CEO Connectors

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As new technology continues to develop, consumers are being inundated with information like never before. There are hundreds of different channels by which we consume media, and we are plugged in 24/7. Brands have to work harder than ever to cut through the clutter and deliver messages that are clear and concise but also creative and interesting.

Advertising Week’s annual CEO Connectors, moderated by AT&T AdWorks’ Maria Mandel Dunsche, featured a panel of leaders across media, technology, agency, marketing and research, brought together to discuss the shifts in the industry and how we can change the way we communicate, market and connect with one another. The common thread across the panelists? They’re all risk takers and disrupters within their respective industries.

Bethenny Frankel, CEO and Founder of Skinnygirl attributes her success to her disruptive personality. Anyone who’s watched the CEO on The Real Housewives of New York knows that she is not afraid to say what’s on her mind, but her messages are always clear and concise – something that she translates to her brand. Living in a hyper-connected society, brands need to find a way to stand out amongst the clutter, and, like Frankel, Skinnygirl gets straight to the point and delivers its message in the most straightforward way possible.

When it comes to taking risks, Frank Cooper III, CMO of BlackRock, believes that “the riskier thing is sitting while everything is evolving.” He considers himself a risk-taker, but doesn’t take risks for the sake of taking a risk. Every risk he takes is backed by insight, and the risk-taking comes in when searching for a way to bridge the gap between the insight and the consumer. Jeff Goodby, Co-Chairman and Partner at GS&P acknowledges that in the digital age, most brands have access to the same data, but in order to be successful, creatives can’t be afraid of knocking down some doors to find an innovative solution.

Television, an industry that has been around for decades, is facing what many argue is the most disruptive change of any industry player. Television is reinventing itself into being more data driven and targeted than ever. Because of the hyper-accurate data numbers agencies have access to, television networks are able to spend more money to ensure that their specific target market is receiving the message. Data is making television not only stronger and smarter but more accountable. Data allows us to track how an advertisement is performing, and creates a platform for brands to build accountability.

Not only does data allow marketers to track metrics of shows and advertisements, but it also creates a way to fragment audiences on an extremely targeted level.

Not only does data allow marketers to track metrics of shows and advertisements, but it also creates a way to fragment audiences on an extremely targeted level. Nick Troiano, CEO of Cross MediaWorks believes that data is making TV smarter – when you look at the 25-49 year old market, which is the key demographic when it comes to television, only about 65 percent of the people you paid for are seeing your ad, and the rest of your ad spend is essentially lost, according to Megan Clarken, president of Watch Nielsen. Data allows marketers to hyper target their ads, and with more specialized channels than ever, ads can be tailored to that hyper specific audience. Take Frankel’s show, The Real Housewives. Bravo’s network caters to a very specific and niche audience, so if a brand is wishing to reach that audience they can easily place an ad during that programming and rest assured that their ad spend was well spent.

The problem arises in that as much as the ad industry wants to be disruptive, they have to do so in a way that comes across as un-disruptive, because consumers don’t want their content to be interrupted by someone trying to sell them something. Brands need to strive to create relationships and build trust through advertising that fits within the context of what the consumer is already watching. It’s now up to advertisers and media buyers to work to create content that is stimulating yet seamlessly integrated with the content consumers choose to watch. We all want to be risk-takers and disruptors, but it’s important to take risks that are backed by insights and that add to a brand or company’s values and goals – not just for the sake of it.

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