NABS Fast Forward 2016 Week 5: Engagement with Verica Djurdjevic - NABS
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NABS Fast Forward 2016 Week 5: Engagement with Verica Djurdjevic

Words by James Stevens, Strategy Director, WCRS and Team Christiansen Mentor

Week five aka “two weeks ’til pitch day” (eek!) kicked off with yet another outstanding talk from PHD’s Verica Djurdjevic.

Briefed to riff about ‘Engagement’, Verica instead spoke about how the role of media is all about driving connections.

Why connection rather than engagement?

Well, no-one can agree what ‘engagement’ means: there’s no universal view of what a view is (sorry).

And frankly there’s too much perceived ‘engagement’ with audiences where none exists, whereas there’s a clear and tangible purpose with ‘driving connections’ between brand and consumer.

Verica’s talk was a breath of fresh air in terms of insight and inspiration – demonstrating how, when at its best, modern media/comms planning is both piercingly insightful and beautifully simple.

Many, many industry folk bemoan how straightforward life used to be before the internet: with four TV channels and no catch up services, eyeballs were easy to find.

Whereas today’s media landscape is complex, and ever-changing at an incredibly fast pace.

But whilst difficult, what this seismic shift has created is the opportunity for modern media and communications planning to be at a whole different level – creating intelligent, mutually beneficial opportunities for brands and people to connect in ways that didn’t exist before.

And we were lucky enough to have Verica share some excellent examples from brands like Macmillan Cancer Support, Sainsbury’s and Expedia doing just that.

All the examples had two shared traits.

First, they understood and had got in sync with the ‘rhythm’ of their audiences’ lives.

We have more and more behavioural data than ever before and that enables us to better understand how a target audience actually behaves on a day to day basis.

Great planning uses all of these data sources to paint richer, more insightful pictures of a target audience.

And secondly, every idea had brilliant simplicity at its core.

It’s easy to be drawn into complex solutions when facing a complex media landscape, yet the very best ideas remain as refreshingly simple as they have ever been.

So my overarching take-out from a quite masterful session?

Great media planning is better than it’s ever been.

Thank you Verica!

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