DEI champion Chris explains why amplifying diverse creators is a trend that marketers should pay attention to this year, how he plans to help colleagues fulfil their potential, and which app he uses to expand his knowledge.

What’s the best campaign you’ve seen recently and why?

I really enjoyed Virgin Atlantic’s See the World Differently campaign. Featuring the song I Am What I Am, the TV ad is a celebration and acceptance of the diverse world we live in. This theme continues in their recent gender identity policy launch. It’s a big contrast to the company’s early ads and a sign of progress towards a more inclusive world.

What do you think will be the most important marketing trend this year?

Wunderman Thompson has just released The Future 100: 2023 report, which is a fascinating read into the trends that are set to shape the year ahead. Amplifying diverse creators – Trend 37 – really grabbed my attention as a call to action. It connects the dots between the UK’s 2021 Census, which shows an increase in ethnic diversity, and The Black Pound Report 2022, which reveals the UK’s multi-ethnic community has an annual disposable income of £4.5b. There is a win-win human and commercial imperative for marketers to embrace these societal trends by accelerating their collaboration with diverse creators.

You’re part of Roots – an employee resource group at Gain Theory that champions DEI. What do you hope to achieve over the next 12 months?

Last year, we had a lot of success building awareness of issues, such as covering and health inequalities, that impact ethnically diverse colleagues. This year, our focus is on partnering with the leadership team at Gain Theory to identify actions – across the whole employee lifecycle ­– that we need to start or stop doing to enable ethnically diverse colleagues to show up as the best version of themselves and fulfil their potential.

You’re of Mauritian heritage – are there any inspirational Mauritians we should know about?

I’m proud to be mixed ethnicity with a White English Mum and a Mauritian Dad, whose ancestral roots are from Indian indentured labour. Mauritius is known as the melting pot of the Indian Ocean and the food is amazing! Selina Periampillai is an inspirational figure for me. She is British born with Mauritian heritage, who set up her own Mauritian supper club and food business before publishing a cookbook. To get a taste of island life, I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Island Kitchen: Recipes from Mauritius and the Indian Ocean.

Are there any other books you would you recommend?

Blinkist is a book summary app that my mentor recommended to me. The paid version gives you full access to their library of ‘Blinks’, enabling you to quickly digest the key takeaways from a wide range of constantly updated non-fiction titles. Each Blink has an accompanying audio track, so perfect to listen to whilst doing chores around the house! It’s been a powerful tool to aid my growth.

Contact Chris to discuss any of the issues raised in this Q&A.

Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash.

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Qualified yoga teacher Lindsay explains why a recent campaign for a horror movie got her attention, the joys of being in the same room as colleagues, and which podcast she listens to be a better leader.

What’s the best campaign you’ve seen recently?

One that sticks in my mind was for horror movie Smile. I don’t even watch horror movies but I am aware of this one because of the buzz that was created by the campaign. It sent actors wearing bright green shirts and smiling in a creepy way to Major League Baseball games and TV show audiences. I love how such a simple idea that has minimal cost can have such a large impact.

What’s been your highlight of 2022?

My work-related highlight was when we had an in-person company day here in North America. Maybe it’s because I’m an extrovert but getting to meet everyone in person after being physically apart since before COVID-19 was such an energy boost! It was an invaluable few days of getting to connect with everyone in person, meet new joiners, and build a sense of community together.

You lead culture activities for Gain Theory in North America – what makes a great culture in your view?

A great culture happens when you have strong company values and a purpose or goal that you can build a sense of community around and work together to reach. This year, we have been focusing on building that sense of community across our remote workforce. For example, we’ve brought everyone together on a weekly basis to chat about a topic led by different people from our leadership team. Topics have included philosophy, values, presentation skills, and yoga. We’ve called these moments ‘coffee chats’ because they are meant to be informal conversations that enable us to learn together while building a sense of community.

Talking of yoga, you’re a qualified teacher – are there any lessons from this discipline that can be applied to your work?

One component of practicing yoga is building self-awareness through things like meditation. One of my favorite yoga quotes is: “The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.” Having a clear mind helps to drive awareness of yourself and others, which allows me to be empathetic, drive creativity and ground myself with patience. These things help me on and off the mat to be a better leader.

