WPP wins industry’s most creative company at Cannes Lions 2021

WPP was named the most creative company of the year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. WPP agencies collected a total of 190 Lions, including a Titanium Lion, 12 Grand Prix, 28 Gold, 57 Silver and 92 Bronze, with winners representing 38 different countries.

The award is based on the accumulated points total from agencies within each holding company. It is the first time that WPP has won the Holding Company of the Year award since 2017, and reflects investment in creative talent as part of WPP’s strategy for growth.

Ogilvy was the standout performer, with eight Grand Prix and a Titanium Lion for work including Stevenage Challenge (DAVID) and Moldy Whopper (DAVID and INGO) for Burger King; Courage is Beautiful for Dove (the moving tribute to front-line workers featuring the faces of healthcare professionals, etched with the marks from long hours in protective equipment); and Naming the Invisible by Digital Birth Registration for Telenor Pakistan.

WPP winners and shortlisted entries came from every part of the company, and from across its agencies. AKQA’s H&M Looop, a pioneering in-store recycling system designed to inspire a more sustainable approach to clothing among consumers, picked up a Grand Prix for Design, as did Superunion’s stunning work for sustainable packaging brand Notpla. VMLY&R’s ingenious I Am for Starbucks, which created a safe space for trans people in Brazil to have their names legally changed, was awarded the Glass Lion for Change. Degree Inclusive by Wunderman Thompson for Unilever, the adaptive deodorant for people with upper limb disabilities or visual impairment, was an Innovation Grand Prix winner.

Accessible Technology

Microsoft

One of the great things about my role at WPP AUNZ is working with Microsoft and their passion on creating technology focussed on accessibility. The Microsoft company wide goals and plans are to essentially put solutions in for existing barriers that technology can bring—which are part of systemic ableism—that typically preclude disabled people from being successful, contributing members of society. That includes areas such as employment and education, which unsurprisingly in modern times, is largely driven by technologies created by Microsoft, Apple, and others.

Microsoft under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella, a father of three including an adult son with cerebral palsy, has been for sometime improving and innovating with accessible tech.

I remember the Microsoft’s 2014 Super Bowl commercial being very impactful in outlining how technology can support diverse workforces provide companies with a greater range of talent. 

Bringing people with different backgrounds and experiences together can improve problem solving and creativity, while contributing different points of view. A core element of embracing diversity and inclusivity is ensuring that every single employee has access to all the tools and resources they need to enable them to do their best work.

It’s important to create an environment in which, for example, people with dyslexia, vision impairments, language barriers and hearing conditions can work and collaborate to their full potential. Everyone has the right to be heard and understood, and allowing diversity and inclusion to flourish will encourage teams to thrive.

Like many companies, WPP has rolled out Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 to encourage collaboration across its global workforce. When COVID-19 hit, more than 95 percent of WPP’s workforce shifted to working from home

WPP was also serving all its clients remotely, and the company wanted to ensure that all client communications were as inclusive as possible. Inadvertently excluding people during creative pitches and client meetings would be a missed opportunity, so using technology to enable all staff to work at the same level was important for a sustainable remote-working model.

Microsoft worked with WPP to train 85 accessible tech champions — people who have an in-depth knowledge of all the accessibility tools available across Microsoft’s products and services so that they could, in turn, help their colleagues.

“Working with Microsoft has enabled us to really speed up our inclusion work,” says Nancy Lengthorn, Managing Partner and Head of Inclusion and Belonging for WPP UK.

“Improving systems and processes is vital to inclusion and diversity, and there can’t be a more critical system to improve than how we communicate with each other. The initiatives we are putting in place will really help us all to be more authentic and more effective, both with each other and our clients. This is about helping everyone to flourish and Microsoft have been a brilliant partner.”

Following the tech champion training sessions, a series of “brown bag” events focusing on diversity and technology took place.

These virtual sessions were made available to WPP, and covered areas such as vision, hearing, cognition, mobility, mental health, wellbeing and dyslexia. Around 800 WPP employees attended the sessions in the UK, and they were also recorded for people to view at their leisure.

“When the pandemic suddenly hit, it was a struggle,” Lengthorn continues. “However, in a way it also democratized everything.

Everyone was in the same boat, and we all had access to the same tools. Some of the barriers were taken away and many people started to notice new things. Perhaps things they hadn’t felt the need to confront in the past – can everyone participate, can everyone hear, does everyone feel they can speak up in a meeting?”

