What an amazing start to the year, named as an F:Entreprenuer100 2020 .....

I'm absolutely thrilled to be named as an f:Entrepreneur100 UK for 2020, so I thought what an opportune moment to share the story that led me to build my business, and maybe inspire you on your  journey.... 

My career in media/advertising and communications started many years ago in national press, through accidental curiosity after watching a TV drama set at the Observer Newspaper. After 15 years in various national titles & digital, I joined the Out of Home sector and flourished.

I joined Viacom, (since then evolved into CBS Outdoor, Exterion Media, & now part of Global Outdoor) on the sales side, but soon created a role for myself as a hybrid between sales and our franchise partners. As a result I led sales teams across Transport for London, Unibail-Rodamco Westfield and National Rail, responsible for key franchise partner relationships, as well as developing the creative solution division, challenging creative thinking and working with clients to deliver bespoke executions.

Having built great connections with our partners, I became involved in the tender process to secure new contracts and expanding our existing remit. As the sectors' digital transformation took hold, I was involved in the digitalising for TfL and both U-R Westfield White City and Strafford City, whilst still leading the commercial operations.

In 2009/10 we started to prepare for London 2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games. I was delighted to be asked to head CBS Outdoor’s London 2012 Strategy and lead the Out of Home sector through the Olympic/Paralympic advertising process, working with Worldwide sponsors, IOC, LOCOG and the UK Advertising industry.

As a result, I met Samsung, a worldwide Olympic/Paralympic sponsor, who invited me to join them to lead their UK OOH investment, at the time the UK’s largest investor, as well overseeing European placements and executing special projects through to Seoul.

Within the Samsung family, I created Cheil Media, a specialist media planning and buying agency, immersed in the creative process. Over 3.5 years, we delivered 10 true media firsts, including the first near real-time dynamic campaign, renaming Heathrow T5 for the launch of the Galaxy S5, through to delivering the largest freestanding digital screen at Marble Arch. All validating the benefits achieved when media planning and creative work hand in hand.

However, following the difficulties Samsung suffered from a new device catching fire in 2015, they undertook a global consolidation across all disciplines, with media/advertising transferring to their globally appointed agency.

After some time, I decided if not now, when, so I launched Diversiffi Media, a strategic commercial partnerships agency, bringing together my 360° perspective on the complete marketing process. In essence, we own our client’s business challenges in driving revenues, creating dynamic partnerships for the long term, and/or monetising assets, collaborating with a collective of experts across multiple disciplines, when needed.

Our clients include Samsung UK/Europe, Unibail-Rodamco Westfield, Aviva Investors, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, HSBC, London Legacy Development Corp, FatTail USA, Gulf Meteor Dubai.

 I recognised that for many clients the potential for great business partnerships, monetising assets, and creating new revenue streams is a frequent discussion which rarely leaves the board room. Creating partnerships, which work for all stakeholders, is a long-term strategy that takes time, often months to deliver, and needs constant development. It means diverting resources, creating new relationships, exploring shared values, plus it takes real tenacity, as there are many obstacles and barriers to overcome.

This is not the expertise of many companies, but it is mine. I recognised that throughout my career I’ve been doing this all along, developing projects, navigating new ways and bringing ideas to fruition. Actioning that potential is my strength, I love doing it, I’m good at it, there’s nothing better than seeing an agreement come together.

I also run Digital Out of Home creative workshops. When creating Cheil Media, the central proposition was to immerse media planning and creative, our planning/buying teams were wrapped in creative thinking. With a passion for optimising the creative canvas on Out of Home, digital brings new opportunities.

If you too are toying with the idea, take the leap and good luck. I'd love to hear your story...

Dracula - the magic of OOH

The BBC OOH creative for Dracula, using with the elements is just brilliant.

I can only imagine the efforts, persistence and determination that went into creating such a unique execution. The multiple testing to find the right location, the angle of the light source to bring the image to life in shadows, the placement of each stake, all capturing everything we conjure up when we think of Dracula.  Movement in the shadows, bringing back life at dusk, stakes through the heart.

And whilst the majority celebrated such great creativity, I've read/hear a few within the content sector seem to be a bit miffed. I think we all recognise such an execution cannot be delivered at scale and was created to be shared, and brilliantly shared it has been.

When it comes to creativity, content in itself, embracing all/relevant platforms rather than one over another, and collaborating to amplifies messaging means everyone wins, especially our clients…

Tokyo 2020 Olympic/Paralympic Games, the opportunities for all brands

In 12 months to this very day, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is over and the teams will be getting ready for the closing ceremony, thereafter final preparations for the opening ceremony of the Paralympics, 16 days later, will be locked in.

The Olympic/Paralympic Games creates global excitement, with each country getting behind their teams with unprecedented passion and devotion, captivated by athletics who have dedicated their lives to that one moment.

