Tag: consumer

dmexco 2017 – “Location, Location, Location”

As dmexco 2017 comes to a close, and the dust somewhat settles after the largest conference to date (over 1,100 companies, and 55,000 people were in attendance), we take a look back on some of the more pertinent points being discussed throughout the event.

Location, Location, Location

One immediate point of interest lies in the old adage of “location, location, location”. Thankfully for those of us there from OMD EMEA, traversing our way through the hundreds of stands was made easier by Omnicom Media Group being situated at the very centre of Hall 6, within which were the world’s largest digital companies from all aspects of the ad supply chain – from Facebook to Google, Adobe to Salesforce.

Beyond the location of OMG’s stand, it was also interesting to note the lack of focus on location as an important consumer data point throughout the talks given within the Speaking Halls – despite many of the digital partners focusing on this important area in our one-to-ones. Where real-time marketing and consumer centricity rely on a thorough understanding of real-world human action and interaction throughout the marketing funnel, our vendor partners are being challenged to help address its place within our transformation strategies, along with the accuracy of the data collected and their privacy compliance.

This then brings us on to the critical area of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance for the year ahead. Many of the companies in attendance will be impacted by the upcoming EU legislation and yet few seemed to be addressing it upfront. Clearly, GDPR isn’t a sexy topic to be flashing across the façade of your $60,000 stand, and the fact that GDPR may in fact devalue the product of some of these companies by reducing the availability of the data within it could be enough to silence many. Within the OMG stand, Graham Swallow (Director, Consulting at Annalect EMEA) was overheard discussing the implications of GDPR with his guests and we would certainly encourage our clients who weren’t in attendance with us to reach out to Annalect to discuss this further.

Effective consumer communication

When looking at location from a viewpoint of being in the right place at the right time, many companies in attendance believed they had an Artificial Intelligence solution to aid in effective consumer communication. As Suresh Vittal Kotha (VP of Platform and Products at Adobe) discussed in his talk titled “AI – The Hidden Super Power Driving the Experience Business” no matter what business you’re in or product you’re selling, your consumers care about their experiences with you. These experiences must appeal to each individual, and as a business these experiences can only be personalised if the business transforms themselves to be adaptive and responsive. Elizabeth Buchanan – OMD’s Worldwide President of Global Transformation – put this succinctly in her catch up during her ‘DMEXCO:TALK’ session by saying that the top skill required of all transformation leaders of tomorrow will be that of ‘listening’. That listening skill enables brands and businesses to develop that adaptive and responsive mind set by taking a step back and listening to the consumer, listening to the data and listening to the insights.

Artificial Intelligence has the ability to empower marketers in real-time, if and when they have transformed themselves to become adaptive and responsive. Within Adobe, Suresh discussed four core competencies of an experience business, which enables marketers to “master the millisecond when the experience happens”:

Context – Where mass data, analysed at scale can provide actionable insights on consumers

Design for Speed and Scale – The utilisation of AI to develop effective dynamic messaging, powered by Context

Cross-device Interaction – Where AI allows marketers to test hypotheses within their attribution models

Consumer Centricity – Putting the customer first. AI can act as a catalyst to break down the silos within organisations by unifying data – delivering an internal streamlined mindset with a focus on digital transformation.

Clearly, with over 1,000 companies in attendance, and over 200 talks, debates and speeches throughout the event, there’s too much information to distill into one short blog post. However, we would highly recommend watching through some of the talks on the dmexco website. And of course, check out or video round-up of the event, where we speak to some of OMD EMEA’s key partners – such as Facebook, Oath and Integral Ad Science, where they discuss what the digital transformation means for them and their companies.

For more information about OMD or anything we uncovered at dmexco please contact emea.omd.com

CES 2017: The three “A’s” and their potential impact on social media

2017 marked both the 50th anniversary and my first attendance to CES. I couldn’t have been more excited to see it all in action. Whilst it seemed nearly impossible to experience every single inch of the vast booths of new tech, entrepreneurs, and titans of innovation, the OMD Word team and I eagerly explored as much as possible, gaining several thousand steps on our wearables in the process.

