Besides Covid, there’s a new trade-off between privacy and personalisation: trust. It's serious.
The past year fractured the experiences of Brent Scrimshaw’s global teams and how they managed Covid into distinct groups. But outside of Covid’s immediate challenges to people and wellbeing, there’s privacy, personalisation and trust. It can’t be reduced to a scoresheet of metrics, he says.
There is no "playbook" anymore and Covid has provided the opportunity to demonstrate to ourselves that nothing is impossible with some creative intelligence and good old hard work. Why stop now?
There is no ‘one’ Covid reality
There is no doubt Australia is the Covid lucky country and while we have emerged relatively unscathed to date, it’s important that we have empathy for what others have gone through in our offices around the world. What we’ve experienced in Australia is vastly different to our colleagues in the UK, US and Europe have experienced. For example, our largest global agency Hotwire has felt the effects of Covid much more intensely than any of our businesses here in Australia.
The Hotwire team has been fully remote for over 12 months now and many of our employees have unfortunately experienced challenging health experiences with Covid personally through extreme illness or the loss of friends and family. Many of our employees are young and live alone and unknowingly relied on the office as a place to interact and engage with teammates as part of their professional and personal lives. The loneliness many have experienced through multiple lockdowns has been a significant and completely different experience to many of us based here in Australia.
Many of our global employees are young and live alone and unknowingly relied on the office as a place to interact as part of their professional and personal lives. The loneliness many have experienced through multiple lockdowns has been a significant and completely different experience to many of us based here in Australia.
The old old is the new new
Relationships are still at the heart of our life and our industry, yet of course how we engage in relationships (personal or professional) has changed forever.
I’m lucky enough to be leading a business of over 600 people in 14 offices around the world, yet over my time in the role thus far, I haven’t having actually met anyone outside of Australia in person - and our businesses outside of Australia account for at least 55% of our revenue! So how we choose to show up and be present is critical.
The tone of your email, the nuance in a Zoom meeting, the new-found art of building a deeper personal connection entirely through technology…it’s about honing old skills, in an entirely new way!
Change accelerates opportunity
As uncomfortable as change may be for many, I am a believer that rapid change actually makes us better. Having led businesses around the world through the GFC in 2009 or now through the global pandemic, when you are faced with situations that limit or radically shift the traditional approach to business, I am continually energised by how creative, adaptable and resilient we all really are…when we need to be.
Of course, I am ever the optimist, but Covid enabled us to break out of our daily routines and challenged us all to see old routines or even problems in an entirely new way, that we simply would not have done before. For example, maybe I don’t need to be in the office five days a week? My commute was actually a good thing! I actually miss the 'me' time of my commute (e.g. reading, listening to music/podcasts). I miss the energy and collaboration from casual conversations with my teammates.
On data, cookies tech - a rediscovery of trust
It's simple. In a post-cookie world where first party data, SEO and CRM 'rule', the value exchange between brand and your personal data is critical. Business critical. Brand critical. What we have is a trade-off between privacy and personalisation. And in that ‘trade’, the absolute fundamentals apply – customers are more willing to share data with brands they love and trust. In essence, earning trust is more vital than ever before...and in a rapidly changing environment, the brands that are truly 'connected' are not just connected digitally through a 'scoresheet of metrics', but most importantly the brands that win in the long term enable a deep consumer relationship based on emotional connection and trust…both in their promise and in the delivery of that promise, that experience.
There is no 'new normal'
Our business is about connecting brands to their customers in unique and distinctive ways, and the competition for attention has never been fiercer.
Layer on top of that the fact that almost every business around the world has experienced some fundamental and significant change over the last 12 months, and therefore how we think about marketing has fundamentally changed as well. There is no going back.
There is no “playbook” anymore and Covid has provided the opportunity to demonstrate to ourselves that nothing is impossible with some creative intelligence and good old hard work. Over the last 12 months we have all delivered many brave, courageous and sometimes downright impossible outcomes for our clients and ourselves that prior to the pandemic would have been unthinkable.
Why stop now?
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