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Technology Brand Strategy Creativity

How brands can adapt to change with data-led creative

By Ben Ducker | Executive creative director

Journey Further


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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June 30, 2022 | 4 min read

Given the rate at which things have shifted since the pandemic, brands need to move to embrace change. Ben Ducker, executive creative director at Journey Further, argues that data-backed creative is a key weapon in that fight.

Journey Further consider the importance of embracing change. Image credit: Nick Fewings/Unsplash

Journey Further consider the importance of embracing change. Image credit: Nick Fewings/Unsplash

The world changes fast. We’ve all experienced this to the extreme with the rug-pull that is Covid-19. Brands and audiences are still feeling an echo of change, from inflation to staff and material shortages; booking in advance to flexible working. With the speed of tech advances and the increasing enlightenment of consumers, the stage from which brands are expected to engage and entertain audiences is continually shifting.

There's one thing that hasn’t changed and it’s something that brands need to re-embrace (especially in the world of performance marketing): human love and appreciation for storytelling.

A new campfire

Stories are primal. The ancient campfire has become the content we stream, the posts we like and share, the Netflix series we binge, and the VR games we explore.

Brands can take comfort in this human truth. We can use stories to dress and package advertising messages so that they can be engaging and retold for years to come.

The challenge marketers faces today is in crafting and telling true stories; ones that understand immediate audience needs, moods and values. None of those are steady or constant. They change regularly based on the increasing speed of our world. Adding to the challenge is that audiences are more cynical and aware of advertising than ever before, they seek out authentic and relatable brands that can speak the truth and have purpose.

The secret lies in blending creativity and data, insight and imagination, algorithm and art - dare I say performance and brand?

Brands should leverage a performance and data-driven approach to creative to uncover rich insights that inspire better creativity. Having analysts, strategists and creatives working side-by-side allows you to test creative stories at speed and at scale on social, in order to rapidly inform brand creative. This eliminates guesswork; brands can accurately tell the right story to the right audience in the right media for greater performance and brand building.

Speed and reaction

By blending the worlds of data and creative, brands can understand the macro context of the changing landscape and translate this into stories built on truth for greater engagement and memorability.

And we can continue to enable creative to change at speed with an approach to production and execution that allows for greater flex.

With the cost of living increasing, brands can strategically execute hero shoots by implementing a ‘reactive content’ approach to filming. When planning hero video assets (be that for TV or digital delivery), it can be cost and time efficient to plan ‘B-cam’ into the shooting schedule, along with 8k resolution so that you can pull statics from the footage to maximize the output from a single shoot. This provides a library of flexible, evergreen content that you can roll out over the year while maintaining a consistent look and feel.

To capitalize on this, couple your material with creative thinking and smart copywriting to respond to contextual, reactive events. From football scores to news headlines, brands can have an opinion and start a conversation on the latest subject and remain relevant no matter what.

Technology Brand Strategy Creativity

Content by The Drum Network member:

Journey Further

Journey Further is a performance brand agency based in Leeds, Manchester, London and New York.

Designed to deliver Clarity at Speed for the world’s leading brands and ambitious start-ups, the agency connects clients directly with a senior team, working in real-time and with complete transparency to deliver previously unthinkable results.

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