It comes as no surprise, CES delivered on being a fantastic incubator for viewing trends within innovation. As these trends reach mass consumers, social media becomes the hotbed capturing consumers’ responses and participation within these trends. Three key themes continuously bubbled up to the top when walking the conference. While not entirely new to the world of CES, these themes have the capability of reshaping consumers’ behaviour on social media. We’ll call them the three A’s of CES 2017: Autonomous, AI, and the prospective bell of the ball, Alexa.

First up, Autonomous

Autonomous cars increased in sophistication and the metaphorical road got way more crowded this year. After achieving the ability to take consumers from one place to another, the focus expanded to how these vehicles could communicate with each other making transportation even safer and more efficient by reducing traffic buildups. How consumers will occupy their time once the physical act of driving is removed as a necessity still remains to be seen. But it allows for a variety of entertainment and connection opportunities via a new touch point of consumers’ attention.



Throughout the conference, AI weaved its way across robotics, to self-driving cars, to health and fitness, and everything in between. With the ever-growing surge of big data, 2017 AI fosters personalization of experiences across robotic home companions, sleep technology, and intelligent assistants. Even better, the more these AI devices learn and interact with consumers the smarter they become. This especially rings true within health and fitness, where there was a large presence of ingredient brands to grow the market of bio feedback. Gamification of health and fitness nurtures the socialisation of precise bio feedback potentially popping up on social platforms, as consumers have increased motivation to do better and beat out their friends and family.



With the rise of voice activation technology, such as Alexa, consumers will be given new tools and ways to connect within their social spheres generating new types of shareable content. Both editorial publishers and social platforms alike will be responsible for finding the interesting and compelling way to share the new consumer experiences. Practically at every turn, companies were trying to dovetail voice activation tech, Alexa specifically, to their products in conventional and unconventional ways. Voice analytics, including emotional tracking through voice, was lightly sprinkled through the conference creating opportunities for consumers to deepen their understanding of their social interactions both within the physical and digital world.


As the three A’s of CES 2017 continue to trickle out to mass consumers, cultural adoption of connected, intelligent devices across multiple touch points within their lives will advance. With the ease of connecting to everything and the sheer immediacy of it, one hypothesis I have is consumers’ social platform behaviours will start to merge and be less siloed. Consumers’ mindsets will shift from needing to share a specific, individual piece of content across a specific social platform, to having a multi-pronged experience to share across their social ecosystem. In this collapse of the more traditional existing social silos, social platforms will need to adapt to the new consumer demand of a social ecosystem rather than an echo chamber. However in the true spirit of innovation at CES and perpetually dynamic nature of human social behaviours, only time will tell if I’m right or wrong.

Similar to previous years, the social platforms themselves got in on the action of CES.

Facebook lead the pack as the “official” social media partner of CES 2017. Pumping out exhaustive editorial content, on-site interviews, and virtual tours, Facebook served the role of a crucial resource of information for attendees. Not surprisingly, Twitter was not going to let the Facebook relationship go unanswered. Continuing to position themselves as the real time platform, Twitter showed up with prominent on-site branding and a heavy focus on live streamed content, on the heels of their announcement of 360 live videos.

All in all, CES 2017 did not disappoint and perfectly served up the recipe of its 50 years of success. Our industry moves fast and in unexpected directions sometimes, and CES continues to be the conference where we can get together to be delightfully surprised and inspired.

Neil Hurman on the changing role for companies like OMD

Neil Hurman, Chief Planning Officer at OMD EMEA, talks to LinkedIn about the future of marketing at Cannes Lions.


  • In a world where the customer is increasingly in control, what do you think about the changing role for companies like OMD?

Previously when I started in the business, we were able to take our audiences for granted. We were able to broadcast and publicise our point of views and our clients’ point of views quite easily – we had a guaranteed audience. We cannot take audiences for granted anymore. We have to earn the right. We have to avoid ad blocking. We have to avoid the distraction of choice that we never had. In fact, even the words ‘audience,’ ‘target audience,’ ‘our audience,’ ‘our customers’ speaks of a world where we’ve learnt to take too many things for granted and I think that is the big change that I have seen.

