In an industry that is fast paced and highly competitive, I feel it’s important that we are constantly looking for ways to expand our knowledge outside of our daily remit. And given AI, VR and of course, the Metaverse are such hot topics in the news right now, who better to lean on for advice on the future than Meta! Lucky for us, we were selected to participate in Meta’s Select 2022 program that helped arm us with so many resources to gain a different perspective on our work and how we approach client challenges.
What is select?
This program is an exclusive thought-leadership and personal development programme aimed at Media Agency Industry rising stars in client, strategy and planning leadership roles. It is a truly Global programme that was launched in the UK in 2019 that’s evolved and grown to 19 countries over the last 4 years. The aim is to bring the best and brightest minds of the media and marketing industry together, to create a conversation about the future of media planning.
So to put it simply, we were about to embark on an enlightening journey hearing from industry leading experts, bespoke sessions, and interactive workshops focusing on personal development - excited was an understatement! Across 10 sessions starting in April through to December, we dove into several topics including insights, brand building, performance, measurement and creative and more.
Modern Day Brand Building
Now I could sit here and write an essay on all the things I learned in each session but if I had to pick one session that I found the most inspirational and impactful, it would be the brand building session. This aimed to answer - What does it take for a modern brand to be successful? We all have examples of brands that have captured our attention through an unexpected partnership or cool cultural alignment and have in turn generated huge business value from this. And for the most successful brands, none of them did it by sticking to the rules and instead pushed the boundaries on what was possible.
We heard from a brand who could possibly be labelled as a pioneer of a non-traditional brand building approach and one of the first to jump into influencers - Gymshark.
Noel Mack, Chief Brand Officer at Gymshark spoke about the source of their business success, which was driven by the fact they were the first brand to stand up and represent an unrepresented subculture in between bodybuilders - yes, we’re talking those guys on Venice Beach or Arnold Schwarzenegger and on the other side of the spectrum, Nike’s pro athletes. This shone through in their United We Sweat campaign that created a feeling of community and authenticity.
Community was the theme of the Select program which couldn’t have been more fitting for Gymshark because their community is at the heart of everything they do. Noel even mentioned that he would consider the Gymshark community as his boss (rather than his actual boss!)
“So many agencies think of the budget first or the calendar first rather than being obsessed with the customer when they plan,” he said. “It didn't feel like we were building a big brand & business, it just felt like they took everything day by day and worked in a scrappy way. If you don’t have the money and manpower to compete, think about what can you do to cut through the noise.”
A great example of a campaign that made a huge impact for them without the manpower & big budgets, was their “Jim Shark” campaign. They created a personal account on Cameo called Jim Shark & had loads of celebs wish him a happy birthday which flew around the internet. A key theme of Gymshark’s marketing is that they tend to go in an opposite direction to the rest of the industry, which is what helps them stand out from the crowd.
Kia Ora, NZ!
Across three days of September, us Sparkies were very privileged to take our learnings from the META select program across the Tasman to the beautiful country of New Zealand. Residing in Auckland, after months of primarily connecting virtually we were all able to come together as a collective META 2022 cohort.
Community, that was the theme of the conference and over the course of the three days that’s exactly how it felt, as all our guest speakers underlined the importance whether it was through the social community or community groups within our society.
One notable speaker was All Blacks royalty, Richie McCaw who shared his experience from growing up in the South Island of New Zealand and coming through the NZ Rugby system where he would complete a world record 148 test caps and lead the All Blacks to two world cup triumphs (2011 & 2015).
It wasn’t the achievements Richie spoke about that was memorable, it was the lessons learned during the difficult moments in life. Speaking on the darkest day of his career which inevitably provided the greatest life lesson was the 2007 World Cup quarterfinal loss to France, whereby the All Blacks were the tounrament’s favourites with the whole country on their shoulders.
It was during this time, Richie told the 2022 Meta Select Cohort, that losing the 2007 World Cup quarter final was the best thing to happen to him and the All Blacks as “it was tough at the time, but the learnings we got out of it and where it took us, the path it took us, wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t gone through that” - highlighting to us there’s a real learning everyday we do something, we are continually learning and to remember we’re not the finished article.
Personally hearing this was quite motivating to me as working within the advertising community, it acts as a reminder that we’re really not the finished article and it’s commitment we give to our team, our clients but importantly ourselves that if we haven’t got something we’re trying to improve on, then we’re just going to plateau and be left behind - especially within an industry that’s constantly expanding and moving forward with the times.
Thanks for coming! If you found this of interest, please like share or, better still, stay up to date with our latest perspectives by following us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/spark-foundry-australia