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Make the flamingo bigger

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Barney Worfolk Smith the MD of DAIVID caught up with White Camino’s founder Melissa Fretwell to chat all things creative effectiveness and why this matters whether you have Barbie budgets or just Ken quids. We reckon that creativity is the biggest lever a marketer can pull, so let’s dedicate some energy to measuring it. It’s been 10 years since Les Binet and Peter Fields blew up adland up with The Long and The Short of It. And in case you’re wondering, the optimum budget ratio was 60:40 between brand building and activation, in Effectiveness in Context it was 62:38. So how can you wise marketing peeps, out manoeuvre a growing trend for short-termism? What can you take to your board and the bean counters to persuade them to see the bigger, longer term picture?

DAIVID is a creative effectiveness platform. In simple terms we’re training an AI in attention, emotions and creative attributes data creative attributes being the visual and aural stuff that happens in an advert) so we can explain why ads work or not.

Also, the name of our flamboyant logo, Dave the flamingo 🦩.

How do people use DAIVID?

Creative effectiveness is the new and exciting kid on the block. Quite rightly, as most insight folks are in agreement that about half of the final effect on sales comes from the creative. But it’s been seen as a bit complicated, until now! So our clients want us for all sorts of things. The bottom line is that if you’re forward thinking then this saves cold hard cash in the short terms and derisks strategic decisions in the long.

Practically speaking though, we have 3 products in the classic sense and our BRAND STRATEGY offering covers the bespoke studies we design when people have a ‘big hairy question’!

AUDIENCE is actually a media planning tool. So, rather than changing the creative we use DAIVID to identify an emotional and attention bullseye target for creative. In our partnership with EssenceMediacom we did an early side by side test which drove a monster 46% improvement in performance.

EVALUATE is the creative testing tool. We methodology stack: facial coding, eye tracking, survey and use AI to identify creative attributes and match them to human responses. So it’s the deepest available on the market. In a recent Singtel case study we were hugely proud of the 11x improvement in sales after our recommendations had been implemented.

Sure we do pre testing but in the real world, we’re finding there are huge swathes of digital assets which are not properly interrogated so as a result we’re doing a lot of iterative reporting on large numbers of content, affordably.

This has also led us to launch REACT - Real time, Emotional and Attention Creative Testing. Our clients want to build their own dashboards, models and reporting so via API, REACT is an immediate predictive feed of what emotions content elicited and what attributes drove them. Onboarding beta partners this month!

BRAND STRATEGY as we said is for complicated questions about audiences, competitors, sectors etc. We love a bit of bespoke study design.

You talk about emotions a lot. Why do they matter?

We’re very emotional! Back in 2012, the CEO and I started on the same day at a company called Unruly, linking emotions to why people shared viral videos. We found correlations not just to sharing but all brand outcomes. DAIVID is the ultimate evolution of that work.

We lean on academia and have our thinning under constant review to make sure it’s up to date. In simple terms though, for a piece of creative to be effective it needs to first get our attention. Once it has our attention that’s just the first step though. After that, it needs to drive some strong positive emotions. It is then that a memory will be formed. It is that memory that drives a brand action - either straightaway or later.

We can’t remember everything in a day so our caveperson brains remember the good and the bad. As a rule brands want to evoke positive emotions so the goal is to make people feel something and get on their mental highlight reel for the day.

The ‘feels make the deals’, as I like to say, but everybody else I work with hates.

I also see on Linkedin you hashtag everything with #WeBringTheWhy What does that mean?

It came straight from our clients, actually. In the early days we would hear it over and over again. Senior marketers telling us that the data and insight they had at their disposal told them what had happened but they still didn’t know why.

Like the new version of ‘50% of my marketing is working, I just don’t know which 50%’. By using AI to do the complex business of linking human response to the specific things that happen in content we can point with incredible detail to ‘why’.

I get the way that you can save money with testing and targeting but what is an example of a ‘hairy question’ where you de-risked brand strategy?

They can be all sorts of questions. We’ve done meta analyses for a large US entertainment brand, a major social network, a Singaporean telco and more. A nice example though might be to talk about Shiseido. Their ‘hairy problem’ was how, as a heritage brand, to turn up on TikTok when so many born digital brands were so comfortable there.

We defined a set of ‘winning’ competitors then took all 10 brands' content for the last few months, and ran it through EVALUATE. This was cool and as EVALUATE always does, revealed lots of immediately usable insight. But then we plotted it on an EMOTIONAL POSITIONING MAP. The upshot was that we could take a helicopter view of the whole market and brand guidelines taken into account, offer clear strategic advice on how to differentiate.

Looking and feeling different is a key facet of effectiveness. We remember things that look different to the wallpaper in a sector. So we defined the emotions which Shiseido could play in and helped with how to translate this into briefing. So far, purchase intent has increased by 87% from their previous content so it’s de risked a risky creative decision. Impressive stats there Barney.

What intrigued us at White Camino is how to leverage DAIVID’s learning and pour them into your brand strategy. Here’s a thought; what if you were reinventing your footwear brand and you wanted to test out your Post Malone collab with Crocs idea? For those who missed this, incredibly teenagers are actually wearing this footwear with great enthusiasm, not for comfort but for kicks. And partly down to this first artist collab. It was risky and probably expensive, so imagine a world where you could lean into DAIVID.

Can you take the guess work out of selecting celebs?

Testing the emotional response to celebrities or types of celebrities is completely doable. But that’s just one example. The type of thing you’re talking about there is expected of progressive brands. But they can be nerve wracking for brands and eye wateringly wasteful if they’re a flop. Right now we’re answering questions like: How do Americans feel about gin? As a bank, do we underestimate how youthful and vibrant our high net worth customers are? Do people feel the same way about EV adverts as they do about petrol vehicle adverts? Ultimately we always ask people if they have a big question in meetings. You’d be amazed what we get asked.

One of the things we at White Camino get asked about a lot, when we’re delivering rebrands is; what’s in a name? Should we stick with what we have or dream up something which better expresses our why? Attachment to existing brand names is usually complex and committing to the new brings the night terrors.

Can DAIVID help with naming new brands?

You bet. The brand is so powerful in final outcomes. I was just reading today in fact, about recognisable brands performance marketing working harder buck for buck.

Yes, we’ve done brand work and it’d fall within our bespoke studies. It could be side by side testing or a helicopter view of the competitive market to reveal attitudes to current players. The exact study, of course would be down to the players and the market. We love these sorts of projects as they often throw up the most powerful insights.

Come chat to us: if you’re keen to evolve your brand strategy and if you want to meet DAIVID, Barney is your man.

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