  • We’re interested to hear from you on how the role of media has evolved over recent years and what the future of effective media planning looks like, within both OMD and across the broader Industry?

Media planning was how much TV you could afford and in the last five to ten years it has changed beyond all recognition. I think it has become a story less about media planning and channel planning because what we really meant was what audience is more or less likely on the margins to consume various types of mass media. It sounds a little bit like a cliché, but I think we are moving from media planning to content distribution, from media planning to the sharing of stories. I think that requires much less emphasis on channels and much more of an emphasis on how you promote sharing, how you make your stories more attractive. I think it’s that difference between the age we left behind, which is about targeting, and the age we’re moving into, which is about attraction, it is probably the single biggest dynamic.

  • How do you think the skills required to be successful in media and marketing have changed, and what do the successful professionals of tomorrow look like versus those of yesterday?

So, I think at the moment it helps to be something of a polymath, there is almost too much we need to know. Our business is full of experts and needs to be full of specialist experts as the scope and scale of what we do broadens from content to technology, managing data, statistics modelling, all the way through to our digital services and, of course, we still have the age-old skills of being able to listen to clients.

  • Similarly, when you think about how the conversations you have with your clients are changing, what are the key things they are most concerned with and how do you drive best in class discussions with your client base? How do you see these discussions continuing to evolve in the future? 

Conversations for clients are always about value and value delivery. The nature of that value delivery changes and has changed significantly. The value we deliver is less about not paying too much for your media and more about the value return of building brands and the value return on growing a company’s revenue, not just in the short-term but in the longer term too. Historically, I think there has tended to be a focus on the short-term, what we used to call the short-term, versus the long-term. The short-term sales versus the longer term health and brand building. You can’t have an either or conversation anymore: it has to be ‘and’. You have to win in the today and you have to be winning for tomorrow as well. You have to do both at the same time and I think that is something that has become absolutely clear in the last few years.

I think the way we do that, and the way we are trying to do it more within OMD, is to productise what we do a little bit more by taking what we do and working out a way of how we systemise it, how we make sure we can deliver a more consistent problem-solving product with sharper insights, smarter ideas and stronger results for every client, every brief,  every time.  We are exploring platform-led ways of integrating our entire global team together to ensure standard ways of delivery and standard ways of quality controlling outputs from our teams. I think that it is quite new and different, and a much better way of problem-solving going forward.  

  • What are you most excited about for Cannes 2016? 

I think for me the thing I enjoy most is catching up with colleagues, friends and people you haven’t seen for a while. And of course, there are a lot of important client meetings, of course, there is a lot of partner meetings and there are some really great conversations that you can have here because it is one of the few times in the year that everyone is in the same place. It sounds like a very self-serving justification for everyone being here, but you can get an enormous amount done in a relatively short period of time because everyone is here.

Week Seven- From Mass McDonald’s to My McDonald’s

The need for change

For years McDonald’s had been communicating to their audience via broad mass media and it had worked perfectly. However, we were beginning to see a stagnating return on media investment and overall we identified the following challenges.

  • Market conditions and technology improvements have changed consumer behaviour and media consumption drastically. Running consecutive TV-spots throughout the year were no longer sufficient in order to attract and communicate with today’s customers. We had to focus on digital media.
  • McDonald’s had entered many new day-parts such as Breakfast and night open, plus they expanded into new product areas such as smoothies and frappés. But to be successful in these areas it required a different approach than the usual mass marketing.

In order to change this situation, we had to understand the consumers’ journey to purchase much better. This meant that we needed to change our entire way of thinking. We had to move away from targeting broad audiences based on age, sex and fast food consumption, and start focusing on behaviour and needs in order to become much more relevant and targeted. We needed to adapt our marketing to every single moment in our customers’ daily media usage and apply a ‘MyMcDonald’s’ approach instead of a ‘MassMcDoanld’s’ approach.

