VMLY&R’s global leadership breaks down the ‘creative commerce’ approach and other significant factors that marketers need to pay attention to in an era of converging data and technology advancements.
Is it true to state that our industry is going through a disruptive renaissance, where marketers are quickly recognizing technology, digital marketing, and UX advances as the key facilitators of evolving consumer behavior? Global brand and customer experience agency, VMLY&R proves that it indeed is.
Creative Commerce is a concept that looks at the long-running performance of a campaign and not just the interim. Andrew Dimitriou, CEO of VMLY&R across EMEA, and Beth Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO at VMLY&R Commerce, sat down with Communicate to further explain the concept and how the global agency is putting it to action internationally and locally.
Blending creativity with commerce
The most effective campaigns in this time are the ones that strike the right chord between building an emotional and a digitally friendly experience for the consumer. “I think the greatest thing that we're discovering is, it's not just about the transaction, but how the consumer is now engaging with the brand and its channels. They're looking for so much more from the brand in terms of emotional experience in terms of authentic expression and engagement. At VLMY&R Commerce, we want to be at the forefront of not just knowing how to mechanically and functionally understand the utility of getting people to convert, but tying that to the process of creating and putting creativity in those channels that were typically absent of a real creative and engaging expression,” says Kaminkow.
According to Psychology Today, “functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences), rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).” These statistics form the core of VMLY&R’s purpose of blending creative with commerce. “With commerce dominantly surrounding us today, we decided to put commerce at the very heart of our brand and customer experience and came up with 2.0 version of our Living Commerce approach – Connected Commerce. It is based on the understanding that brands need to communicate with their consumer based on humanistic and true living ways that are relevant and relatable to their lives,” adds Kaminkow.
"Helping brands curate immersive experiences is our mission, we're on a mission to help them build the most connected brands in the world. If you aren't able to achieve that vision, that means you need to create a brand experience it should be based on wherever the consumers are, whenever they want to be engaged, how they want to be engaged. In today's world, by default that is by an omnichannel approach. And if you're not thinking omnichannel from the beginning, then you've kind of missed a beat,” explains Dimitriou.
Kaminkow further explains how nothing is static anymore, “Billboards now have QR codes that lead the customers into a fresh VR experience. So, with this blending of online with offline, we try to integrate solutions that follow natural human behaviors and ultimately build a seamless experience for the brand.”
With an omnichannel direction, VMLY&R looks at exploring different horizons based on the evaluation of the consumer’s need and the challenge that it brings along with it.
In this campaign for RTA, VMLY&R Commerce recognized cab drivers with the ultimate tool to know exactly who was driving their cab. The taxi lightboxes were replaced with the driver's name. The RTA was able to reach a wider online audience growing in humanity and respect for frontline and essential workers.
Localization is still the key to successful marketing
With the rapid emergence of technology in the form of immersive and innovative experiences, tracking a customer journey’s is no longer a straightforward process. “While the core mission of building connected brands, doing it through brand experience, customer experience, and commerce has not changed, and is consistent globally, I think the one thing that we do well as a network is we have certain centers of excellence where locally we can extract the goodness of the area. For example, we have a technology center of excellence in Krakow where we’ve deployed around 400 people. All of the technicalities of building digital experiences can be worked on there and deployed across the other areas. We have large consulting engagements based in the UK, but we can tap them in and bring them into the market we’re working for and really augment the capability that exists here, “ explains Dimitriou.
A campaign curated by VMLY&R for Twitter allowed brands to talk with their users by integrating feminine Arabic into the experience, making Twitter the first social platform to create genuine inclusivity. It made brands rethink engagement strategies and led to commercial success.
Through its connected commerce platform, the global creative commerce agency is also implementing the In Living Colour program, which celebrates diversity by gathering insights that go beyond understanding how a consumer feels. “We look at insights in an exclusive versus inclusive methodology, where we truly analyze consumers' behaviors in a place like Dubai which has so many nationalities blending together. The database really allows for us to kind of push the borders and strategize in a very collective and inclusive light,” adds Kaminkow.