Speaking on day four at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Diageo’s chief marketing officer, Syl Saller, spoke about how data and creativity used effectively together results in the growth of brands.
“We as Diageo are only 20 years old, but we have brands that have been around for centuries. Brands can grow forever if they have the right people working on them,” said Saller.
She asked for a show of hands for the marketers present in the hall who faced challenges related to marketing budget. Expectedly, the response was high.
“The pressure to drive growth is challenging with cost pressures and incredibly high media-mix to pick from. We at Diageo have made a commitment to save 500 million pounds over three years. The easily way to achieve that would be cutting marketing budgets, but we didn’t. We have clearly made the case that the savings should be reinvested in the brands.”
She then came to the topic of the session, ‘Are marketers story tellers or data lovers’. She answered the question, saying, “The obvious answer is both. But some people are running campaigns and have no idea about the impact they’re making on their business. Diageo strongly believes in the power of creative magic in growing brands and the opportunities for effective measurement to drive more from creativity.”
She then laid down four pointers that help creating the conditions for creativity in Diageo.
· Right customer insights and strategy
· Talented people (yes, AI will not replace people)
· Patience and belief
On claims being made about data being the ‘new dawn’ and ‘death of creativity’, she stated, “It will only help optimise creativity. We use pre-testing and use it to optimise our work. It’s not a tool that knocks out creativity. Pre-testing is the voice of the consumers and you’re bringing that voice to the room.”
She pushed her point about pre-testing through a 20-year old film made for Guinness (above).
“There have been media headlines that pre-testing would have killed this film. I talked to my predecessor about it. The results after pre-testing were disappointing. The first film didn’t have a running voiceover. That was added post pre-testing. So, pre-testing doesn’t write great copy, but tells you that it may be needed. The key to putting measurement to creativity is using it with wisdom. You have to inculcate a culture that people can make mistakes and learn with them.”
Before handing it over to her colleague, Saller surmised, “Magic + measurement = growth.”
Andrew Geoghegan, global consumer planning director, Diageo, took over and stated the two key drivers of change.
· Leveraging learning from the behavioural sciences
· Technological developments for conducting research
He spoke about a tool called ‘Marketing Catalyst’ that Diageo launched to see how the brand’s money could be spent in the best way. The tool helps the brand see how much needs to be spent on marketing across markets and what media mix to use for them.