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#Leovative 2015

Tod Szewczyk, Leo Burnett VP and director of innovation, recaps Leovative — an annual agency event that showcases new ways brands can use technology and platforms to engage consumers in the ever-changing communication landscape.

The transformation of advertising and marketing is under way as we spend more time consuming content on our devices and less time on traditional TV. The challenge for agencies and brands is to seamlessly connect with consumers in real time and create campaigns that work across a variety of new and existing channels. At the Cannes International Festival of Creativity this year, platforms — not campaigns — won Lions.

Yesterday, we hosted our fifth annual Leovative event, which looked at the trends coming out of Cannes and the companies and technologies with which we can partner to build experiences for brands to reach consumers. The 20-plus companies that participated in the event represented the following five trends: data-driven creativity, real-time marketing, additional reality, on-the-go platforms and connected experience.

While data-driven creativity may sound like an oxymoron, it reflects the change toward which consumers are moving: always connected to a device that is pinging back signals indicating where they are, what they are looking at and when.

When we consider Cisco’s prediction that in 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, it’s easy to see how this treasure trove of data will become an important resource in how we think about reaching consumers. So what companies should we be exploring now to help accelerate our thinking? One example is IBM’s Watson, as it can help glean insights from that huge pool of data almost instantaneously so that we can start to see what people are talking about and the relationships in between those conversations.

Once we have those insights in hand, real-time marketing becomes possible. Being able to accurately predict the right message to deliver to someone at the right place and time has become increasingly important, and companies like OwnerIQ have built platforms to enable this.

While both of the above trends might seem somewhat dispassionate and out of place in a creative shop, our events enable amazing creative thinkers to explore them in a familiar setting that can and does lead to new discoveries.

On to additional reality. As the ability to tell stories in an immersive environment expands via Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear and Google Cardboard, companies like Digital Domain take it one step further by adding in the ability to live stream VR. Soon we will be able to see and experience complete environments in real time. Virtually Live was at the event as well and offers a platform that enables sports fans to virtually experience a game as it happens. You put on a headset and are transported to a stadium, where you can watch a game from any perspective. This is powered by data from the teams themselves, as they collect every movement of the players during a game and convert that into a map of play.

The last two trends, on-the-go platforms and connected experience, can sometimes blur together. While they are intertwined, on-the-go-platforms are about a virtual connection while connected experience is about using your phone or wearable device in the physical world.

For on-the-go platforms, Facebook was showing their new 360-degree video while Instagram was talking about the best ways brands are using their platform. Next door, Huffington Post was talking about HuffPost 24 and their native content solutions, along with AOL, which was demoing the Verizon Go90 platform.

Moving into connected experience, Shazam was showing how visual search can be used to bring objects to life. GlowMotion Technologies and Connect and Go were just across from them with an impressive LED wearable and light display. ShopKick was also at the event talking about how their proximity platform is being used in a vast number of retail locations. And finally, Tapcentive came to demo their NFC/Beacon solution.

While not a comprehensive list of all of the companies that attended, these companies and technologies represent tools for us to consider when thinking about how to help our clients reach the always-on consumer. Our semiannual events (FutureShop and Leovative) are really about starting a conversation with the purpose of inspiring, educating and activating ideas into projects. To see how the conversation unfolded during the day, explore #leovative.

Finally, for those who weren’t able to make it, some of the companies are working with us to build installations in our retail innovation lab, LB Sparc, so everyone will be able to experience technology when they can and discover where it might lead for their brand.

October 9, 2015