JP Cadman features in Admap: Building brand relevance a digital age


In the digital age, the fast pace of change, driven by consumer technology, can present huge challenges for companies. John Paul Cadman of Carat points out that these changes represent perfect opportunities for brands to make more meaningful connections with consumers. He outlines three key trends that can lead to brand growth, with case study examples from Kellogg, Smirnoff and GoCompare.

The world has changed significantly over the past 10 to 15 years, and this pace of change is only accelerating. This is being driven by consumer technology which is, effectively, removing friction from people's lives and giving them a greater ability to choose what they want, when they want it and how they want iL This covers transactions (across multiple platforms), entertainment (on demand with few geographical boundaries, and huge levels of choice), information (everything you want to know is available all the time), communication (always connected, always available), etc.

This is quite fundamental, and it's a massive challenge for companies, particularly for those that have legacy assets that need demand in order to be mobilised - factories that need to keep running, regardless of demand, rooms that must be filled in order to cover costs, etc. Compare this with products made on demand, or companies that connect supply and demand, rather than carry the cost (such as Airbnb).

At the same time, media and media consumption is constantly changing. People no longer access media on a schedule; instead, they live within media, all of the time, wherever in the world they are. Media is demand driven and enabled by systems, platforms and data. Looking forward, we will have more addressable media, targeting real people and reaching them with content relevant to where they are and what they want to do.

Fragmentation and the adoption of ad-free digital content services have made it more difficult to reach everyone we want through media. Each year, the same number of GRPs on TV is delivering less reach, and. consequently, lower direct ROls. Digital delivery is frequently not robust enough to create confidence. In addition to this, advertising has some potentially huge barriers to overcome - for example, by adblockers and legislation. Some markets may very well go dark in the next few years - alcohol, HFHS (high fat. high sugar), irresponsible financial lending, etc.

However, the opportunities in media have never been greater. Media is much more than a vehicle for advertising: it is both product and service. Media is in everyone's hands, pretty much all the time, so brands should think about how to make it useful, providing a service to help remove the friction from people's lives. So yes, media can be both our product and our service, rather than just telling people about a brand. Connectedness and good use of data to work out what people need will help this.

We believe there is an enormous opportunity to build brand relevance by harnessing the changes that are happening around us. The potential solutions are almost limitless, but by anchoring thinking to a clear business/brand challenge and focusing on excellence in execution, we, at Carat, are providing innovative solutions that deliver growth for our clients.

Looking at our most successful recent work, there are three key trends that stand out creating partnerships to increase the speed of optimisation; using human interpretation to marry context and content in real-time; and creating a connection between brands and culture.


The explosion of adtech and the sheer amount of data points that we are trying to manage means that we have to forge new partnerships to both protect and create value for our clients. Success is largely driven by the speed at which we can course-correct and we are increasingly exploring how to do this in traditionally analogue channels.

Case study: GoCompare

Historically, we have worked in partnership with Adalyser to implement a TV Response Optimisation (TVRO) which has seen over one million TV spots analysed for their ability to generate cost-effective traffic. This has allowed to know exactly which programmes, days, dayparts, etc. are most effective in driving cost-effective traffic to their website on a monthly basis. These insights from a database of learnings which inform every TV planning decision.

Looking back at historical TVRO learnings around which type of spot and creative message was generating the cheapest cost-per-view, it became evident that reducing the time between finding an insight and taking an action presented a transformative opportunity.

While TV currently needs to be booked two months in advance, technology exists that has the potential to allow brands to rapidly serve different copy into different slots based on real-time insight. In an industry first, our idea was to build a bespoke programmatic solution which would take TVRO insights and, in real-time, determine which creative should run. We brought together three partners - Adalyser, CARIA and Sky TV - and devised a test to see whether implementing learnings in real-time was possible.

Adalyser helps Carat run's TVRO programme and was responsible for generating real-time insights. CARlA is an online media management platform that can be used to send copy instructions to TV stations and, of course, Sky is one of Britain's biggest and most technologically capable broadcasters.Adalyser developed a new approach that could instantly generate copy instructions based on relevant real-time insights (i.e. the copy and spots generating the most efficient cost-per-view). CARIA acted as an intermediary, passing these instructions on to Sky, who updated their software to receive the real-time instructions and instantly change what appeared on TV.

Each time a spot ran on TV, we grew a database of insights as to which was the most effective and optimised copy instructions automatically and instantly over the rest of the campaign.As each spot ran, more and more learnings were accumulated and the copy instructions were refined to deliver better results.

Results: Through this innovative partnership, we reduced cost-per-visit by 15% compared with the previous campaign. Further, traffic generated to by this activity increased by 18%.


We are increasingly drawing a distinction between 'data for planning' and 'data for optimisation'. By definition, the former requires human intervention to build hypotheses and generate insights that will help campaign development, whereas the latter is largely focused on automated placement. There is a clear opportunity to marry content with context to increase relevance based on interpretation of 'data for planning'. It's important to note that we don't mean context as editorial/platform environment but as what we know about a person, e.g. mood, location, previous behaviour, etc.