The segment study and enriching media insightsMcDonald’s Custom Audiences_The granular semantic profiles with more than 3.000 unique characteristics_Image 3

 A ‘MyMcDonald’s’ approach includes enhancing and supporting all of McDonald’s customers’ preferences and experiences, so McDonald’s became highly personal and relevant. As we only had broad customer insights an in-depth segmentation study of McDonald’s’ customers’ behaviour was conducted. This study brought new knowledge and allowed us to be even more targeted, but we wanted to take it to the next level. In order to make the identified five segments actionable and move from mass communication to one-to-one communication, we matched this information with media consumption data. We then set out to combine the segmented data with an agile digital approach in a way never seen before – transforming insights directly into digital personas (profiles) to be used in our digital programmatic planning and buying tools.

Getting personalMcDonald’s Custom Audiences_Transforming the segments into digital personas_Image 1

When serving a banner for a client who opted in, or via our data partnerships, our Data Management Platform (DMP) grabs two types of information: cookie ID of the device we served an ad on and the URL where the ad was served. Our DMP then crawls the URL, scanning it for unique keywords and phrases, identifying what makes this page unique. All findings are tied together into our world model – a semantic model displaying what the Danish population is consuming in terms of specific words and phrases from articles, blogs, commercial and non-commercial sites within the last 30 days. The findings are also tied to the specific users’ profile so each ad impression tells us something about that specific user and the Danish population as a whole.

We then take the insights from the McDonald’s segment study and use them to identify users belonging to a given segment. The Immortals, for instance, are tech oriented, so we identify users where tech terms and phrases are overrepresented compared to the world model. We also know that they are predominantly male singles. From our socio-demographic segments in the DMP we know how to identify these users as well as what makes them different from the rest of the population. The system looks at all the cookies that fulfill the constraints set forth – i.e. consuming tech, interested in gaming and other things that characterise the segment and identify what makes them unique as a segment, creating a positive sample of an Immortal.

We then compare the rest of the population to that positive sample and identify the users/cookies that correspond enough to the positive sample to be included in the segment, and through our DMP/DSP integrations we are now able to buy those segments programmatically.

 Enhancing the creative output

McDonald’s Custom Audiences_Tailoring the creative to the right segment at the right time at the right platform - No Waste_Image 4

Being able to target the desired target group in such a precise manner gives the creative agency the chance to create messages and product offerings with a better fit to that specific target group. The level of precision targeting means that the creative agency can create day parted messaging for each segment e.g. targeting Joe, the Immortal, creating a McMuffin message for morning hours, Cheeseburger for lunch time, McFlurry as the tempting afternoon snack and a Big Mac meal for dinner time. So in essence, our targeting technology enables us to fulfill the marketing dream of the right audience with the right message at the right time.

Data-driven results

McDonald’s Custom Audiences_Buying of digital activities towards the segments_Image 5 Our new approach has generated significant value to McDonald’s. Not only on a media ROI level but at a core business level as well, positively affecting sales and the ‘cost per guest count’:

  • The overall digital ROI has increased from 2.6 to 5.8 – performing better than TV!
  • Programmatic Buying has the lowest cost amongst all media groups for bringing a guest into the physical restaurants – and at an index 17 compared to traditional digital display buying – so more than five times better than traditional display advertising.
  • Through the use of data, the sales lift from Digital activities has tripled from 2013 to 2014 and digital is now generating close to 20% of the total media-driven sales.

Moreover, this approach and use of technology have become best practice globally within McDonald’s and is currently being implemented across markets.

Tipping Point or Breaking Point? The Car Industry in the Vortex of Change

Trendsetters and marketers are agog with the self-driving car. To the point that the legislative agenda in the US has been set to consider how to harmonize conflicting state laws at the federal level. The self-driving car was a hot topic at SXSW with Chirs Urmson, project director for Google’s self-driving car team, weighing in on the subject.

The car industry and its innovations around connectivity, autonomy and electricity also stole the show at CES this year. Car Manufacturers foresee, and promise, that self-driving cars will be mainstream within the next decade. Meanwhile, Google don’t seem ready to build their own car (preferring instead to invest in the technology behind autonomy and to explore industrial partnerships), despite the alleged readiness of the public to buy into a new brand not coming from the historic “car-makers club”.

