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Genevieve Flintham
Genevieve Flintham 04 July 2019

Why a Whole Brain Approach creates truly transformative marketing

There’s a worrying disconnect between data and creative across the marketing profession. But as Indicia’s Head of Insight and Data Strategy Genevieve Flintham reveals, there is a smarter way…

Genevieve Flintham
Genevieve Flintham 04 July 2019

There’s a worrying disconnect between data and creative across the marketing profession. But as Indicia’s Head of Insight and Data Strategy Genevieve Flintham reveals, there is a smarter way…


We’ve never had a better understanding of our customers or so much insight at our fingertips. We’re way beyond the days of picking out key demographics and firing them an ad, or chucking a few manual selections into place. Armed with behavioural data, now more than ever before we know what people are interested in and even when they’re interested in it.

And yet…

Data and creative march into unclaimed territories like opposing political parties, planting their metaphorical flags into whichever patch of earth happens to have a juicy question sticking out of it.

“Where should we allocate our marketing budget?”

“How do we generate interest amongst women in Leeds?”

“How can we make someone laugh?”

Worryingly, design innovation doesn’t always start with a clear understanding of the end user and the most relevant data insights aren’t always presented to aid in creative innovation. This leads to a lacklustre reflection of the market’s unharnessed ability to truly give audiences what they’re asking for.

Which came first: the data or the creative? Which should come first? While you ponder these existential questions, let’s take a look at some of the winners embracing the convergence of data and creative.


Three Mobile – Holiday Spam campaign

Three tracked the mobile data usage of a group of customers going abroad and found they used 71 times the amount they would at home. Most of this was spent posting gloating holiday pictures on social media. Inspired by this insight, the creative featured a series of 60-second TV ads showing travellers sending clichéd holiday snaps to friends and family back home.




Prêt a Manger – Veggie pop-up

Customer research found that just 39% of Brits snack on cakes and sweet treats between meals – down from 51% the year before. Pret’s Group Marketing Director Mark Palmer believes that “if customers are good enough to give you their time, you need to listen … if customers want to be part of your brand, you need to take them seriously”. Listening to customers sparked their new chain of vegetarian stores with relevant storefront and packaging design, as well as their ‘Not just for veggies’ strapline to promote the new approach.

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On the flip side, the guilty parties not marrying the two together are failing across many different channels. TV ads are being repurposed for Video on Demand and Facebook, email templates are being prodded into lead generation campaigns, pictures of happy families living the dream in their SUVs are being pasted on Instagram, into newspapers and onto outdoor ads.

With these consistent messages brands are trying to take a slice of the omnichannel pie. But the trouble is, consumers don’t think in ‘channels’. If the message isn’t right in the first place – if the creative isn’t answering the problem that your data knows your customers have – then it’s just a waste of your marketing budget.

Creative innovation should always start with a clear understanding of the end user, otherwise we risk pushing out the wrong message and generating some seriously questionable responses. That’s why analysis and creativity must join forces to develop truly transformative ideas.


So what’s the solution?

At Indicia, we adopt a ‘Whole Brain Approach’ – blending the creative and data sides of the brain in every campaign. This provides an important counterbalance to an overly analytical or creative mind-set.

Our data bods know which insight needs to be sifted out to have the most impact in creative, and our creatives ask the right questions.

“Why did people respond so well to this last time?”

“What’s the best place to show this ad, and at what time?”

“How can we turn this truly targeted campaign into something explosive?”

In short, we make sure every touchpoint is relevant to the person experiencing it. We marry data and creative to improve campaign KPIs, generate excitement and keep customer loyalty at the forefront. For an example, take a look at our award winning Dacia campaign.

If you’d like to find out more, get in touch and we’ll help get your Whole Brain Approach into gear.


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