55 different sports make up Games, from individual events to team sports, motivating the masses to get involved. As we know, there is always an uplift in sport take up around the Games, whether more cycling, more running, more tennis.... the list is endless. For some, this is a short term enjoyment but for many, this becomes a lifetime passion and one that brands should capitalise on.

Tokyo 2020 Worldwide sponsors are in the midst of putting the final touches on their Olympic/Paralympic marketing ambitions. However, all brands can leverage the Games euphoria, creating lifetime loyalty’s and be forever associated with great experiences, when executed in the right, most authentic and meaningful way.
Creating a partnership that compliments, shares values, goals, and investment for the longer term, can be an extremely advantageous approach.

Structuring an agreement, whether, for example, brand to brand or brand to platform/channel takes time, resource and persistence, but certainly worth the return when done well, delivering brand ubiquity to a relevant, engaged audience.

All collaborations need to start with the customer experience and value delivery at its heart and shaped from there, utilising brand assets with the opportunity to build something unique.

Fully integrated brand partnerships should never be overlooked as the rewards are worth the effort, and lifetime customers are the greatest asset you can have.....

Collaboration between Creative and Media

I was fortunate to attend the JCDecaux UpFront session a couple of weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since. It was a fantastic morning, with a brilliant schedule of speakers, including Sir John Hegarty and Justin Gibbon, plus guest video appearances from Mark Ritson and Les Binet, all kept on their toes by Morag Blazey

Sir John Hegarty always inspires me, if anything, in saying what you really think. He seems to see the media and marketing world fairly black & white, and he has the ability to cut through all the fluffy language & the self-imposed, self-importance that is often perpetuated in a room of industry professionals.

What resonated with me most, and rather frustratingly, is that the huge gap between media and creative still remains, and doesn’t appear to be coming together any time soon. Common sense tells us that working together, can create compelling, impactful, memorable campaigns. And the reverse is also true, creating a memorable campaign for all the wrong reasons when scheduled in the wrong place, as the image above demonstrates.

A key mantra for the many that enter the industry is “the right audience, with the right message, at the right time, in the right place.  Which in itself, means creative and media working together to accomplish these basic principles. The lack of communication/collaboration between the creative dept. & the media dept. has become self-perpetuating.

I have never understood why the two aren’t working side by side to amplify their client’s message, sharing in the common goal. Closing that gap between DOOH creative and media placement is a personal passion of mine and in theory, should be so easily achieved and one where everyone wins. The resistance in some instances is territorial, but more than anything it’s habit, nothing more than “we’ve always done it this way.”

Sadly, the issues often originate from clients, they can be their own worst enemy, defeating themselves before the off. If clients brief everyone together they will always be the biggest winners, they may have to referee collaboration in the earlier days as things settle, but if they persevere they will see the benefits, those that don’t adapt will fall by the wayside.

One of the driving factors when I created Cheil Media, was to both physically and strategically immerse media into the creative process. We sat the media planning/buying in the middle of the creative floor so in an instant they were able to bounce ideas and concepts, overhear issues or concerns both ways, exchanged inspirations before they were lost to distraction, involving all teams before putting any crosses on a plan.

There was a bit of back to basics. We dressed a wall with images, taken a from a consumer perspective, of all main D/OOH inventory so they became familiar with sites and how they are consumed. We had monthly briefings, sharing information on new D/OOH capabilities, along with the how, why, when & should, they could be integrated into campaigns.

We introduced creative teams to technologists, developers and media owners so conversation and ideas flowed easily, and not lost in the search of who to speak to if we weren’t on hand.

As a result, we delivered 10 media first in 3.5 years for Samsung UK/Global. I’m not saying it always ran smoothly, but the intention was there to optimise creative assets even on the most straightforward of broadcast buys, through to the more exciting product launches and spectaculars that gained global recognition.

Universally, much of D/OOH creative work is developed and crafted on a desktop screen in a windowless office with no perception of where and how the final ad is going to be seen.  No concept of visual lead-in, angle of audience consumption, messaging relevance to the consumer, nor the environment, for example, a mall 6 sheet is consumed very differently to a 6 sheet on Bank Station’s platform, a bus shelter or a bus side drop T. Dwell time is different, orientation is different, mindset is different, elevation is different, yet the creative displayed is the very often exactly the same, and worst still it may be the same as that seen in the morning newspaper or monthly magazine.

Digital is our norm, but it still has its problems. We have seen some shocking and inappropriate advertising placements next to news reports online which are a result of programmatic buying, an automated/auction ad buying system. For example, diets products next to reports on the devastating day to day of those living with famine, although this is the extreme it is not uncommon.

DOOH cuts through all of these issues, with no fear of content issues. With the influx of DOOH deployment, advertising messaging can move as audiences move throughout the day, messaging relevance can engage at different times – on the commute, socialising, changing with the weather/traffic/location. GPS on transport can connect to digital screens placed around the city and/or on transport networks/bus shelters & so on. Tapping into a receptive mindset with contextual and relevant creative in the right environment has much deeper brand effectiveness and greater potential to purchase.

