When American Express CMO John Hayes entered advertising 37 years ago, media plans were simple, he says: TV, print, radio. Today, TV ads carry calls to tweet and technology keeps accelerating. How to survive as a marketer? Stay with the fundamentals, especially the ability to interpret change.
Advertising is ”about the creation of demand and desire to ignite growth,” Hayes told the audience, fundamentals with two common denominators to drive growth: creativity and interpretation.
Agencies, he said, often overlook the importance of interpretation focusing instead on creativity. So for his address, he focused on examples of how changes to driving habits and the American family could be interpreted by agencies to anticipate how to lead their clients into the future.
That also means not getting lost in data or the technology itself but looking where change is heading.
“Too often we tend to think of change in a very singular mindset, technology,” he said. “But technology is not the real issues, not the root cause. It’s an effect, for sure… [but] the real driver of societal change is society itself, not your smartphone.”
“I love it when one of my agency partners tells me I’m wrong…. it tells me they’re thinking about our business.”
Below is a live blog of his talk.