There are more than one billion people in the world with a disability, and for the majority, their disability is invisible. In the UK, 33 percent of surveyed employees responded that they choose not to disclose their disability, hiding their true selves due to fear or embarrassment – often referred to as “Covering”. Many people with dyslexia won’t, for example, disclose they have the condition.

WPP recognised that to help combat this stigma, they had to encourage openness through shared experiences while showcasing the strengths of dyslexic thinking. WPP and Microsoft created an event called The Creative Brilliance of Dyslexia, which included a keynote from Kate Griggs, CEO and founder of the Made by Dyslexia charity.

Role models from across WPP and other companies shared their experiences on the virtual stage, showing that people should embrace diversity. Demos of Microsoft Learning tools were also carried out, in addition to discussions on how managers can help their teams. Topics also covered how you can best help children with dyslexia to build their confidence and enable them to thrive.

“The dyslexia event had a much wider ripple beyond WPP,” says Lengthorn. “Employees also had their friends and family watch the live Teams event. Suddenly everyone found themselves at home, and people were homeschooling children with dyslexia, dealing with new, challenging situations. Bringing together so many people for such an important, positive cause was an amazing thing.”

The past year has been challenging for everyone. The global pandemic has kept friends, family members and co-workers apart, often isolating people from their support bubbles. While remote working isn’t a new phenomenon, shifting an entire workforce to a working from home model while expecting everyone to remain connected is no easy task.

The solution for WPP was Microsoft 365, a platform that provides a scalable and global collaboration platform. Employees in a global company like WPP will often work with people from other countries that don’t have English as a first language. Teams can help overcome language barriers by offering built-in text translation, letting people converse instantly without a delay in communication.

Employees who give PowerPoint presentations on Teams calls can also turn on automatic captioning, which presents subtitles in real-time, allowing employees with hearing loss to follow along more comfortably. There’s also the option to select live translations, which translate subtitles into other languages in real-time, opening up presentations to an international audience. If there are viewers who speak multiple languages, they can use the Microsoft Translator app on their smartphones to have real-time translations in their chosen language, too.

“It’s been an awful year, but some good things have come from it, too. We’ve all had to re-assess how we interact and that gave people a reason to engage with these tools and become closer to each other,” Lengthorn says.

For a company to truly embrace diversity and inclusion, the drive for change needs to come from the top. Leadership is vital in helping to instill a culture that fosters innovation and equal opportunities, and it’s a process that needs to be thorough, and authentic.

WPP has been named a Leader among commerce services providers by Forrester Research, Inc.

The Forrester Wave™: Commerce Services, Q1 2021 evaluation ranks the 14 most significant commerce providers as Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders or Challengers against their current offering, strategy and market presence. Fulll report found here

WPP received the highest scores possible in 12 criteria including Omnichannel Commerce Strategy, Organisation Design & Change Management, Global or Multibusiness Unit Commerce Architectures and Vision.

The report suggests that “companies seeking help with their commerce transformation should look for service providers that: offer a full set of services including commerce strategy and implementation… have expertise and capacity in their commerce platform – or headless architecture… [and that] focus on their industry region.”

Following the rapid growth of ecommerce and the digitisation of services due to the pandemic, the demand for agile, full-service partners has increased from companies that require omnichannel expertise to support commerce transformation or to adapt existing business strategies around evolving customer needs.

The Forrester report states, “WPP leads with strategy and implementation as well as in Amazon and social selling.” The report gave WPP full scores in the criteria of: global or multibusiness unit commerce architectures; emerging commerce touchpoint services; commerce experiences supporting services; privacy and compliance; programme management; vision; and partner ecosystem.

The Forrester report notes, “Compared with other providers we evaluated, WPP shows strength and higher client satisfaction in commerce strategy services, emerging commerce touchpoint services, commerce experiences supporting services, and programme management… WPP is a good fit for companies seeking a global omnichannel commerce partner with expertise in helping clients navigate and monetise emerging channel options”.

WPP works in collaboration with its partners across all major commerce technology platforms including Adobe, Amazon, Alibaba, Salesforce, SAP, Shopify and Sitecore.

Mozaik Play, empowering people to pursue a career in the creative industries

Mozaik Play | LinkedIn

Today I am excited to announce I have taken an investment and advisory board position at Mozaik Play, the first and only specialised student agency for the creative industries worldwide.

