News & Views

The Now / Next / Why Sessions / London

by Contagious Team

What you missed at Contagious' latest packed event in London

A huge thanks to those who joined us at Contagious' second Now / Next / Why session at St Luke's LSO in London. We were lucky enough to be joined by a distinguished audience of agency folk, brands, pr, design and media agencies from the UK and Europe. For those of you who didn't make it along, here's some of what we covered, in a packed afternoon.

Contagious writers Ed White and John Ridpath kicked the day off talking about Perceptive Media, looking at how media channels like TVs, billboards, websites and social networks are able to see who's using them through cameras, sensors and software. They showcased how that has the potential to revolutionise marketing, enabling brands like KraftAmerican ExpressJameson and Neiman Marcus to create personalised, one-to-one messages and  get real time feedback from the people in front of their messages.

Daniel Stein, CEO of San Francisco-based EVB, also discussed Perceptive Media. He shared his experiences from the early days of Evolution Bureau, when brands were spending seven figures building brand temples, huge flash-based sites. Then they spent $30,000 on Elf Yourself, for Office Max, starring a dancer they found on Craigslist, and a week later they had built one of the biggest viral hits in history: 250,000,000 unique visitors. Stein even suggested that 'the higher the budget, the less creative and innovative we tend to be.'

He continued: 'The truth is that marketing and advertising is so inefficient. We still spend hundreds of millions of dollars to carpet-bomb a TV ad across the world. The only way to make it better is to know more about the audience, and it's going to make a better experience for everyone'

In the second presentation Contagious Insider consultants Will Sansom and Katrina Dodd stepped up to examine how the ubiquity of networks and digital technology is driving the evolution of Social Business. While marketers were quick to adopt Facebook and Twitter as additional broadcast channels, it's the brands that are using these platforms as real-time R&D labs that are beginning to reap the rewards of social business. But this is about more than just social media. Learning to behave in a truly social way, and actively using input and insight from their consumers to influence the mechanics and processes of their business are key skills that established companies are learning from the upstart brands that have, as Lady Gaga might say, been born this way. 

Gav Thompson, head of brand innovation at O2 and founder of UK mobile service giffgaff, took us through the launch and creation of giffgaff as a truly social business with humour and insight. 

Contagious consultant Dan Southern and editor of Contagious Feed, Alex Jenkins covered Marketing as Service Design, looking at how companies are tracing the customer journey in order to identify pain points that they can help relieve through services. According to Bain & Co, 80% of company CEOs believe that offer superior customer experiences, but only 8% of customers agree; this gap has business implications as, according to Accenture, 64% of consumers have changed company in the last year following a poor service experience. Examples in the session included Okamoto's Freedom ProjectPhilipsLifeline and Nike Digital Sport. The key take out was that rather than setting expectations, marketers should use their skills to help manifest the brand promise through services.

Photos / Courtesy of Greg Allen Photography