Are there any books or podcasts you would recommend on the subject of leadership?

I have always been a huge fan of Brené Brown, particularly her research on vulnerability and how that relates to leadership. One of her mottos is “courage over comfort” which is something you need as a leader to really listen, truly learn, and be open to drive change. She shares many other great insights in Dare to Lead, which is the title of her book and podcast. I listen to the podcast regularly as she shares new research and has guests that give new perspectives on how to be a great leader.

Contact Lindsay to discuss any of the issues raised in this Q&A.

Photo by Chelsea Gates on Unsplash.

This article was originally published on the Marketing Week website. Click here to view.

Belgium might not seem the obvious place to look for evidence that marketing effectiveness is more important than ever, but if you can succeed in this country of 11.5 million people, you can succeed in a lot of other places too.

The reason? Not only do local marketers have to navigate three official languages and two distinct geographic regions, but Belgium is also one of only two countries in the EU to practise wage indexation. In other words, the wages of workers are linked to inflation by law. One million employees are set to receive an automatic pay rise of 11.59% in January, according to one report.

This is an added headache for companies in Belgium, which are facing the same rising energy and supply-side costs as everywhere else in the world. Alongside the cost-of-living crisis that is limiting consumer spending power currently, this has created a perfect storm for marketing departments.

“The biggest challenge we’re facing is budgetary pressure,” says Annelore Van Hove, Head of Media & Channel at Delhaize Belgium, the country’s second-largest food retailer. “Luckily, we have a very strong VP of Marketing who makes sure our voice is heard with senior management.”Marketing effectiveness is a key gauge the team relies on to make its case. “For me, marketing effectiveness is about proving we can deliver a high ROI,” says Van Hove. “If we can show that we are increasing the revenue the business earns on every euro spent on marketing, the last thing they will do is cut the media budget.”

Changing price perception

Having opened its first supermarkets in 1867, today Delhaize operates hundreds of stores at the premium end of what Van Hove says is a “very competitive” €31 billion market. The current macroeconomic pressures have only increased competition between the players, as consumers change their behaviour.

After seeing customers spending less in-store earlier this year, for example, Delhaize decided to introduce more entry-priced products, expand its high-quality own-brand range, and focus on loyalty programs.

For the marketing team, this meant a significant change of tack. Previous campaigns had followed the 60/40 rule on long-term brand building and short-term performance, but the situation on the ground means that ratio is shifting towards parity. 

“It’s difficult because we’ve managed to successfully build our brand over the last five years,” says Van Hove. “Our core audience is people who want to eat premium quality food, but the reality is they were buying more basic products from our competitors than from us.”

As a result, one of this year’s key campaigns focused on changing price perception over the short term. The omnichannel “Little Lions” campaign showcased the value of 500 of Delhaize’s most purchased own-brand products. This was not without risk, says Van Hove, because “people know that we are not focused on low price traditionally”.

But the marketing team were able to frame the campaign around one of the company’s strategic growth drivers– providing inspiring, healthy, and affordable food options for all. It paid off, with a 15% increase in Little Lions product sales after just one month. The company has increased the number of products in the range to 600.“We found the sweet spot between brand positioning and the economic situation,” says Van Hove. “Now, we are trying to build a more long-term story by adding content, such as recipes, and linking it all back to how we make healthy eating affordable.”

Linking media performance to sales

To improve the effectiveness of its campaigns, Delhaize leans on market mix modelling (MMM) and attribution tools. “I always say that marketing is not an exact science, but we’re trying to base it more on facts and figures and be more analytical,” says Van Hove.

One way Delhaize is making this a reality is by using Sensor, Gain Theory’s multichannel, privacy-compliant attribution solution, in three key areas. First, in concert with its media agency, Delhaize determines an optimal plan for how and when to spend campaign budgets at a granular level, such as which channels, partners, and audiences to target.

Second, Delhaize uses it to optimize campaigns. The marketing team were struggling to understand what was working on its busy social channels, notably Facebook and Instagram, for example. Sensor was able to show which messages were having an impact on which audiences on which channel, enabling the company to make tactical, in-flight decisions. 

Third, it measures how marketing is performing in a language that senior stakeholders understand. “Sensor is the only tool I know of in Belgium that links media to sales,” says Van Hove. “In combination with MMM we have improved effectiveness every year for the past four years – during this period, ROI has increased by 60%.”

