BBH’s Sir John Hegarty and Unilever’s Aline Santos discussed the changing landscape of creativity in an age where social influencers and millennials are giving their voice to leading brands.

“People forget that a guitar is a great piece of technology,” mused Hegarty. “Tech enables opportunity but creativity creates value. Creativity should be liberating.”  Discussing influencers, Hegarty said that it disbanded the “glass ceiling” so there are no barriers for race or gender.

“I think we are from a generation where we used to have very simple consumer journeys,” commented Santos. “We had time to have lunch, it was very easy to plan how we were going to create awareness for brands. There were very few media channels and TV was basically dominating everything.”  Today, there is hyper fragmentation of consumer tribes and journeys, posing nagging questions to marketers like whether or not influencers can ever really understand and co-create with brands.  The first step is to have total clarity about brand position. Santos cited the Knorr ‘Love at first taste’ campaign which harnessed the power of micro-influencers to make their stock cubes the most viewed product on YouTube.

Hegarty discussed how to maintain control when collaborating: “It’s a race, but everyone knows what track they’re on – that way you get the relevance a brand needs and brands can feel confident in letting go. Give me the freedom of a tight brief!”

Millenials are very savvy about advertising and brands, requiring a different method to connect with them. “Millenials prefer word of mouth from a friend to a message from big brand,” Santos added.  Working with influencers is also faster and more cost effective, which normally means worse results, but in this case, is a win/win for brands and consumers.  Hegarty talked about how marketers shouldn’t worry about technology, but should focus on creating content that “touches people and connects with the soul”.  He concluded that “the principles are the same, it’s the practical that has changed.”