Chief Strategy Officer/Partner at Fabric Worldwide
(Since March 2010)
I’ve spent most of my life working in creative agencies, as a planner/strategist. Over the past decade (or two), I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of brilliantly creative and smart people, across a lot of different categories (and brands).
My current job is the same, but different – we’re pushing what you can do with Big Data in the world of marketing – how you can genuinely use all this connected, digital, footprint to actually identify groups of people and then drive some insight from their collective behaviour. It’s a lot like the world of advertising strategy, since it’s in the pursuit of the same objectives: we’re looking to help planners, media planners and clients to see opportunities and make smart decisions. Using data. A lot of data. And quickly.
Personally, I’m half smitten with the newness of it – the creation of something and the chance to be part of building a technology. A system that will live on longer than most campaigns do. But I’m also doing it because I believe that planning had got a bit slapdash. Too much “googling” for some insight. Relying on unsubstantiated reports. Desperately pulling that one comment from qual groups to support a route. And, if Big Data lives up to my own expectations of it, then the future will have us examining real behaviour at a level where we’re more likely to do things that make it better… to make the products, the marketing and the interactions we all work on better. A big part of this is focused on social data, social networks and how people engage with brands on places like Facebook.
But it’s not all “Insights” – as the media world moves to addressable media becoming a greater part of media plans, the world of big data also means that you can target new groups of people, with more definition than before. So, creatively, we’re no longer just trying to figure out how to appeal to a mass audience with a mass insight. And this part fascinates me too – as a strategist, the idea of relevance is a nice simple one: Show people more stuff they’re interested in and less that’s irrelevant or even irritating. But, beyond that, how can brands change? What can creativity add when we open up what creatives CAN do? The systems we’re building all lead to targeting – to using the data to recognise or predict what type of group people are in, so they see the content you want them to see. Or ads. Or anything, really.
I think it will lead us somewhere great (not just good!). Somewhere creative. For instance, if we know that a message is ONLY going to be seen by young adults, and not older audiences, can we start to show more youthful characteristics of a brand? Can’t we be more bold? More direct? Would car ads start to have very different versions for different audiences? Right now, today, in a number of markets, you can target social messages, digital ads, Video On Demand TV ads, and more – very acutely. This is where the creative agencies can pick up new opportunities – to get briefs with more edge and more opportunity. And that’s going to get exciting.
Previously I was Head of Planning at TBWA\London.
And, before that, I worked as Group Planning Director at WCRS in London.
I spent 5 years working at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, as Group Planning Director (mainly on HP)
(excluding 1 year in the middle as Partner/Director of Planning for See: London)
I’ve also worked at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, San Francisco.
And in London at Saatchi & Saatchi, JWT and CME.KHBB.
And I went to UCL University (89/92) – BA(Econ) Hons in Economics with Statistics.
I used to have some links to work, but they’ve all died. Well, almost all of them did. I’ll try to post new ones soon.