As well as providing proof that marketing is working, it has led Van Hove to something of a Holy Grail – a higher media budget in 2022 compared to 2021. While she admits it is too early to say if this will happen again in 2023, it shows that success is possible, even in a surprisingly tough market like Belgium.

Contact Gain Theory Senior Partner Sam Fellows to learn more about Sensor and other marketing effectiveness solutions.

Akhila, who works with brands such as Diageo, DFS, and Kellogg’s, tells us why she loves Cadbury ads, what can be done to improve diversity in data and analytics, and which book all marketers should read.

What’s the burning issue that brands are talking to you about?

TV advertising inflation is a big issue that brands are facing at the moment. Alongside wider macroeconomic and geopolitical trends, such as the cost-of-living crisis, rising interest rates, and the war in Ukraine, it is putting pressure on brands’ profit margins and their ability to increase marketing spend. Thanks to valuable lessons learned in the past, brands realize the importance of maintaining overall advertising investment. Using market mix modeling to enable robust, granular measurement is one way they can better quantify, forecast, and align on the optimal channel mix to achieve both short- and long-term growth targets.

What’s the best advert you’ve seen recently and why?

I have been a fan of Cadbury ads for several years. My recent favourite was the ‘Mum’s Birthday’ ad for their ‘There is a glass and a half in everyone’ campaign, which won the IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix award 2022. Cadbury campaigns focus on the brand’s intrinsic purpose – the generosity within all of us – and this one clearly demonstrates how purpose that is connected to brand and product can drive affinity, equity, and sales. 

When it comes to data and analytics, the industry has a long way to go in terms of diversity. What can be done to improve this? 

An open culture in which everyone feels they belong, and visible, inspiring role models are key to making our industry more diverse. Providing relevant training, coaching, and formal mentorship programmes can also help to drive change, although this will take time. 

I think it’s vitally important that the executive leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) councils, and employee resource groups (ERGs) work in harmony. Executive leaders need to be the role models of the diverse and inclusive organisation they aspire to become – we must be aware, ready to learn or confront our own blind spots and our own habits. For their part, DEI councils need support from the leadership and have clear objectives, outcomes, and actions. Meanwhile, ERGs can provide a safe space and sense of community and belonging for members of underrepresented communities. Here at Gain Theory, we have two ERGs dedicated to diversity – Lumena inspires, empowers, and supports our women, while Roots champions greater ethnic and cultural inclusivity. 

Beyond this, change at the grass-roots level is needed too. More awareness around DEI at schools will encourage more applications in STEM subjects to universities from people with diverse backgrounds.

What book would you recommend to our readers and why?

How Brands Grow by Byron Sharp is a must-read for anyone interested in marketing or effectiveness. It would be fair to say this book had a disruptive effect among both marketers and academics. The author’s views about the importance of new customer acquisition driven by increased mental and physical availability, resulting in behaviourally loyal buyers, are seminal.

Contact Akhila to discuss any of the issues raised in this Q&A.

Photo by Nabil Saleh on Unsplash

Russell, who has a focus on new media measurement at Gain Theory, shares his thoughts on key issues in marketing effectiveness, his favorite current advert, and the commentator he leans on to get a fresh perspective.

What important marketing effectiveness question should readers be asking themselves today?   

How do I unify and centralize my approach to marketing measurement without compromising on timeliness and depth of insights? Centralizing measurement can enable coordination and accountability, but it can also slow things down and force data and insights to be aggregated. A thoughtful long-term data strategy and approach to measurement can help to solve these challenges. It can yield deeper insights that are timely, not just at the market and channel level, but at the individual ad placement and audience level too.  

What are you working on currently that excites you?  

The current release of Sensor Audience – a new audience insights capability within our Sensor attribution tool – has been super exciting and rewarding to work on. Increasingly, brands need to know how they can construct new audiences that are based on media responsiveness, as well as brand propensity, and then measure their in-market performance. Sensor Audience makes this possible, so being able to deliver this to our clients makes me feel like we’re arming them with a complete set of measurement solutions.      

What’s the best advert you’ve seen recently?  

