve used your mobile phone in a store. Is it a communications device or a sales channel? The answer is both. So, to expand our direct response capability and better connect rich immersion with sales conversion SapientNitro this year acquired digital and direct agency DAD and mobile agency CLANMO. David Ogilvy said, “It’s only creative if it sells.” We’ll go one better: “It only sells if we make it sell.” And we do, every day, in real time, unlike anyone else. Because we think the future, aside from being scary as hell, is ridiculously exciting.

It is the reason that clients turn to SapientNitro to understand how to thrive in a world of empowered consumers who interact with brands when, where and how they please. It is a world in which SapientNitro’s distinctive ability to create brand experiences at the intersection of strategic thinking, creativity and technology is uniquely relevant.