JCDecaux served up mounds of thought-provoking content at its second annual Conversations event. This year’s one was themed ‘Connected Brand Stories’ and speakers delivered insightful talks.
First up to whet the audience’s appetite was Carmen Murray, founder of Boo-Yah! who took a journey in which she traced industry disruptions and lessons marketers need to know in a new age of consumers.
Through digital advancement, consumers are more connected than ever before, and with this comes a more demanding consumer. They want to be in control, so brands need to adapt their approaches to engaging with them.
“As marketers, we need to look at how we can embed changes in our business… The DNA of marketing is effecting change; we are living in the age of the connected individual. In order to be an efficient marketer, you need to realise that mobile has superpowers,” Murray advised.
Brands, she added, needed to create their products according to their customers’ behaviour, not the other way around.
Telling stories in Africa
Unpacking how to tell brand stories effectively in Africa, Dawn Rowlands, CEO of Sub-Saharan Africa for the Dentsu Aegis Network, stressed that companies needed to be mindful of the multitude of factors affecting the continent, including geo-political, societal, tech, and economic elements. Doing business in Africa is complex, but one crucial element of marketing on the continent is localisation of campaigns.
She also explained that “campaign performance means different things for different marketers with different business objectives”. Hence, each would have their own important metrics.
Rowlands showed this video clip of an amazing marketing campaign from Ghana as an example of a great concept implemented beautifully.
She went on to unpack marketing research on the continent, giving some detail into Dentsu Aegis’ Consumer Connection System. Now present in four markets, across 80 different touchpoints, this single source research project is providing valuable insights into African consumers.
“The goal is to have 200 million connected consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa by the middle of next year,” she revealed.
Rowlands left the audience with an inspiring, bold message: “Use innovative channels. And there are no rules, we can make them up!”
Know your intention
Lotang Mokoena, junior digital strategist at VML South Africa, presented next, and she had a very strong women empowerment theme to her talk.
Her advice to brands looking to communicate their brand story:
1. Know your intention
2. Lean into the discomfort of the world
3. Listen for a response
The main message that came out of Mokoena’s presentation? “Brands must pick values and stick with them. There is an expiry date to blaming circumstances.”
The power of OOH
With JCDecaux being an OOH player, it was predictable that there would be session at the event focusing on the power of the out of home medium. Neil Eddleston, managing director of JCDecaux OneWorld, was the man who delivered that message, backing it up with impressive stats.
He emphasised that OOH infrastructure was changing and digital would be at the forefront of this evolution. “Brand growth is driven by activation in the short-term and brand building in the long-term … 60% brand building and 40% activation is the ideal balance. There tends to be a focus on the short-term,” he said.
He touched on the work being done to improve the accountability and measurability of OOH. Software that creates a virtual city has been introduced, giving brands the ability to track with virtual reality users’ experiences in different OOH advertising settings.
Connecting with the youth
With millennials, Gen Y and Gen Z playing an increasingly important role as consumers, connecting brands with them in the right way is vitally important.
Prescilla Avenel-Delpha and Valentine Gaudin-Muteba of Trace Urban revealed their top tips to effectively engaging with the youth:
- Engage with them on social media, particularly using the multimedia features
- Millennials don’t listen to brands and branded advertising, they listen to influencers and their peers through word of mouth
- Millennials love video content, but also stress authenticity
- Include content that the youth have created themselves in your marketing. They love seeing themselves
Their takeaway message was a powerful one. “Millennials want global content because they aspire to it, local content because they connect to it, and African content because it’s on trend… Youth are loyal to brands until another one comes along that appeals to them more. Brands must have a clear mission statement.”
The tribes to target
The best was left until last as the keynote speakers took to the stage; trend analyst and founder of Flux Trends, Dion Chang and researcher and trend spotter at Flux Trends, Khumo Theko. They went through the current and future tribes (groups of consumers) that marketers can target.
Watch out for a separate article on The Media Online, which will unpack Chang and Theko’s presentation.
Advances in OOH tech
Accompanying the speakers was a display room of various technological offerings designed to enhance OOH marketing. These are part of JCDecaux’s new division, Blue. The sights and sounds were breath-taking, from virtual reality and holographic boards, to projectors and digital displays.
Here are some pictures from the event:
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8