I liked the Toyota “Keeping up with the Joneses” ad. It was a very clever and fun way to deliver a message that spanned generations. 

Which person is worth following to get a fresh industry perspective?   

I enjoy NYU Stern Professor of Marketing Scott Galloway. Much of his commentary covers the intersection between business and culture, and he doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. I agree with his view that the most important part of making a prediction is forcing yourself to think through the logic of why your prediction is what it is. This is critical in our business as we build our planning and forecasting tools to deliver insights for clients. 

Who inspires you and why? 

Our junior team members at Gain Theory. Their ability to adapt and grow during COVID-19 – a time when regrettably we couldn’t provide enough face-to-face mentorship to them – has been incredible to witness. Their enthusiasm for our product roadmap and our vision for what Gain Theory can become is also inspiring. A major challenge in analytics is analysts feeling like they do the same thing day in, day out. But the enthusiasm of our new recruits tells me that they see Gain Theory as a place where they will continue to learn for years to come. 

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?  

“It’s a marathon not a sprint” is quote from every good boss I’ve ever had, but it doesn’t mean “slow and steady wins the race”. Marathons are highly strategic and feature moments that are extremely intense as well as moments that allow you to gather yourself and think. To win a marathon you must be highly conditioned, in both mind and body, and you must be a tactician. 

If you’d like to speak to Russell about new media measurement, please click here

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash.

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to measuring marketing efficacy at speed, Claudia Sestini asks:

“With a greater focus on e-commerce sales channels now, should marketers pivot media strategy to drive digital footfall?”

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

  • Digital is the key destination, so it’s important to ensure brands are there, easy to find, and easy to navigate as customers are searching.
  • Digital is the end destination for sales; however, a customer’s journey doesn’t necessarily start there.
  • Consumers begin to consider purchase decisions before the sale, so when planning media strategy, marketers need to focus on the principles: build awareness, build consideration, and keep your brand top of mind.
  • Give people a reason to talk about your brand by putting the right message in front of the right customers in the right place at the right time and in the right context.
  • Customers are fulfilling purchases digitally, but a brand’s advertising needs to create mental availability and put your message everywhere your customers are consuming the media—whether online or offline—particularly during lockdown.
  • Using 2020 as an example, the same principles for media strategy still apply. Overall, the advice is to find where your customers are consuming their media and place the right messages to them in those places at the right time. This year in particular, we have all spent a lot of time at home, so investment in OOH advertisements has fallen.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to measuring marketing efficacy at speed, Claudia Sestini asks:

“Econometrics will always be the main stable of any marketing effectiveness toolkit for measurement. What other approaches can marketers leverage for increased agile decision-making as they look to course correct?“

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

  • Prior to the pandemic, the variables of marketing measurement and effectiveness were relatively known, allowing optimization and forecasting with confidence. Now, we’re experiencing a world where marketers need to use the existing models and data we have and to embrace scenario planning.
  • 2020 scenario planning has involved new marketing investment parameters to analyze at what point effectiveness begins to decrease with increased spend. This lets marketers know when to reduce advertising to a level of optimal effectiveness per spend, which both requires and enables marketers to increase agility in their planning.
  • The scenario planning tactic is less about methodology and more about how agile marketers can use the data to look forward and make quicker decisions. There is an increased push for utilizing dashboards and platforms that bring results to marketers’ fingertips quickly, without the need for a lengthy econometrics reports.
  • Free tools like the Demand Generator from Thinkbox are useful to gain insight and help marketers make faster, informed decisions.
  • Consultancy backed decision making platforms such as Gain Theory interactive can also bring to life tactical decision making across creative, geography, market and much more.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to how TV advertising is changing for more agile decision-making, Claudia Sestini asks:

“Globally, people have watched a tremendous amount of television this year. For marketers, consumer demand has been constantly changing, which requires a flexible media plan. The perception is that TV doesn’t allow for that level of agility…or does it? “

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

  • During global lockdown and stay at home orders, with more time spent at home and fewer daily commutes, people chose to watch more linear television and on-demand programming.
  • Several larger brands have been making the most of advertising during this period where demand (and cost) for television advertising has been low, while viewership has been high.
  • However, because Covid diminished marketers’ guarantee of securing television advertisements with the right quality, timing, and programming, broadcasters removed the penalties for the late-booking deadline to afford marketers more agility.
  • Marketers have appreciated this nimble structure, desiring to continue the reduced booking period beyond the pandemic. With shorter booking windows, more marketers can utilize television advertisements instead of using their funding across other typically agile platforms, like Facebook or Google.
  • The drawback to this ‘new’ booking deadline structure, is that TV advertising is finite with a limited number of spots and programming. Broadcasters are not allowed to increase or decrease the minutes of advertisements; it is regulated by the government in the UK. Due to these limitations, the risk with more agile options is that the preferred programs and spots may ultimately not be available when marketers are ready to book.

