Flourish visit MADfest 2022

A mad time at MADfest 2022

This week, the team headed to MADfest in London, an event that brings together leaders from the marketing, advertising and disruptive tech industries under one roof. This wasn’t your average ‘work conference’, it was a buzz filled three-day affair where fun, innovative, carefully thought-out talks, presentations and interactions were delivered by some of the biggest household brands and agencies. After a jolly-ol’ time in the Big Smoke filled with newfound knowledge, professional connections and delicious food, we undoubtedly left the festival feeling inspired, motivated and energised to take on the marketing world. Here are some of our key learnings from the event…

You can’t be everything to everybody, but you can be everything to somebody

Gen Z was a consistent thread of most talks – but why? Described as “the most diverse group in history” by Jay Richards of ImagenInsight, it’s understandable that brands across the globe want their ‘cut-throat opinion’, especially within the digital sphere – a native space for this generation. Aside from their ruthless approach and activist mentality, they also have a 4.4 trillion-dollar spending power; a goldmine for marketeers and brands alike.

Speaking with Jay Richards on the topic, ‘Asking yourself the hard questions is true bravery’, was Carlo Frem, EU Head of Social Media + Editorial for Amazon Prime Video. Whilst it’s undeniable that invaluable insight can be gained using quantitative measures, Carlo stressed the importance of speaking to diverse groups of individuals, asking them the questions no one wants to ask…

‘What do you hate about our posts?’

‘Is there any reason you follow our account?’

‘What competitors do you love?’

Historically, focusing on positive engagement as a metric, the Prime Video team decided to flip this approach on its head to more accurately gauge what Gen Z, their key audience, really wanted from their socials. Carlo was happy to admit that the responses weren’t all as rosy as they had anticipated – what they thought was resonating with their audiences clearly wasn’t, and Gen Z weren’t afraid to tell them!

Taking it in their stride, the Prime Video creative team recalibrated and gained a ‘common language’ from the responses, refined their TOV and granted their followers exclusive access, growing their Gen Z audience exponentially. Sometimes, ‘smelling your own body odour’ gives you answers that you wouldn’t otherwise receive.

Borgan from Flourish at MADfest
Brogan, Strategic Account Manager at Flourish, enjoying a free cocktail at the event.
Lucie from Flourish at MADfest
Lucie, Senior Account Manager at Flourish, sporting her new bucket hat received at the event.

Audience insight is still everything

Much of the conference focussed on how to engage Gen Z audiences, be at the forefront of ‘what’s next?’ and capitalise on emerging trends. But ITV’s Lucy Crotty honed in broader appeal in her presentation ‘What Unites a Kingdom?’, which acknowledged the importance of understanding mainstream culture and the value this can bring to businesses.

Lucy explained that part of ITV’s research into this was to ask the question of “What unites the nation?”. Following the results of a nationwide survey, ITV was able to break this down into essentially five codes of our shared national identity: proud resilience, social graces, dreaming big, knowing your roots and everyday magic. These insights have allowed ITV to gain a better understanding of their viewers across the UK, enable more accurate targeting throughout different areas of the country, and ultimately create a better experience for their audience.

As a CRM agency, it was music to our ears: anyone who knows our team will likely confirm we’re always banging the ‘knowing your audience’ drum, stressing the importance of consumer/supporter insight before jumping into a campaign.

flourish visit madfest

Sustainable credentials are no longer simply ‘nice-to-have’

There’s an Ocado just for you – the slogan Richard Osman can’t get out of his head, and we can’t blame him! Slogan and catchy jingle aside, the talk by Lisa McDowell, Brand Director at Ocado, stuck in our heads for one major reason: the sustainability of the brand. Committed to being the UK’s most sustainable grocer, Ocado focus on four core areas: food waste, carbon impact, packaging waste, and responsible impact.

Lisa highlighted a proud achievement: 95% of the food that can’t be sold is fresh, and instead of chucking it out, it’s sent to partner food banks. Any inedible food is also converted into reusable energy. Lisa said, “ We create 1/100th of the food waste compared to traditional supermarkets”.

In another talk, George Papadopoulos (Insights and Analytics at Reckitt) touched on a new campaign from Vanish and Love not Landfill . This is a perfect example of a brand being present, focusing on the current climate and the wishes of their audience – again, Gen Z, but titled ‘Generation Rewear’.

In this industry, the ‘job to do’ is to get a product into the hands of as many consumers as possible – but seeing brands that recognise their environmental impact, and act on it, is promising. We’re hoping more brands follow in Ocado and Vanish’s footsteps.


People are your best weapon for positive change

We ended our day at MadFest with a passionate talk from Tom Rainsford of Beavertown on the importance of people and culture in the workplace, and how the rise of remote working might be a double-edged sword. As he puts it, “The greatest trick of modern capitalism is being able to work from everywhere”. And when you can work anywhere, you can work anytime. The question is, are those 9pm Sunday night emails from the boss a welcome addition to anyone’s inbox? Probably not.

Rainsford argues that in a fast-paced, ever-evolving society, culture will continue to change, as change is inevitable, but growth is an option. And that all starts with people.

With the talks from earlier in the day focusing on business growth and commercial; development, it was a refreshing end to the day.

Flourish visit MADfest

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