Connecting with your audience is all about relationships

Last week in Orlando, the 2019 ANA Media Conference brought together 800 media leaders to galvanize the industry and share actionable insights on ways of connecting with today’s consumer. The expected topics of brand safety, consumer privacy, and advanced TV were present.

But a more interesting sentiment began to emerge, one centered on relationships—those between agencies, brands, and consumers.

What brands need from agencies

Brands are becoming more complex, demanding more from their agencies at greater speed than ever before. To enable speed and personalization, brands have ceded unprecedented access and control of customer data to their agency partners. The lost sensation of “hands on keyboards” is creating an uncomfortable distance between brands and their consumers. Brands are keen on closing that divide.

Brands are over-indexing toward short-term ROAS and the race to the bottom is manifesting through cheap inventory and ad formats that deliver terrible consumer experiences.

The unintended consequence is the erosion of emotional brand connections that stimulate incremental demand for our clients. There’s an increased appetite to deploy data, technology, and content in a way that establishes differentiation and engages with consumers as people first and foremost.

Pay it forward to consumers

Brands are demanding a new media supply chain as passionately articulated by the conference’s keynote speaker, P&G’s Marc Pritchard. The playbook centers on improved quality, civility as reflected in the environments where brands appear, cross-platform measurement, one common privacy standard, and consumer data managed more intimately on brands’ platforms.

As Mr. Pritchard made clear,

“We will continue to vote with our dollars, investing with media providers who follow our new supply chain model.”

If the collective head nodding was any indication, other brands are adopting that sentiment.

The conference appeared to set the table for the industry’s moment of clarity. It was a realization that brands, agencies, and media providers can be better partners, improving trust among each other while simultaneously creating more meaningful connections with consumers.