“How has the TV industry pivoted to accommodate these new agile decision-making needs? How are TV networks dealing with unpredictable programming, where some shows may not be greenlit for production to continue filming and making new episodes?”

  • TV production was hit hard due to Covid, limiting some options for programming. However, some shows were able to create production ‘bubbles’, with cast and crew leaving their friends and family for a few months to film safely. This was a step beyond what most broadcasters were willing to take.
  • For broadcasters, the loss of revenue due to drop of demand for advertising in certain sectors leveled out because there were not as many shows or programs to spend on this season. Broadcasters were able to save up and reallocate those budgets for new programming in 2021.
  • Broadcasters have been forced to be as agile as marketers, coming up with new formats and new programs to keep their schedules as strong as possible in lieu of new show content. There may ultimately be new formats that spring out of this time of ingenuity and creativity due to Covid.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to pivoting marketing strategy at the right pace and place, Claudia Sestini asks:

“What examples of agility have you seen this year and what advice do you have for marketers to become more agile in the coming months?”

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

Know your fundamentals: know your goals, know your strategy, and know when/how to say, “no” to ensure you stay on the correct path and are able to move nimbly in the right direction.

“Covid” advertising examples:

  • The best Covid-related advertising examples this year were created by brands that have clear brand structures, brand identities, and distinctive assets during “normal” times – and have managed to mold their Covid communications around those brand basics to reflect the new reality in our evolving “new normal”.
  • Some brands were already well-poised and well-spoken about caring for their communities prior to the pandemic, which allowed them to perform even better and more authentically during these times where CSR and a brand focus on giving back to support communities is important to consumers.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

In our fifth episode of our Ask the Experts series titled “Agile Decision Making”, Claudia Sestini, Global CMO of Gain Theory, discusses best practices and advice for being agile in the face of changing priorities with a full panel of industry experts.

With regards to media allocation decisions across brands, Claudia Sestini asks:

“Many marketers have evolved their media plans and strategies to meet the needs of their customers in 2020, which can be particularly difficult when managing media allocations across multiple brands, products, industries or customer sets.

How should marketers decide media allocations across these portfolios to avoid spreading advertising budgets too thin?”

Panel Guests:

Georgia Thodey, Head of Brand and Media Planning at NatWest Group

Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director at Thinkbox

Matt Chappell, Senior Partner at Gain Theory

Key Takeaways:

  • There are four key factors that can help marketers, whether you’re allocating media across a full portfolio of brands, products, or different segments.

1. Consider all marketing and media allocation as investment choices:

  • Look for opportunities to invest that will drive ROI financially for the brand and benefit the customers. Look at where and how much you are investing, what you’re driving from that investment, and analyze the gaps to see if you’re over or underinvesting anywhere.
  • Look at the market as a whole, where you think the market is going, and compare your activities to others.
  • Consider your investment and activities to see whether they align with your business objectives.

2. Create a level playing field for assessment.

  • Create this level playing field across all your brands, products, or segments and find a way to compare apples to oranges to see where the true value of investment is for each.
  • Work with an econometrics expert to build a model that can help you make these investment comparisons.
  • Utilize multiple sources when researching and assessing.

3. Prioritize and make the tough decisions.

  • Doing fewer things well is a key to success.
  • Make informed decisions that align with your objectives and strategy to help you say “no” when needed.

4. Set the guard rails and be prepared to adapt.

  • Once you’ve established how much you will invest, where you will invest, and why – be ready to shift continuously through the year.
  • Review your results, analyze how the market is changing, and encourage agile decision-making.

Other topics addressed in the “Agile Decision Making” Ask the Experts Session: 

To stream the full video click here.  

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