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Campaigns need to delight consumers – not be points on a spreadsheet, says Fandom COO

Procurement and financial department-driven marketing campaigns are eroding brand loyalty especially among the younger generation, the chief operating officer of Fandom has claimed.

Walker Jacobs, a former executive at Turner and Clear Channel, told a panel in Singapore that marketers need to take a serious look at whether their campaigns are “going to delight consumers” or just serve as “points on a spreadsheet”.

Speaking during last week’s All That Matters conference about Millennial marketing, Jacobs argued that the best campaign “magic” happened in the era before data-driven targeting – when the performance of an ad was more difficult to predict.

“Brand loyalists are seen as being the best thing for a brand these days: the same as if you’re a music fan or a gamer,” he said. “But the tactics used by some brands today are not in line with this outcome. Influencers can be used very simply: they can be a very cheap, quick way to get an instant outcome, but people can see through that. To some consumers, social impact is important; to others it’s about bringing something to the party.

“When you juxtapose that against outcome-based programmatic media, it’s inconsistent… And a lot of campaigns are driven by procurement and the CFOs are getting much more involved in media investment decisions.

“Yet so many of the best campaigns in the last 10 years just had a kind of magic – you couldn’t have predicted the outcome. It’s really important to look at whether your media investments are a reflection of your identity, and are they going to delight consumers, or are they just points on a spreadsheet.”

During the panel, Philip Kitcher, the Asia-Pacific vice president of lifestyle marketing company StyleHaul, argued that campaigns directed at Millennials needed to be “long term” and “authentic”. He said: “[Millennials] are very critical and are more likely to push back if they feel it’s not real and lacking sincerity.

Generation X panel at All That Matters, Singapore

“My generation without was a lot more receptive to the messaging we received, but now there is so much fragmentation and so much push back, and that’s the challenge brands have today: building a relationship with your audience that’s sincere and authentic – not just a hard sell.

“Transparency is key: it’s paramount when your influencer is working with a brand their audience knows. And I think unfortunately some agencies tend to look at things rather transactionally. It’s critical though that everyone knows what the relationship is, and you can do that in some very creative ways if it’s on a long-term basis… that’s where Millennials really begin to feel a sense of association and affinity – when there is real purpose.”

He added: “Millennials really want to know they’re having a lasting impact on this world – so when brands bring in an NGO or something with social impact. They are really becoming upset with corporations that don’t have a positive part to play: when it’s very window-dressing and insincere.”

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