Economic statistics reveal a booming trend the creative industries with the sector providing more than 30 million jobs globally and contributes revenue of US$2.2 trillion.

Mozaik Play was the brainchild of Gabriel Providel, founder and CEO. Gabriel has a strong track record in leading education, digital creative, and technology businesses having previously held roles with Redhill Education and Navitas. I met Gabriel through Simon Ward at Apollo League and organisation that connects leaders with start up companies that fills a real gap on both sides of the investment community for talent.

Gabriel created Mozaik Play two years ago to create a platform to connect the next generation of creative professionals with the most reputable creative media colleges worldwide to fuel growth across the creative economy.

Mozaik Play has over one hundred contractual agreements with the world’s top creative schools across the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, NZ, Singapore, and Malaysia. Creative powerhouses such as GnomonVancouver Film School, and Istituto Marangoni.

Before Mozaik Play, students would struggle to find a way to connect with the right creative college worldwide. Colleges had problems, too, as they did not have the resource or market expertise to recruit the right student worldwide. Even study agents who represent over 10,000 globally would struggle to service creative students because they don’t have the skills or placement contracts with creative schools.

Mozaik Play’s solution was to create a student marketplace connecting students, creative colleges, and recruiters in the creative industries space. Teachers and graduates from these premium colleges have worked on such innovative franchises as Lord of the Rings, Avengers, Frozen, and games like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, Minecraft.

Mozaik Play partners with study agents to help them service and place creative students and earn commissions. There are over 8,000 significant schools and universities globally and 10,000+ study agents who help students in every country worldwide choose a course, choose a school, get through the admissions process, apply for a visa and attend in person or study online.

This entire industry is focused on standard courses where admissions are based on grades instead of creative portfolios. Study agents globally struggle to advise students on their creative portfolio and do not have, and cannot quickly get, contracts with creative schools.

What I was excited about was Mozaik Play passion to solve this problem. 

Since launching, Mozaik Play has built an MVO with the core operational infrastructure that supports a growing pipeline. They have established twenty-five global offices and partnerships with study agents and launched an exclusive affiliate deal with the most prominent creative student portal, The Rookies.

Mozaik Play is now in Series A funding round to complete and build the B2B SaaS solution enabling sub-agents and members to across course inventory and tools.

I am very much looking forward to working closely with Gabriel and his team at Mozaik Play in achieving our growth plans across the business and empowering people to pursue a career in the creative industries.

More to come.

Velocitize Talk: Being relevant at the right stage of the journey.

I recently did an interview with Velocitize originally recorded in late 2019 but only just published. 

In this episode I was asked to share my insights into how brands can utilize personalization and voice-driven marketing to strengthen the customer experience, and how to measure Martech ROI. The transcript is pasted below.

Driven by Voice (2:03)

I see voice as part of a marketing-tech strategy. It drives you towards more automation. It drives you into that direction of how to use AI as part of your overall strategy. The output of that is more voice-driven solutions.

Voice, martech and marcom
Source: eMarketer

As peer-to-peer communication continues to evolve—from emails, phone calls, and text messaging to social media, messaging apps, and voice-based assistants—customers regularly interact with voice. In 2019, an estimated one-third of the U.S. population interacted with voice at least once per month.

Typical voice interactions into your phone or to a speaker is conversational. Building customer relationships through voice can be very challenging for brands since the technology remains limited.

According to Good, “The response back on many brands is like a small child. They get the answers wrong or they’re not helpful but that’s changing quickly.” Conversational AI represents the next wave of voice automation. This is due to authentically human-sounding, AI-powered bots.

In fact, the conversational AI platform market will exceed $12B by 2025, according to a study by Research and Markets. As brands figure out how to interact with customers via conversational AI platforms, martech (Marketing Technology) and marcom (Marketing Communications) teams will have a new playing field to explore.

Loyalty is Everything (4:52)

I think personalization is something that consumers really like.

CX, martech and marcom
Source: HubSpot

Brand loyalty is the holy grail for any company. And personalization has become a vehicle for delivering brand loyalty and advocacy. When a customer has a great experience, it solidifies their loyalty. Conversely, if it is a bad experience, it can be a turn off.

Loyalty is the final step in the customer lifecycle. There are many other earlier steps essential to building long-term customer relationships. These can include brand discovery, product education, purchasing process, and post-engagement purchase engagement. 

