We’ve kicked off a series of interviews with people from a variety of agencies, brands and consultancies in order to understand perspectives on the role of data and social media research in planning, marketing and advertising.
Our first interview, yesterday, was with Luke Tipping – Creative Strategist at Beattie McGuiness & Bungay (BMB). Luke talks about cultural relevance and why social media research is important to creative agencies.
DS: How do you approach briefs at BMB Luke? In a nutshell what’s your planning process?
LT: We don’t have a finite planning process or rigid approach to planning per se. We work to develop brand insights, cultural insights and then try to identify the role of the brand within culture.
DS: So cultural insights are important to you when you’re addressing a brief. How do you research culture and produce insights?
LT: Traditionally, I suppose, we’ve used books, blogs and focus groups in order to understand both hemispheres of research: brand and culture. But I think the data from the web helps to make the invisible visible.
Realtime insights beat big budgets. Insights from social media and content across the web help us deliver campaigns that are relevant today.
We use data to support all elements of campaign planning and delivery: insights for planning before-hand, activation and evaluation.
DS: Social media provides you real-time cultural and brand insights for more agile planning. Does this mean focus groups are now redundant?
LT: No not at all. I still think they have their role for testing concepts; after all you can’t beat a gut reaction.
I do, however, think that insights from web data and social media are sufficient for initial planning.
DS: The web has evidently become more social. Clients now want ideas that are shared. How do you take social networks into account when planning and developing an idea?
LT: We try to understand connections when we develop an idea. If I was working on a brief for cheese, I would try to understand the networks where cheese is actively discussed. It makes sense to do this because, essentially, we would like these networks to share our ideas.
Another reason why social networks are important is co-creation. We’re working on ideas and concepts that involve fans and communities in producing something of value for both parties.
DS: So social networks are important to you so you can identify co-creation opportunities?
Absolutely; all campaigns start with fans; fans propagate ideas.
DS: Doing something on Facebook now is a default tick on every marketer’s must-do list. It’s become a kind of no-brainer, but what are your views of the blogosphere and social networks outside of Facebook?
LT: I think they’re very important. Every campaign should start with identifying networks of influencers wherever they are. The blogosphere in particular contains an influencer of a very different nature. Bloggers are passionate about what they write and often experts in their fields.
As I mentioned before…it’s all about the insight and developing an idea or campaign that’s culturally relevant. The goal for any brand is to gain cultural relevance.
DS: Time to talk nuts and bolts: what tools do you use right now?
LT: A mix of the free stuff at the moment. There are so many tools out there so we use what works best for the topic we’re trying to understand.
DS: So the future…what would you like to see in terms of intelligence, tools and approaches to what we do?
LT: I think agencies need data people: specialists who are good at listening and managing data. Listening experts or Data Planners. Without these people at our disposal we can’t help brands have conversations or motivate them.
The best listeners will do well.