SYDNEY (25 August 2016) — What does the future of branding have in store? Where will marketers and consultants fit amidst robots and space-age technology? Inspired by this very question, a panel of brand and customer experience experts met with leaders from global branding agency Landor. The question at hand? Proving that innovation, creativity, and human touch are essential for brands to thrive in our increasingly automated world.
The event culminated in a panel discussion hosted by Landor’s executive director of innovation, Giles Day, who spoke about humanity and technology in the world of the future with Robbie Robertson (partner, spatial and brand experience at Deloitte Australia), Joe Lynch (vice president of insights at BBC Worldwide), Ian Swanson (design lead at Coca-Cola South Pacific), and Ross Jauncey (creative agency lead at Google).
Technological revolution in the workforce
Following an introduction by Lois Jacobs (CEO of Landor), Dominic Walsh (managing director of Landor Australia) described an eerily dystopian view of a robot-driven future, highlighting popular fears over automation resulting in job loss. Robertson later discussed this theme, explaining that counter to what many people assume, jobs are actually being created from technological advancement at a much greater pace than they are being made redundant. He noted that change management and training employees are particularly important, as these efforts empower staff to fill newfound time that technology has freed up due to automation of mundane, administrative tasks. He commented, “We are seeing a shift in marketing and communication professionals upskilling in areas such as data analytics to help them understand how best to use the volume of data that we are now able to collect. Combining technology with marketing skills—the more human and emotional side of business—and being able to analyze data, draw insights, and create value from them is fast becoming a necessary skill across the industry.”
Simon Bell (strategy director of Landor Sydney) also touched on the importance of cross-area adaptation, noting that forward-thinking brands need to focus on six agile behaviors—namely being principled, adaptive, open, responsible, global, and multichannel. This can help brands successfully carve out a position in the market and advance in today’s world while ensuring tomorrow’s future.
From creation to curation
To take full advantage of the opportunities technology presents, Jauncey explained that companies must go beyond simply capturing data, instead using data to tailor their offerings. Jauncey noted that his Google team is more efficient at enhancing customer experience and creating and curating content because of the way it integrates data. Pointing to Google Cardboard and Tango, he explained the impact technology can have on storytelling, both from a brand and consumer point of view. Highlighting Pokémon Go as an area of opportunity, Jauncey stated, “Pokémon Go at the moment is about collecting—imagine if that changed to creating. Look at Snapchat—it is allowing kids to create and curate content every day.”
Data as a tool
Lynch continued by discussing the television industry and its relatively slow technological adaptation. He noted that BBC Worldwide uses myriad technologies to collect various types of data, helping it measure engagement and predict successful content and programming. He elaborated, stating, “Data is a tool—it is only as good as the hands that wield it.” The key skillset marketers must master in the future is really about using data. It’s not about a traditional insights team, but about “the art of persuasion, communication, and storytelling.”
Humanity, technology, and the future
One of the key takeaways from Landor X was an acknowledgement that not any one of these skills can exist in isolation—insights without data, technology without humanity, or data without technology. Swanson from Coca-Cola South Pacific was quick to remind marketers that they need to remain grounded, for the best insights are usually found by speaking to and engaging with consumers. In discussing creativity, he noted, “We tend to lose ourselves in data, forgetting that the best ideas start with insights from real people.”
Wrapping up the day, the panel agreed that the growth of automation and robots benefits the marketing industry, freeing up humans to provide valuable insights and ideas instead of crunching numbers and capturing data. But the speakers stressed the need for innovation, creativity, and skill development to ensure that companies are ready to adapt to the changes that automation will bring. Jauncey summarized this idea: “[No matter what technology is developed in the future] businesses will always need good ideas, so we need to stay on top of creativity.”
Dominic Walsh agreed vehemently: “Ever increasingly, Landor is being asked to facilitate breakthrough innovation for its clients to help them keep pace with technological change. The key to this is applying agile principles so that brands can adapt to the changing world around them.”
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Landor’s branding services include strategy and positioning, identity and design, motion graphics, brand architecture, prototyping, innovation, naming and verbal identity, research and analytics, environments and experiences, engagement and activation, and interactive and media design.
Founded by Walter Landor in 1941, Landor pioneered many of the research, design, and consulting methods that are now standard in the branding industry. Today, Landor has 27 offices in 21 countries, working with a broad spectrum of world-famous brands. In Australia, these brands include AIS, City of Melbourne, Downer, IAG, Microsoft, News Corp, and Procter & Gamble.
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