The best brands build mutually beneficial relationships with customers that translate into a higher customer lifetime value. Good notes that if customers are given the information they require, or they need more information, brands should focus on that conversation. They shouldn’t just suddenly push something on the customer, like a marketing survey. 

Generation Personalization (5:39)

I don’t think consumers really understand the complexities of personal data and what that means. Companies have a real responsibility to make customers aware of what data they have and how they’re going to use that.

Source: WP Engine

Time and time again, experts have recommended, consumers have demanded, and laws have required that brands detail what data they are collecting and how they intend to use it. Customer data is crucial for good customer service, competitive prices, and better products. 

Good recognizes the generational gap that exists when it comes to data privacy. He cites younger generations who have continuously seen the benefit of releasing their data and providing experiences tailored to them. In other words, they’re quite comfortable sharing their data.

Older generations, however, can be confused about how their data can benefit them. In their experience, you only tell people certain things about yourself, Good says. It’s up to brands to create a clear value proposition for their customers, building a trusting relationship over time.

Invest in Martech and Marcom (7:39)

I haven’t met any clients that say, ‘I invested X amount of dollars and I’m completely happy with where I need to be.’ There’s always this feeling that they could go further.

Martech and marcom landscape
Source: chiefmartec.com

The rapid changes in the martech market over the past two decades have resulted in brands investing heavily in a variety of tools, and ultimately a consolidation of both tools and effort. Custom content management tools, outbound email solutions, ad tech, mobile apps and websites have all been a part of the martech and marcom mix that people have been moving through to land on a solution. But then what?

Good says that once they’ve delivered or used a service for some time, they begin to consider the ROI. Marketing ROI can be used to measure the ROI of a specific marketing channel, activity, campaign, or the entire marketing function. It is common for brands to analyze their investment and benefits before renewing a service.

Book Club (11:00)

It’s great reading in regards to research on how companies can be growing at that exponential rate; what are the traits, what are the behaviors that need to drive.

Source: Goodreads

Good recommends the book “Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations are Ten Times Better, Faster, Cheaper than Yours (and What To Do About It),” by Salim Ismail. An Exponential Organization (ExO) is an organization whose impact is “disproportionally large” compared to other businesses because of its use of new organizational techniques. The new techniques can then leverage accelerating technologies.

The book identifies an ExO’s characteristics and contrasts an ExO with an outdated, matrixed, linear organization. One such characteristic of an ExO is the presence of a “Massive Transformative Purpose,” which refers to its aspirational purpose.

WPP and TikTok Announce First-of-Its-Kind Global Agency Partnership

WPP & TikTok

WPP and TikTok today announced an innovative global partnership to enable WPP agencies and clients to tap into the culture-shaping impact and reach of the platform. The partnership allows WPP clients to benefit from unique access and capabilities on the TikTok platform.

Recognising the significant opportunities for brands that both short-form video and digital content continue to present, WPP will have early access to advertising products in development, ensuring WPP and its clients remain at the forefront of innovation as TikTok further develops its suite of products for brands. This includes partnering on marketing API integrations and next-generation formats, such as augmented reality offerings. Subvrsive, a WPP company, was one of the first TikTok Effects Partners.

TikTok will also collaborate with its talented creator community to build a diverse network of creators to partner with WPP and facilitate exclusive opportunities for collaboration with select advertisers. WPP will be the Lead Agency Development Partner to new creator-focused APIs, which will incorporate WPP’s brand safety methodology while leveraging unique brand and marketer data signals. The goal of these new solutions will be to enable brands to gain deeper insights on creators, connect with diverse voices and have early access to these creators for their campaigns.

Additionally, WPP and TikTok will co-create an industry-leading training and accreditation program for WPP agencies, which will secure priority access to content tailored to media and creative disciplines. This program certifies that WPP’s talent is leading the development of best-in-class creative and media solutions on the TikTok platform.

TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics

To further build brand safety solutions on the platform, GroupM, the media buying arm of WPP, and TikTok will continue to work on complete integration with third party verification vendors, developing meaningful first party inclusion and exclusion controls, and alignment with the GARM Brand Safety and Suitability Framework. The companies also intend to jointly conduct market-leading research to guide brands on TikTok best practices and assist them with employing data-informed strategies for driving engagement on the platform. GroupM has already engaged TikTok on niche auction training and will continue advancing buying capabilities through its large network of specialists.

