The advertising industry is changing rapidly and the world needs creativity and innovation more than ever. We asked for expert advice on learning how to build partnerships that add value and how to adapt and transform business through these worldwide changes.
In a recent interview with Dagmara Szulce, IAA – International Advertising Association- Global Managing Director, we talked about how to build valuable brands and partnerships. Dagmara has 20 years of experience in the industry, transforming high value brands and boosting their growth. Take a look at these key strategies to improve your brand value and boost your business.
The secret to position advertising and building valuable brands
The role of building brands has changed significantly. Staying close to those changes is the key to analyze in which stage is your brand and how to transform it to adapt to those changes. For IAA, their mission is to be the global compass and leader in the industry, being close to the latest trends and sharing those trends is what they consider their responsibility.
For Dagmara, positioning advertising is an opportunity to share the knowledge and latest know-how around how to build high value brands. As IAA has a lot of members who represent these high value brands, they can harness the knowledge from them, and share the latest to the industry.
Learning the latest trends and business innovation allows you to take action on what area of your business needs improvement, changes and optimization to deliver better and more innovative service for your clients.
Transparency: the key to build better relationships between agencies and brands
Project management provides real transparency when it comes to the process, the resources and the outcome. We are in a better position than ever because technology allows us to be highly transparent with clients. Technology is the catalyst for more transparency and more trust as a result.
Software tools such as COR provide the ability to keep a trustworthy relationship with your clients and brands.
How to build healthy relationships with your clients
From Dagmara’s point of view there are two key aspects to achieve this:
1. The agencies’ management need to understand what it takes (from the business’ process point of view) to build a brand because this has changed significantly. The highest value brands produce a live brand ecosystem: this ecosystem allows brands to be relevant. This means having the analytics in-house, multidimension and creative resources and data analytics to measure and optimize.
2. Incorporate technology: technology allows efficient project management, to cost out and to measure the projects. When you have tools and creative resources you can prove to your client that you can deliver ideas that will move the business. This is key to achieving engagement and trust.
If you have your client’s trust and if you have proven that you can deliver success, you have a better starting point to negotiate. But then you have to substantiate it through a project management system to make sure you can maximize profitability of the process.
Challenges and opportunities: how to keep clients updated
Keeping members updated is a challenge because you have to rely on different stakeholders to be able to understand what is the current state of the industry, specially through the pandemic. Being close to opinion leaders and getting advice from them on how to turn this pandemic crisis into an opportunity in any given sector is a key challenge but also a key opportunity.
Since the pandemic started, IAA has been focusing in different areas of content :
1. How to turn this crisis into an opportunity
2. Why brands matter: they talk to governments about why brands are important and how brands’ creativity and innovation can help stabilize the pandemic and economies.
One of the key challenges through the pandemic was to justify investing in marketing and in brands to the CFO’s. To accomplish that, they developed a whole campaign around it to educate the industry and governments about why brands matter, how to connect dots between marketing and finance and how brands can influence economic growth and benefit societies.
Afterwards the communication focused on digital transformation and what that means to all the sectors of the industries.
How to build valuable relationships with clients
Building and developing trust is key as well as keeping a track record to deliver results for the clients. We need more purpose-driven brands and what all leading brands have in common is: they are driven by purpose from the business behaviour point of view.
The greatest brands are human, they have a purpose, and as a result from this they have the power to influence society. Once you understand this a lot of clients will be passionate about it and want to join in this journey.
“It’s about passion, trust and the ability to deliver results.”
Improving agencies’ processes with technology
Advertising is one sector that lacks the most about technology knowledge and it’s critical for agencies’ leadership to equip themselves with this knowledge: leaders have to understand the opportunity technology brings to improve the operating model of an agency.
The most valuable resource is the creative ones, creating a brand is a piece of art. Bringing an emotion to a commodity is a piece of art and it can’t be replaced by technology, but the processes to do that are improved by it.
Dagmara believes there is a huge opportunity across all creative processes to allow technology to optimize them: data collection, project management and strategic and creative processes.
Keys to Build a valuable brand
Sharing knowledge and giving members access to events and contents is one of the main values IAA offers. Having the latest knowledge in the industry is a real skill to build a brand and it requires different stakeholders to do it.
IAA is constantly searching who are the most valuable brands in the world and what it takes to build them. Having access to this knowledge allows them to serve as a global compass. They look at the highest value brands and dissect all the information about what it takes to build them and they share this information to their members.
Key ingredients to achieve this:
- Purpose-drive: being driven by purpose
- Personalization: Hyper personalization.
- Optimize and evolve consistently to deliver better experiences
- High value brands seduce you over and over again: build a strong creative team
- Technology and analytics: key to measure and optimize your business
These key aspects match with COR’s services and goal: educating creative people and businesses on how to set profitability on their projects, measure performance with analytics and negotiate better fees: to hire more people, raise salaries, reduce overwork and turnover.
In addition, COR provides an excellent project management software to achieve this and to ensure your business to get the best profitability out of your services.
Inhouse and consulting agencies: a threat?
Szulce believes that inhouse agencies aren’t a threat because this trend has been going on for a long time.
The process of crafting a brand and keeping the brand relevant has changed significantly, you have to apply creativity at very different stages of the brand cycle and most of this process starts with the client’s vision:
You have to envision the brand, the brand experience, values, behaviour. A lot of this thinking happens in-house and it all depends on the category you’re working on and the client’s ability to apply creativity to the business.
In the case of consulting firms, Szulce suggests all big agencies should have consulting skills in-house. In this new model of creating branding ecosystems, data analytics is key specially in visual transformation: you need to be near the consumer all the time, having consulting skills and the ability of analyzing data.
The skill set of building a brand is changing based on data, and having an analytical strategic skill set today is a must.
Women in the advertising industry
Dagmara had several and diverse experiences: she was among the first generation that studied marketing, she travelled around the world, and landed in the U.S with the opportunity to work among different women in beauty, fashion and luxury categories in the industry. Being a woman was highly empowering for her and it wasn’t a disadvantage at all.
But, she considers we need more women in the industry and it takes a lot of women to encourage others to join and participate in the industry.
How to encourage women to be part of the creative industry
Dagmara believes that there needs to be a greater education about opportunities in the industry. Women who are trying to enter this business don’t fully understand all the opportunities the industry represents: universities and high schools have a fantastic opportunity to educate and motivate on this issue.
With Digital transformation, the industry is getting more complex and more vertical: creativity has changed hugely. There needs to be better education to seduce women into advertising and marketing, being a highly creative field and a very exciting career for any woman.
How to apply this into the most noble causes of the world
One way to start applying this is having corporate leaders focusing more on people and the planet, not only in profits.
In the last year and half there has been a lot of communication in being more human, humble and focusing on people and having a purpose. Hopefully, this thinking is amplified in this pandemic and we believe that creativity has the power to change the world for better and the world would be a better place if we have more purpose-driven brands.
Dagmara wishes to prove that the advertising industry can be a strategic tool in improving the world and that’s why she is so passionate about it. At COR we share the same passion in transforming the industry and the world providing necessary tools to achieve this.