Viacom: Designing A Creative Map With Data
In the lead-up to our PSFK 2017 conference, we look back at key speakers from past years. Watch Kodi Foster on how quantifiable data is essential to creativity
At PSFK’s flagship conference in New York on 2016, Kodi Foster, VP of Data Strategy at Viacom, explained that art and science has always been intertwined—and the notion that they need to converge undermines their essence. “You can’t get rid of creatives,” said Foster. “You can’t code for serendipity.”
The creative map approach Viacom takes encompasses both of these elements to custom targets. While businesses are struggling to figure out the millennial mindset, Foster almost exasperatedly said, “there’s no theory of everything to reach a millennial.” Instead of looking at demographics to define target markets, Foster offered some advice:
“Half the time when an RFP gets to me, I rip it up because it says something obnoxious like, ‘we want to reach moms 25-54 who put their families first’ because what mom in the history of humanity doesn’t put their family first? Instead, we try to look for someone persuadable.”
During his talk, Foster outlined four data insights necessary to tell creative and strategic stories:
- Product insight. What is the brand? It is more than content, it is about the experience.
- Competitive insight. The impulse gene involves looking at brand agnostic purchasers of relevant categories to create a profile driven by consumer impulses. More than scale, depth is key.
- Cultural insight. What do customers naturally gravitate towards? More than noise, extracting emotions.
- Consumer insight. More than viewers, they need to be turned into fans. Brands need to figure out, a) what are people searching for? b) what are people reading and watching? and c) where are people sharing?
Foster went on to share the Viacom strategy his team uses to form creative data-driven maps and expose actionable audience insights. Throughout his talk, Foster emphasized the importance of an outcome-driven approach and flexible plans that adapt to consumer preferences and reactions. While blending big data into business is not novel, Viacom’s approach to segmentation and data driven creative is certainly an Idea That Is Transforming media.
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