WPP Extraordinary Awards 2020

WPP today revealed the five winners of its first Extraordinary Awards, designed to celebrate and recognise the best work from across the company and its agency brands.

This year’s winners were selected from almost 1,000 entries across five categories. Four reflect WPP’s offer: Communications, Experience, Commerce and Technology, while the fifth – the top prize – is for the best example of Creative Transformation for clients.

90 leaders from across WPP, drawn from all disciplines, from creatives and strategists to planners and technologists, came together to review the entries in a global judging process.

The entries, from 100 cities and all WPP’s networks, encompassed everything from inspired art and copy, powerful communications strategies and inventive media planning to hyper-engaging digital experiences, stunningly effective ecommerce platform design and game-changing martech implementation.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “Creativity is more than just a great idea. It has the ability to bring about change and to transform businesses. In a year defined by disruption, we launched these awards to celebrate our people and recognise work that demonstrates the power of creativity to build better futures for our clients and communities.”

The five winners, revealed today during an internal award show for all WPP employees:

Creative Transformation:

Geometry – London, MediaCom – London, Ogilvy – London, 

 

Bootiques: Breaking the Mould of Christmas, Boots 

This cross-agency team broke the mould of Christmas advertising with a multichannel experience that delivered true personalisation at scale for the whole nation to interact with and enjoy.

Communications:

DAVID – Miami and INGO – Stockholm, 


The Moldy Whopper, Burger King 

Against all industry aesthetic practices, the team launched an impactful campaign that featured the iconic Whopper rotting over a period of 35 days. This rule-breaking campaign sent a simple and clear message to consumers – Burger King food has no preservatives.

Experience:

VMLY&R – Melbourne,

 

 A Future Without Change, Monash University 

By showing a future that shouldn’t exist, this integrated campaign – supported by digital OOH, online films, social posts and ongoing VR experiences – helped recruit and inspire the next generation to change it.

Commerce:

Geometry Global – Dubai,

 

Lifebuoy’s Handle on Hygiene 3.0, Unilever 

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the team re-designed and rolled out Handle on Hygiene 3.0, a world-first innovation and impactful shopper activation campaign to improve hygiene, developed in partnership with Barrows.

Technology:

MediaCom – Tel Aviv and Grey – Tel Aviv, Rabbi Bot by Always, P&G 

This customised app, developed in consultation with rabbinical authorities, uses the power of AI to determine the end of a woman’s menstruation cycle, replacing the need for Orthodox Israeli women to undergo uncomfortable, in-person consultations with a rabbi.

For more details on the winning entries, special commendations and the full shortlist, and to hear from the panel of judges, please go to wpp.com/wpp-extraordinary-awards.

Marketing Tech Symposium 2020

This week I attended the Marketing Tech Symposium with Ashton Media.

It’s a yearly event and an opportunity to discuss with inspiring people to learn about local marketing technology work as well as connect with clients and potential clients alongside technology solution providers in a sophisticated and relaxed environment. The Hunter Valley NSW traditional lands of the Wonnaruah people in November is beautiful and it didn’t disappoint.

 

 

 

This year WPP AUNZ COE partnered with Microsoft and LinkedIn to deliver a keynote talk ‘How Martech can get you a seat at the top‘. 

The panel included myself, Isabel Boniface, Martech Industry Lead, Microsoft, Lara Brownlow, Head of Agency & Channel Solutions, LinkedIn and Rose Herceg, Chief Strategy Officer, WPPAUNZ.

WPP AUNZ is a Gold Microsoft Partner, and we were joined by our agencies, including AKQA, Wunderman Thompson, Ogilvy, VMLY&R, and GroupM, who enjoyed a real-world and virtual experience to promote Creativity powered by Technology.

Traditionally WPP AUNZ is the partner for the CMO and Microsoft with CTO, and we discussed our leanings toward Australia’s digital transformation during 2020 when you bring these executive work streams together.

We discussed our experience in getting buy-in alongside a realistic Martech budget and program of work that keeps an accountable customer experience, with accessibility and business growth objectives aligned to transform business in Australia.

Join our WPP AUNZ LinkedIn Martech Community

We have made some progress this year and as Scott Brinker editor of @chiefmartec. expressed in his keynote digital transformation is growing much faster with the COVID-19 impacts that are driving much faster organisational change. 

We discussed some of the problems and our concern that the Marketing Executive leadership on Australian companies is too small. 

