VMLY&R’s leadership discusses with Communicate the importance of tapping into the true potential of commerce. The ongoing commercial revolution is reshaping the global commerce landscape at an unprecedented pace. Beth-Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO, and Hemal Soni, Regional Head for Consumer Communications and Commerce Marketing at VMLY&R Commerce, embark on a profound journey into the critical essence of curating seamless connected experiences within both physical and digital realms.
Often these days, we find ourselves lost in a jumble of alphabet soup, decoding the ever-growing list of commerce types – s-commerce, g-commerce, e-commerce, and the whole kitchen sink of commerce acronyms. And just when we thought our marketing dictionaries were getting a breather, enter the enigma of balancing acts! It’s funny how we as marketers, advertisers, and creatives are always running up this hill that keeps presenting a new obstacle, just when we feel like we’re almost there.
VMLY&R’s creative commerce approach has somewhat solved the equation. Thinking outside the marketing funnel and not limiting themselves to coloring within the traditional lines of building a consumer experience – Beth-Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO, and Hemal Soni, Regional Head for Consumer Communications and Commerce Marketing at VMLY&R Commerce tell Communicate how it’s imperative for brands and professionals alike to derive creativity out of transaction.
In image above: Beth-Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO, and Hemal Soni, Regional Head for Consumer Communications and Commerce Marketing at VMLY&R Commerce
Make the most of (your consumer’s) every moment
VMLY&R's avant-garde methodology fusing creativity with technology has been reflected best in the agency’s recent work – Their 'Connected brands' proposition represents a marriage of these essential skills, while their innovative 'creative commerce' approach pioneers the art of infusing transactional moments with creative prowess.
According to Kaminkow, it's crucial for brands to bridge the gap between inspiration and transaction. "We avoid constraining ourselves to what we term 'Funnel Vision,' a phrase coined within our team to describe the narrow focus on the purchasing journey. Today, this journey is collapsing, and instead, we must connect with consumers wherever they are, seizing the opportunities to drive conversions. Any touchpoint can potentially become a conversion point, given the deluge of media we encounter. Our aim should be to maximize every interaction we have with consumers."
She attributes this shift to the emergence of disruptive forces in our lives. "These disruptors are pointing us toward a future where commerce permeates our existence. We're increasingly interconnected and intertwined with multiple pathways to purchase. The distinctions have blurred, driven in part by the demand for convenience. Hence, immersive experiences enhance people's well-being and quality of life by facilitating purchases. What we're witnessing is nothing short of a commerce revolution," Kaminkow emphasized.
Soni further explains how the Middle East has rapidly evolved into a realm of convenience. "In this region, everyone seeks swift solutions, and consumers are willing to pay for them. In a saturated market, the challenge lies in how brands and marketers can distinguish themselves by disrupting at the right moment. The key is to disrupt without annoying consumers, but rather to assist in creating a frictionless experience."
Relevance is key
At the core of the creative commerce approach lies consumer insight. Kamnikow delves into the reality of how often, brands hesitate to tap into these genuine insights at precisely the right moment. “Insights allow for unique expressions and targeted approaches, aligning moments with brand relevance. Sometimes, brands rely on stereotypes and perceptions. However, now, armed with data, we can delve deeper into the human psyche and approach insights on a more personal level. This opens up remarkable opportunities, offering brands a compelling edge,” she explains.
The advertising landscape in the region has undergone a monumental transformation, largely propelled by the Saudi renaissance. What was once dominated by traditional methods and approaches, the Kingdom now enthusiastically embraces digitalization. Expanding on this, Soni added, “The spotlight shines on the Kingdom, thanks to its future generation. Saudi Arabia's new generation, unlike any other worldwide, takes immense pride in its history and actively participates in shaping the country's future. They're evolving alongside the rest of the world and bear the responsibility of dismantling cultural stigmas. Therefore, putting human behavior and values above really helps us tailor our service offerings both globally and regionally.”
Educate your clients
Kaminkow likes to think of the agency and client relationship as that of co-creators. “What’s increasingly apparent is our role in educating clients,” she explains. “I cherish the idea that we're not only delivering services but also nurturing capabilities within our clients' organizations.”
"It serves no one if we fail to engage in co-creation, leaving our clients without increased knowledge. When clients partner with us, it's imperative that we empower them with an understanding of emerging domains such as artificial intelligence. We guide them in crafting strategies tailored to their unique business needs. This commitment extends beyond the confines of VMLY&R's walls. For us, it's about ensuring our clients possess the tools to make informed decisions. We aid them in identifying where in their growth journey they should experiment and incorporate newer technologies. Ultimately, our goal is to equip them with the capability to distinguish what aligns with their business and what does not," concludes Kaminkow.