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Navigating the New Communication Economy

David Nicholson

EssenceMediacom is a global media giant with 10,000 people working in 120 offices in 96 markets. In Brazil, where Willie Taminato is CEO, its major clients include Google, Stellantis, Samsung, Airbnb and Mars. The agency promises to deliver breakthrough results for brands, based on data and technology, keeping pace with the rapidly evolving media landscape.

Key takeaways:

  • IoT will open up multiple new opportunities to communicate with consumers
  • Brand intersection will create new business models
  • Data will increasingly inform audience identification

“There are more ways to connect than stars in the sky,” says Willie Taminato, chief executive at EssenceMediacom Brazil. His job is to “navigate through this new ocean of information”, identifying ways to add value to clients from the almost infinite possibilities now opening up.

It’s a daunting prospect, so where does he start?

The key, says Taminato, is to deploy technology in a smart way, to identify new patterns of behaviour and consumer demand that were previously undetected.

A specific audience

He gives the example of out of home advertising. Traditionally, billboards address a certain demographic such as commuters on their way to work. By drawing on data from social media, advertisers can target a far more specific audience, with real-time information based on the time of day and a detailed knowledge of consumer demand.

Mining social media can also feed into product development. “Looking at people’s search data, we found they were looking at diets for pets. So a client created a new product for this segment. That’s an example of how we use insight from search data to create an advertising product, something that even the companies’ own R&D teams aren’t looking at.”

The possibilities for such breakthrough events will multiply exponentially in the coming years, he believes. 

New Communication Economy

“If you say that today, the volume of data is ‘X’, in the future it is going to be ‘X times several hundred thousand’,” says Taminato. When your laptop, watch, fridge, washing machine and clothes are all connected, the potential for new kinds of communication, retail and branding will be enormous. “We call it the New Communication Economy,” he says.

Food packaging may connect to fridges, biometric wrist watches and even bathrooms, making it possible to track food cycles from retailer to waste disposal, with tremendous opportunities for consumers to improve their diet and health, alongside new product branding and marketing avenues.

Will people accept this level of scrutiny of their buying, eating and human waste activities? Taminato foresees a similar push and pull to the way that online display advertising prompted ad blockers, to improve user experience. “For example, I came across a start-up which uses AI to map my email. It found that I’d unknowingly subscribed to 500 services. So it allowed me to take command.”

He argues the need for balance, so that advertisers remain relevant to their audiences. “It’s no good if you’re just creating spam or irrelevant content,” he says. 

Brand intersection possibilities

The same innovative thinking applies to the way major brands communicate with one another. Taminato foresees how a hotel chain could work with an apparel company such as Adidas, for example. An entire floor of a hotel could be set aside for sportspeople, with all the equipment, shoes, clothing and technology they desire. Or another devoted to food connoisseurs. 

“The possibilities of brand intersection creating business models through data are infinite,” says Taminato. “Our role as an agency is to be an intermediary. We need to be smart in how we create something meaningful, to look ahead at trends and find the oxygen for brands.”

In Brazil, looking ahead means spotting trends as they develop in the United States or the UK, knowing that these will typically reach Brazil 18 months later. The country’s digital media market is roughly one-fourth the size of the UK’s and the US is eight times bigger than the UK. It is also a highly concentrated market, dominated by Google and Meta, which presents its own challenges to EssenceMediacom. “Every time we want to innovate, we have to add a new layer of technology,” he says. 

New challenges

The enormous spread of new communication channels presents its own challenges to branding professionals. Dealing with influencers, messaging apps and their ever-growing user base demands constant alertness to the evolving ecosystem. Selecting technology partners such as Adlook is crucial to staying ahead of these trends, says Taminato. 

“User experience is a key factor,” he emphasises, noting that there are ever more powerful ways to block unwanted advertising. “The delivery mechanism for advertising is going to become very diverse in future,” says Taminato, from household goods to cars. 

Top 10 growth

Despite its relatively small market size, Brazil’s economy is thriving and is “back in the top 10 growth countries,” says Taminato with some relief. 

The challenges and opportunities thrown up by the pandemic, during which digital innovation accelerated enormously in Brazil, have left Taminato and the newly launched EssenceMediacom in the country (rebranded from the 14 year-old digital agency Blinks Essence) with a bracingly positive attitude to the future. 

Multichannel strategy

Taminato sees himself as a kind of digital matchmaker. Among his clients is the world’s fourth-largest automaker Stellantis, formed in 2019 from (among others) Fiat, Chrysler, Citroën, Jeep and Alfa Romeo. Through smart use of data, he believes that future vehicles will more often be joint ventures, with engines designed by car companies and interiors personalized by a different composition of brands. “In the past, such collaborations were thought up by executives over lunch, more like arranged marriages. Today, they’re based on data. One brand can approach another with a specific brief. It can say: ‘My customers like this kind of music, this fashion, this food, this fragrance. How about we do something together?’.

“As an agency, we can make the connection, we can be the trusted partner and say: ‘You should be looking for a collaboration like this’. We have the technology to identify audiences, to understand algorithms and to communicate more effectively.”

The New Communication Economy may resemble stars in the night sky, but you feel that Taminato has the vision and intelligence to guide clients through the constellations.

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