Simon Bond, chief marketing officer, BBDO / Proximity Worldwide, and Chris Thomas, chairman and CEO, BBDO and chairman Proximity Worldwide, began their session by comparing how different growing up has been for their generations. Thomas, the older of the two, said he used to have the “single best vinyl record collection as 16-year old” and was frequently called in for deejaying services at parties where he could “share” it.
Bond said, that while he didn’t have the best vinyls, he could download whatever music he wanted, upload that onto his iPod and social media, and communicate it to 800 people in seconds.
The point the two made was that, “With 400 million interacting every day on Facebook, the world has changed because of the rise and proliferation of social media.
The world is different because of technology but if you pull the technology bit away, what you’re left with is exactly same thing. Behaviour has remained the same, technology has only amplified that behaviour in new ways to reach people.”
The BBDO team then spoke about how brands have adapted their communication for new times where the consumer is supposed to be front and centre, even while the guiding thought remains the same.
We’re living in a ‘You.0’ world where the consumer is in control, and content is spread through advocates. Brands are no longer defined by 30-seconders or websites, brands are defined by what people say they are, depending on their experiences. Word of mouth still is the most powerful medium in the world, but it is now amplified to the power of millions. 97 percent consumers listen to what a consumer says about a brand,” said Bond.
Thomas said, “There is a need for brands to have a purpose, also because it helps understand how people think. Along with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the brand, if you aren’t delivering the ‘why’, you’re missing out how people make decisions, and how the brand will be interrogated.” Bond played a video of how Starbucks encouraged its customers to switch to recyclable mugs.
Thomas stated, “In a data driven world, never has creativity been more important. We must spend attention on effectiveness and how creativity can drive ROI.”
The duo spoke about work done by the agency on brands like Aviva and Gillette in India, Walkers Sandwich in the UK, Pepsi in the Philippines and Volkswagen in China, as examples of ‘Acts, not ads’.