Case study: Kellogg's

We built the KUBE, a performance-based planning, monitoring and evaluation system that would revolutionise how an FMCG campaign could be optimised in real-timeWe saw an opportunity to increase cereal consumption outside of breakfast time.We combined data with qualitative insight to establish connections between audiences and snacking moments and drove optimisations from the signals emitted by the online population. Most significantly, we democratised data by using a visualisation platform that was accessible by all key stakeholders with optimisation decisions taken as a group.

Pre-launch, we mined IPA touchpoints, Twitter, CCS and Kellogg's own data to define the moments of the week when we could nudge people to consider cereal outside of breakfast time. We sized each prize, using time-series data to show how many people were 'in the moment'. This gave Kellogg's confidence to invest in every occasion that we had defined. We developed two to three digital executions for each moment that could be served across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and programmatic display.

We used demographic, behavioural, interest and daypart data sets to drive targeting around occasions. From this, we created layers of targeting across each moment and creative to ensure that we only served content to consumers with whom it was most likely to resonate at that time. This fusion gave us multiple opportunities to optimise our activity, driving the best performance and results for Kellogg's.

The KUBE was the vehicle that powered these optimisations, as our performance data and social insights were regularly updated and available to clients and all agencies. This streamlined the inter-agency communications, informing both media and creative decisions. Facebook. Twitter, Google, Moat and Crimson Hexagon data allowed us to create a complete picture, as we assessed the resonance and execution according to the number of completed views, shares, comments and dicks generated as well as more qualitative aspects such as the nature of sentiment and quality of viewing our campaign.

Results: By using the KUBE, we were able to identify and deliver 221 different combinations of snacking occasion, execution and platform. Fifteen percent of adults aged 25-54 claimed to have eaten cereal as a snack as a result of seeing this campaign.


A clear route to increasing relevance is to be part of something to which the desired audience attaches importance. Easier said than done.To exist in culture, the brand in question must do so with integrity and credibility and must offer something of value that isn't easily available elsewhere.

Case study: Smirnoff 

Smirnoff is a legendary brand which has played a central role in nightlife and music across the globe. Its ambition was to strengthen brand equity and maintain its cultural relevance while building deeper relationships with consumers; it needed to go beyond the delivery of entertainment and create meaning in society.

The world of electronic dance music is a male-dominated culture. According to a sample study conducted by THUMP. the electronic music and culture channel from VICE, women made up only an average 17% of headliners in 2016 at music festivals around the world.This gender disparity is self-perpetuating as women lack role models - or any incentive - to join the profession. While gender inequality had become a popular topic of discussion across a variety of businesses on a global scale, it was not even mentioned in the music trade. Something needed to be done.

Smirnoff decided it was not enough to condemn the sidelining of women artists; it had to drive action and transform the industry through 'Equalizing Music' - a global gender equality programme, that aimed to double the amount of female talent in just three years.This long-term commitment would ensure that women had exposure and access to the same opportunities, moving towards a more inclusive, and fairer, music scene. As a worldwide catalyst for the nightlife and dance scene, having brought artists and fans closer for years, Smirnoff held the necessary credibility and scale to give a voice to unknown female talent.

Our idea was simple, yet ambitious: deliver the cultural platform 'Equalizing Music'In order to maximise the impact of the campaign and trigger real change, we needed to start a conversation among different audiences in the music business - from artists and music industry professionals to fans, as well as the mass audience.

With VICE, we co-created a Top 50 Women Making Noise list, as well as a documentary film, Equalizing Music, which highlighted the challenges women faced in the music world. It featured two key artists - Chicago's Black Madonna and Uganda's DJ Rachael - who shared their individual stories and experiences in a male-dominated profession. We seeded the video content, not only within VICE's content hub but across other partner websites to achieve the necessary reach and drive awareness.

With Spotify, we provided a platform for easy accessibility and discovery of female DJ tracks, allowing a deeper immersion into richer content to audiences who had expressed an interest. We created a special Smirnoff Top 50 playlist featuring music artists and seeded our audiovisual content on their platform to engaged listeners. All assets held a call-to-action to enrich the experience by driving to other pieces of content, such as local DJ events or behind-the-scene videos.

Results: Our results prove that there is a major appetite for engaging, meaningful content about female artists. In the US, there was a strong uplift in unaided brand awareness between +20.6% (YouTube) and +28.6% (VICE), together with a strong uplift in purchase intent ( +14.6%) (Spotify).

In the UK, strong uplift in unaided brand awareness (first mention) hit +17.8% and brand affinity +13.7%. There was also a significant uplift in brand attributes, with +9.3% agreeing Smirnoff tastes better than other brands of spirits and +20.5% using music as a way to bring people together. Results from Argentina were equally positive, with a significant uplift in brand favourability at +17.2% and purchase intent at +17.1 % (Spotify)Additionally, there was significant increase in brand values such as taste (+13%), quality(+ 12%) and trendsetting (10.5%) (Spotify).

We are excited by the changes happening around us and the opportunity this presents for Carat to make more meaningful connections between brands and consumers, which, ultimately, lead to growth for our clients.

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