Addressable strategy: spirit of the phoenix

Why addressable strategy with innovation can be rocket fuel for returns

The parable of the phoenix is an oft-cited representation of rebirth and transformation

In the face of destruction there remains the possibility of growth, and if we can only embrace the change and learn from the experience we may yet emerge stronger and wiser for it. This is very much like the purchase funnel. Yes, actually! Which can be seen as a wheel — a continuous, non-linear cycle, which should be portrayed as a repeating progression of priming through to purchase, round into loyalty and back into priming again. In this fashion brands could be said to enjoy an unending and unconscious relationship with consumers, which doesn’t ‘switch off’ at the point of purchase. Done well, it continues ad infinitum, and the phoenix of the repeat purchase rises again from the neat ash pile of the sales receipt.

An Addressable approach to content and media is wholly complementary to the purchase wheel, amplifying brands’ resonance at moments that matter to their audiences. To extend the metaphor (one last time) the phoenix is reborn stronger and more rapidly with each iteration of the cycle. By blending the core ingredients of data, technology, and creativity, highly relevant experiences can be delivered to consumers, and brands can then learn what worked, and crucially, why it worked. 

Media channels may rise and fall, but whether the new media is over or under-hyped, a hyper-relevant approach is more likely to drive outperformance, and ultimately, lift advertiser returns. The savvy media agency strives to help its clients to emerge stronger while adapting to the ever-changing landscape. By supporting them to transform their businesses by embracing innovation, they can ultimately experience their own rebirth of sorts. Digital transformation might seem a staid phrase in 2024, but it remains a top ask from clients, and it must be treated as a strategic imperative. Using the classic addressable framework of ‘Audience + Context + Content’ as the scaffold onto which provocative and innovative approaches are bolted is now made possible by the wave of new technologically fuelled novelties. The result is the very typification of ‘new types of media’ complementing ‘old types’.

For example, highly convincing synthetic voice assets trained on local dialects to enhance regional relevance of audio campaigns; a medium brought back from the dead by the mass contemporary appeal of Podcasting.

Or conversational AI agents trained on different personas, such that they more appropriately reflect the audiences engaging with what was once just a limited, automated chat bot. Think the Royal Navy Virtual Guide created to ensure its recruitment information and processes resonate with the changing needs of a new generation of potential recruits. 

And not forgetting AI-driven digital avatars of famous talents (with their express participation) delivering relevant content to customers directly through traditional CRM channels like email. Cadbury Celebrations‘Shah Rukh Kahn My Ad’ for Diwali being a great example. 

It is this spirit of weaving innovation into the traditional fabric of media that leads to lasting outperformance. Integrating Generative AI tools into the WPP Creative Studio, empowers clients to author novel, relevant content with speed and precision at limited cost. 

This can be used at every stage of the Addressable process, from strategic planning right through to project management of creative production, and vitally, throughout the creative analytics piece. 

Embracing such provocative transformation has unlocked new levels of efficiency and effectiveness for the way an agency can help its clients to grow. In a sense, long-defunct forms of media can enjoy a measure of hype all over again if they lean into the zeitgeist of innovation, the spirit of the phoenix. Failure to do so will see those stubborn, slow-to-adjust forms of media gradually decay, while a dash of Addressable strategy with your innovation can be rocket fuel for returns!

Featured image: Rostislav Uzunov / Pexels

Oli Saunders, Global Head of Addressability and DCO at Wavemaker

As Global Head of Addressability and DCO at Wavemaker, Oli Saunders oversees the group’s personalisation-at-scale proposition. He also sits on the Steering Committee of the Addressable Content Practise, GroupM’s joint venture with Hogarth, the production powerhouse. Prior to this, he was a strategic advisor to GroupM’s DCO agency within Choreograph, before which he was the global chief product officer at Omnicom’s DCO house, Adylic. This spell in the media industry came after 12+ years in investment banking, where Oli was the global head of alpha capture in Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets division (a quantitative, systematic discipline of finance), as well as spending time in equity advisory. He studied English Language and Literature at Nottingham University and is a photographer/videographer and jazz pianist and classical cellist when out of the office. The blend of a background in data and creative disciplines lends itself well to addressability, and the models observed in the quantitative finance ecosystem help to inform an insight into media’s future.

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Marlot Van der Stoel, Global Addressable Director at Wavemaker

Marlot van der Stoel is the Global Addressable Director at Wavemaker. She initially joined the Wavemaker Amsterdam office in the summer of 2015 and later spent five years working in the Asia offices of Hong Kong and Singapore. Currently, she is back in Amsterdam, bringing her extensive international experience to the team. Marlot's passion for travelling and exploring new countries and cultures is evident in her personal and professional life.

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