How To Break Through The Clutter And Leverage Data To Create Stronger And More Creative Briefs



At SMWNYC, Amy Avery, Chief Intelligence Officer at Droga5, shared how the award-winning agency is currently implementing data to reimagine the creative brief.

Creative is at the core of every successful marketing campaign. But the most successful campaigns are also informed by data, informing their content and ensuring they reach the right audiences on the right channels.

In this fast-changing data landscape, what strategies are leading marketers, creatives, and data teams using to boost their chances of success?

At SMWNYC, Amy Avery, Chief Intelligence Officer at Droga5, shared how the award-winning agency is currently implementing data to reimagine the creative brief.

Avery leverages many different data types (spanning search, social, and audience tools) to identify the right moments to use in accordance with the agency’s purpose and objective. During her session, she explained how to:

  • Build a system that leverages different data types to help identify the right moments for your purpose and objective;
  • Root your identified moments in data to further strengthen the evaluation process; and
  • Plan ahead for these moments to improve your ability to identify and evaluate the right moments.

How to identify the right moments for your purpose and objective

All brands want to harness moments to reach new audiences and create impact. These may include:

  • Reactive Moments: Unplanned moments where we react to significant news events;
  • Feature Moments: Anticipated moments rooted in upcoming feature stories and/or topics of interest to the audience; and
  • Cultural Moments: High-impact media moments that provide a platform to shift perception on a large scale.

Avery cautioned brands from trying to attach themselves to cultural moments that are not aligned with their purpose because they could risk facing a significant public backlash.

She recommended this 5 step process to decide what to focus on:

  1. Define: Define the task that the work should solve and what themes the brand should lean into (i.e. what is the white space? does the brand want to increase followers? reach? participate in a particular conversation?).
  2. Identify: Create a system to identify moments most relevant to the goal.
  3. Evaluate: Choose metrics to evaluate and measure moments based on designated Key Performance Indicators (e.g. if you’re aiming to increase reach, you won’t want to target a niche audience).
  4. Filter: Apply the brand lens to the moments to determine which will align best and be the most impactful (e.g. what is the brand’s purpose? does this align?).
  5. Execute: Implement work in the moments, formats and channels that best align with the audience.

Let’s break each of these steps down.

Defining what matters to a brand and its competitors

After defining the job that needs to be done, it’s important to select a set of brands and a range of relevant themes for analysis.

Using social media metrics, you can start mapping out where competitors sit in relation to each other regarding those themes.

If this process reveals white space, you can interrogate that further. Avery asked, “Could it be wide open because nobody is tackling it yet? Or is it wide open because there’s a problem with it?”

Creating a system to identify the right moments

The next step is to develop a system to identify the right type of moments for your initiatives.

The task (e.g. advocacy, awareness, association, or engagement) should be run through a number of filters, such as:

  • Designated influencers (e.g. are there influencers that are in that area that you know are important to your brand or to your category, and how present are they in this theme that you exploring?) 
  • Industry trends (e.g. are there any major trends or disruptions happening that could be leveraged to create an interesting conversation?)
  • Brand conversation (e.g. how does your brand index relative to its competitors on the theme you are exploring?)
  • Competitive conversation (e.g. where do competitors fit in the broader context?)
  • Cultural events (e.g. build queries around whats happening in the world) 
  • Custom variables (e.g. can you determine the velocity of a moment, where you could position yourself higher up a conversation curve versus briefly spiking or plateauing?)

A lot of data is easy to access and can be weighted differently during this process.

Avery recommended taking each of the resulting scores, averaging them, and turning them into an index to arrive at a total score.

Defining the metrics to evaluate and measure moments

Avery suggested creating a 3D graph, which plots:

  • Relevance score (e.g. out of the total conversation on a particular theme, how much of that conversation relates to choosing products like yours? is the brand relevant? are the proposed influencers relevant?)
  • Ownability score (e.g. does the brand purpose align with the theme? when you conduct searches, can you find cases where the brand and the theme are coming up together?)
  • Estimated reach (e.g. based on the amount of reach you can get / number of mentions). 

Finding alignment

After filtering out what’s relevant and ownable, it’s important to put the data into context.

Avery typically revisits what the original goal was, and ranks the potential moments accordingly. For example, if reach was the goal, she would rule out the options with the least impact. If credibility was the goal, then reach might not matter so much, as a brand might be more interested in capturing a passionate community.

She also considers elasticity of potential conversations. For example, some moments (e.g. Superbowl) could stretch over 4-5 weeks instead of 1 day, which could provide much more value to brands.

Final selection of moments should be based on what is best for the brand voice, tone, etc.

Executing the brief

The brief should be designed in the format and channel that best suits your audience.

To determine the best opportunities for reach and impact, Avery suggested using tools like Simmons and MRI to research your audience’s attitudes, behaviors, and media consumption habits (e.g. how they are fragmented across TV, Radio, Out-Of-Home, Print, Digital, Social, Search).

She also recommended building queries in social listening tools to understand audience what your audience cares about.

Key takeaways

There’s an incredible amount of data out there. It’s tempting to try and use all of it, or take the easy route and just make one thing your metric. Avery recommended:

  • creating composite metrics,
  • using indexes (to understand the strength of one variable versus another), and
  • reviewing those sequentially (reactive, feature and cultural moments).

To dive into the details and see how Avery bring all these concepts together using a step-by-step scenario involving a fictitious client, watch this session on Social Media Week Insider.

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