We know movement is engaging, full motion DOOH is 2.5 times* more impactful than its equivalent static site, delivering a powerful emotional experience with heightened brand impacts contributing to brand effectiveness. However, many global markets have clear guidelines as to what can appear where, with restrictions on video/movement on roadside to avoid driver distraction, therefore smart buying with contextualised creative should be baked into campaign scheduling.

Key to all of these is the flow of information, creative teams can’t challenge the norm unless they are made aware of channel capabilities, are involved from the start and are briefed alongside media. Media can’t plan and buy the best unless they understand if there are mandatory assets to be used, the creative direction and ambitions.

A very simple change to internal structure and process will optimise both creative strategy and media budgets. A win-win for all, especially the client.

For more information on Diversiffi Media’s workshops, Closing the gap on Media and Creative, please contact me at fiona.fitzgibbon@diversiffi.co.uk

*Brand Science; https://oceanoutdoor.com/neuroscience/

Closing the gap between creative & media planning on DOOH

The investment in Digital Out of Home has brought new energy, vigour & creative expression to our high streets, malls & transport hubs. Yet the gap between creative executions, media planning & media owners is widening rather than narrowing.

It has become more evident as I travel through creative agencies & media owners, and was reinforced at LDSW/ DailyDooh BAFTA event, that many are facing similar frustrations at the disconnect & struggle to understand how to navigate all the stakeholders involved.

Having a career that spans as a media owner, with a global client & creating a media agency immersed in the creative process, I feel justified in having a view as to where those disconnects often lie. With the dynamic team at Cheil Media, we delivered 10 media 1sts, including 2 World 1sts, by immersing media planning into the creative process, & bringing creative into the conversation early. I still recall the amazing executions that sadly didn't make the cut, but may still the light of day.

The capabilities in creative for DOOH, are well known i.e, immediacy, flexibility, environment relevancy, audience relevancy, day part, video content distribution where allowed, etc. with automation & programmatic gathering pace.

However, the barriers in utilising all these possibilities usually originate in company processes and structures, with little knowledge shared with those at the drawing board, to enable a collaborative approach in using DOOH to its fullest capability to generate deeper audience engagement.

I appreciate many are making great steps in joining the dots, but delivering creative relevance at scale is not the norm & is still a long way off.

In the early days, DOOH interactive executions were designed as one-offs, creating content for further distribution on other platforms, & not in celebration of DOOH in its own right. Grand Visual was the king in facilitating these unique executions such as Pepsi Max, but were frequently hindered by escalating costs for scaling up, along with media owners caution & long lead times.

We then moved to dynamic, which was a fabulous step in broadcasting near real-time content, but even today it not seen as standard, as it should be.

The disconnect between creative & its final location starts early, with media often being briefed ahead of creative with little connection to planning teams, crushing any joined-up thinking or sharing of ideas, locations, network capabilities & the canvases DOOH can offer.

As a result, creative teams are often left with very minimal time to develop fresh ideas when presented with a bought media schedule in which they have no context. Being presented with a plan that needs assets delivered in 48 hours, means the creative juices are dampened into a pure production turnaround.

Undoubtedly creative teams love D/OOH, and there is an appetite to explore innovative possibilities, but few are entirely aware of the network capabilities and how different channels can ‘talk' to each other. Without detailed knowledge, they can't be expected to realise how far they can push their ideas and work with media owners to deliver.

Another obstacle in the mix is that many, not all, media owner sales teams don't have a grasp on what their own networks can do, or how those networks either compare or compliment other networks.

The beauty of DOOH is its potential for immediacy & therefore reactionary, to turn on relevancy by location, to move screens with the movement of audiences throughout the day, context through the day itself, the environment the screens are situated in, as well as news, weather, traffic & other external elements

This disconnect between clients, media planning, account planning and creatives can be a navigational disaster for those trying to optimise creative capabilities & break new ground.

Add in the plethora of data we now have access to, which shouldn't tighten or constrict reach, but embrace DOOH flexibilities values as a broadcast media. By merging data from Route, mobile, behaviour sources etc. gives a better understanding of the behaviour of those moving through our towns & cities. As a result, clients should be presented with executions that achieve audience relevancy, contextualisation, fun, entertainment & are memorable.

You need an experienced account team who can bring all parties together to drive the client cores messaging to its maximum, accompanied by fixated planners & creative teams, plus much more visibility & activity from media owners in the creative space. Again, there is ground being made here, but the detachment of DOOH investment & creative exploitation are a taxis ride apart...

You will always need a curious, open-minded client who looks at audience engagement first but the rewards in joining forces, briefing early & sharing ideas pre-media planning means everybody wins.