Exhibit B Switching to a tech car (1)

At a consumer level, the car is still a prized possession, the reasons cover the full spectrum of demand and desire, rational and emotional. Buying a car is the second largest purchase for the majority of consumers after buying a house, and 20th-century society has been shaped by transport, cities and infrastructures and economies built around the car. But more conflicting forces are shaping the automotive industry and have car manufacturers concerned about what effect this will have on the next chapter of the industry.

Dwindling desire drivers?

A prized possession maybe, but we are seeing new dynamics emerging in the demand for car ownership, shifting from being a status symbol to a commodity. However this essential product is losing ground, but why? What consumers desire in a car is just beyond reach, indeed price is a key factor here, the faltering economy and gap between the rich and the poor seems unbridgeable and growing by the minute, in 2015 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people. Leasing has overtaken from buying as the new form of owning a car in France and accounts for 29% of car usage in the US. The pivotal reason being that people can have greater use of a car, on their own terms and for less money. So why own?

 From alternative options to cars, to cars as the last alternative to transport?

This loss of appeal does, however, go deeper than just money. The surge and success of car sharing apps, raising concerns about the effects of fossil fuels on global warming and public health, and fears of road safety are seeing both public authorities and private initiatives proposing sustainable upgrades and consumer-serving alternatives. Already we are seeing the surge of car sharing apps such as Uber, micro payment bikes and rental electric cars and rickshaws in European cities, that aren’t just for tourists.

Beyond Gen Y and Gen Z. As future buyers, are these generations lost to the car industry?

It seems the magic of the car is losing ground with new generations; a sure sign is the year on year decline in model car sales in the toys and games market. This is particularly noticeable in the mature markets of Western Europe and Australia where this dwindling desire is directly correlated to the household possession of a passenger car.Exhibit F 2 Model Vehicles A Barometer of Automotive Passion

However, a growing area where cars are frequently attracting the attention of Gen Y and Gen Z audiences are video games. Whilst this isn’t the same pattern of play or role of possession, car brands are looking for ways to include their brands and models into games and drive the magic of driving and motor sports, for instance, the recent Grand Turismo Vision initiative.

 Reality check: a wake-up call

Will these efforts be enough now that technology companies and, to an extent, OEMs themselves, are claiming that the line between science fiction solutions for a better world and current reality is blurring rapidly? Considering how Chinese children now perceive their highly polluted surroundings.

Exhibit H How Chinese kids see their home from CCTV-Polluted-Drawing

Expectations for radical solutions to the passenger car are much higher than mere possession – so much so that the most striking feature of visions for major urban developments is that they don’t allow for the passenger car as we know it. Closing the loop, can we assume that the autonomous car will be on our streets in the next few years? Will it appeal to the masses in a way that allows a smooth transition for the car industry so that it can protect its position as a valued brand, employer and economic force?

Autonomous conveys freedom when driverless means a vacuum

 Naming showcases what sparks desire. Autonomous or driverless – these terms do not convey the same desires or semantics. Will the realities and propositions the industry wants to convey have the potential to reinvent new desire triggers? Safer, greener but still fun to drive? There is currently a huge disconnect between the real driving experience (traffic, urban landscapes) and how it is advertised (beautiful scenery and empty roads) – a key consideration in a world where the importance of experience is surpassing that of possession. These new desire drivers are already taking shape around connectivity and in-car entertainment – for example, there is an increasing tendency to advertise a car as an extension to your smartphone; cars are becoming a type of app. Taking it further, this means that time wasted in traffic will become time gained for me/us.

Exhibit K

Doing vs. having; experience vs. possession

The car is fast becoming the new living room/control centre/entertainment pod – indeed, the car industry is at breaking point, between epitomising self-transportation and owning mobility. This opens up an all-new approach to the journey – when the journey is as much a destination as the destination itself. When the journey is the end product that we need to sell, the ‘how’ becomes richer and we can easily excite the imagination of the future car-owner. Similar to how entertainment has taken over the media-information industry, entertainment may well profoundly reshape the car industry and marketers’ propositions.

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