In fact, LinkedIn revealed that only 2.6% of firms’ board members have marketing experience. While we feel this is short-sighted, we do see there are opportunities through the need for Marketing and Technology professionals to do more to change board perception that Marketing matters more than ever.

In an ever-increasing digitally-driven economy, customer experience is king. 

Data nouns we need to learn

An intangible asset such as brand value, customer equity, and perceived innovation accounts for over 80% of enterprise value and acts as a primary driver for a companies relevance.

Marketing matters more than ever. In an ever-increasing digitally-driven economy, customer experience is king. Intangible asset (such as brand value, customer equity, and perceived innovation) accounts for over 80% of enterprise value and acts as a primary driver of a stock price. 

Advertising is a highly effective business investment when used in digital channels. We discussed companies’ total profit return on marketing investment (ROI) over three years. The average campaign has a return of 324%. 

The watch out? Over 50% of this return is ignored when only short-term measurement and assessment is applied.

Workflow verbs to be creative

Customer experience can be risk assessed like any other capital expenditure and delivers an excellent return on operating expenditure and investment. While this ratio dipped in 2019 and now, in the face of a pandemic, recognition, and priority have been given to marketing to retain customers and maintain brand awareness.

The WPP AUNZ COE, was established to help our clients transform their businesses, unlocking untapped growth through the power of breakthrough Creativity. 

We help to reinvent our client’s business by embedding data and Technology at the heart of everything our clients do, to help them change faster than the world around them. 

Our WPP AUNZ and Microsoft partnership are expressed with the saying Actionable Imagination. We do this through the best-in-class application of Technology + Creativity.

UI/UX  language to create accessibility, engagement and growth

Our Partnership was formed to empower every person, and every organisation in Australia and New Zealand to achieve more through the power of creative ideas made real.

Microsoft and WPP AUNZ believe strongly in Marketing Executive leadership to increase on Australian boards. Boards being more customer-centric via marketers can not only create but sustain a marketing and growth flywheel that drives revenue and growth.  

The flywheel starts with data and marketers are the best place to understand the power of Data. Data drives success today and tomorrow.

There’s a reason it’s the first step in the customer experience ecosystem. The more useful data we have about our customers, the smarter we can be about building relationships with them. Turning that data into insights is the next step. This is where we turn to the power of AI to analyze the data and help give us insights on customers’ needs and predict their intent that improves engagement.

Governance grammar to take  to your boards

Reach and convert more customers. Those insights can then be driven across all of your customer, sales, and marketing channels to help you reach and convert more customers.

We discussed the need to get the language of business along side marketing and technology and with that we launched two workshops.

Friday, 11th December 2020 | 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM (GMT+11:00) Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

What is Artificial Intelligence, and why should you and your organisation care? Our AI Masterclass for Marketers identifies key AI building blocks and think critically about them. Facilitated by Professor Genevieve Bell Australian National University. Register Now 

 

UNLOCKING THE VALUE OF YOUR DATA WORKSHOP #1

Data disconnection hinders brand growth and blocks the potential value of marketing technology investments. The ability to use data to drive more valuable experiences for customers is what will help brands accelerate their technology transformation. Our workshop is designed to help brands accelerate their technology architecture transformation. By mapping current architecture, identifying CX challenges, and defining future state data objectives, you can set-up your #MarTech #ecosystem for future fluidity and digital acceleration. Register Now

Which-50 Post: Opinion: Integrating Artificial Intelligence Into How We Live, Work, And Communicate

Artificial intelligence touches some form of our life every day. Not only does it change the way we see and interact with brands, it also improves the way we manage brands.

Efficiency, accuracy, and automation are currently the key advantages of working with AI technologies so it is imperative for brands to understand AI and how it can enhance the overall customer experience journey.

For example, Facebook uses facial recognition to recommend who to tag when you upload a photo. Facebook is now claiming that its AI DeepFace program has a 97 per cent success rate in recognizing whether two images are of the same person or not – compared to 96 per cent for humans.

When on Google, AI uses deep learning to rank our search results. Netflix uses machine learning to personalise our recommendations. Amazon uses natural language processing to give us the news delivered by Alexa. The Sydney Morning Herald’s website uses AI to write data-driven articles to support our daily editorial consumption. From smarter web searches to e-commerce recommendations to voice assistants, AI is integrated into how we live, work, and communicate in the world.

