Agencies need to make more use of audience insight, says Mark Creighton

Mark Creighton: the chief executive at Mindshare UK
Mark Creighton: the chief executive at Mindshare UK

The creative and communications process of a campaign needs to be informed by the audience, according to Mark Creighton, the chief executive at Mindshare UK.

Speaking at 'The Guardian Leadership Breakfast: Influence in a Fragmented Age' at Advertising Week Europe in London this morning, Creighton said agencies are starting from the "wrong" place in moving from a creative agency to a communications agency.

He said: "I’ve heard a lot more in the last year of clients saying, ‘Why has my neutral creative idea been given to me as a TV script when actually I know it needs to go live on mobile and I know it should have some branded content?’."

Creighton said he doesn’t see "a great deal of this fantastic insight flowing into the creative process" and believes the industry is not interested  – and it’s not a case of the information not being available.

He said: "It feels like at the moment we need to move the whole process of where we start to one that says that we understand about who it is the brand wants to talk to.

"Let’s look at that first and not only should it inform the comms plan but also inform the creative process, which means you’ve got to have better planners at that level and creatives that are prepared to listen."

Creighton said there is currently more knowledge, insight, channels, devices and platforms for brands to use, claiming "[this is] the best opportunity we’ve ever had" to influence people.

However, the industry has not "gone through a structural or behavioural change to bring all of that together".

He said: "If you’re going to influence people, it demands a lot more collaboration than any of us have ever had to do before... if we want to demonstrate to the client community that fragmentation is something that we can more actively bring together and begin to deliver."

Tracy Yaverbaun, the head of brand development for EMEA at Instagram, agreed with Creighton, adding that the industry needs to look at how people are communicating through images rather than text.

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