Connected devices now capture unthinkable volumes of data: every transaction, every customer gesture, every micro- and macro-economic indicator: in fact, all the information that can inform better decisions. In response to this new data-rich environment, we have now started to adapt our workflows when we fuse creativity with technology.

Moving from data-driven to AI-driven is the next phase of our business evolution. Embracing AI across company workflows affords better processing of structured data and allows for the touch of human creativity to contribute in complementary ways.

Early in my career, human judgment was the central processor of any business decision-making. Just about any input in the creative process, we relied on highly-tuned intuitions, developed from years of experience to pick the right idea, develop the correct creative execution, and then determine the right media spend. Experience and gut instinct were two key factors available to discern right from bad, high from low, and risky vs. safe.

Over time we have learned that advancement in technology can provide the evidence to enhance and support a decision or create an output—getting the balance right as AI advances are both a challenge, a responsibility, and where the magic can be found.

Different Strokes
AI is often confused with marketing automation, yet the two are fundamentally different. AI mimics human intelligence decisions and actions, while automation focuses on streamlining repetitive, instructive tasks.

Automation has been around for some time and continues to be integrated into most marketing operations such as auto-generation of emails or mobile alerts to customers when a customer data signal has been triggered along with a customer decision map.

Artificial intelligence tries to solve problems that occur in the world as it exists, many centres on what people had initially been created. We can teach and use AI to do some pretty creative problem-solving solutions if we can understand this.

Technology does not suppress creativity, in fact, technology enhances creativity. The difference is that creativity comes from observing the world, interpreting it, and bringing new concepts and ideas. In other words adding humanity, which is not something a machine is ever going to be able to do.

Technology and AI advancement do however have significant implications for a Chief Marketing Officer especially in terms of where to spend time and find differentiation. Marketing is now about creating an experience across the entire customer journey and less about creating messages about the product you sell.

To learn more about Automation and Control in an AI powered world, check out Secret & Lies ‘Humanity and Machine’ podcast with special guest Lee Hickin, Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft Australia.

Humanity and the Machine – WPP AUNZ Secret & Lies Series

WPP AUNZ

WPP AUNZ is invested in getting under the skin of our clients’ audiences and this involves constantly building our knowledge to better understand the attitudes and behaviours of Australians and New Zealanders.

Secrets & Lies is WPP AUNZ’s major thought leadership platform created by our Chief Strategy Officer Rose Herceg.

Rose Herceg

Rose Herceg, Chief Strategy Officer, WPP AUNZ

Each of the research studies explores the difference between what we say out loud and what we really think across a range of topics that are particularly relevant to our clients.

What are the public values reported versus the private truths hidden? What are the secrets and the lies and where are the opportunities to engage and connect that lie in these cracks.

As technology plays an even more important role than ever in how we function as a society, what better time to examine ‘humanity and the machine’ and explore our relationship with tech.

How is humanity being improved by technology?

What are the innovative ways emerging technologies are reshaping how we work, live and transact? What do we really feel about the role of technology in our lives? And where do ethics fit in a global pandemic when the old rules no longer apply?

Our findings from the report with contributions from The Ethics Centre and others, show that 82 per cent of Australians believe technology has benefitted humanity and 75 per cent say it has greatly improved their life.

However, 80 per cent want more oversight on the ethical questions around new tech and 63 per cent feel anxious about how quickly technology is changing our lives.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Parents worry about their children’s online behaviour and believe they should vet the profiles they create. Most Australian parents (83 per cent) say they would force their child to delete a digital profile that makes them uncomfortable.
  • Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) mistakenly believe that they own their child’s digital footprint until they turn 18.
  • Most Australians (80 per cent) would never want photos of children and family made available to third parties. This privacy concern was higher than for any other type of data or information.

For all the extraordinary benefits and breakthroughs, we’re constantly seeking the humanity in tech check out the panel.

How will it help us, protect us, enable us? How should we shape the relationship between humanity and the machine? Will this tech protect our secrets and expose the lies?

WPP AUNZ’s CEO Jens Monsees

Chief Strategy Officer Rose Herceg and our special guest panel:

Melanie Silva, VP & Managing Director, Google Australia & NZ

Pip Marlow, CEO & Executive Vice President, ANZ , Salesforce​

Lee Hickin, National Technology Officer, Microsoft

Dr Matt Beard, Fellow, The Ethics Centre

And host: The Insiders’ David Speers​