Waves of Innovation

by Macleay Advertising student, Kyra Brown

“Major trends that change consumers’ behaviours and expectations are the way of the future for ad-making”, that’s the prediction from Brad Bennett, head of technology at The Hallway. As part of Macleay’s ongoing AdSpeaks series of talks from high-ranking advertising professionals, ad students had the pleasure of venturing to The Hallway, an independent advertising agency with clients like Google, Qantas, eHarmony, Fuji Xerox, Fairfax Media and NSW Government to name just a few.

Bennett began his career in insurance consulting, then moved to Crisis Communications, and eventually over into the wonderful world of advertising. He also runs a charity, Jiamani, which focuses on providing educational resources for orphans in southern Tanzania.

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Brad spoke about how the future of advertising and marketing relies on waves of innovations. The way consumers will make decisions to purchase, thanks to advertising, moves and follows these waves. Changes in major contributing factors like technology and how it benefits human knowledge have a huge influence on this process. A great point he raised was that technology can create value where there previously wasn’t any. So for certain consumers, a new tablet that offers to connect them with other family members half way across the world, has a special value to them. This can be then be highlighted in an advertising campaign which evokes emotion and ultimately the purchase of the device.

He also spoke about what he called “Wired for Search”. This is about accessing information today, compared to 10 or 20 years ago, which is a much easier and simultaneous process. The tool use and access to information is often now a more important quality for children or teenagers than actually remembering the information presented. He spoke about how consumers respond to novelty and that ‘new’  makes them very happy.

A major theme that Brad said his agency and many others are focusing on, is the concept of “always on” marketing. This is less about a “campaign of advertising”, but more about the kind of stuff that is always out there, constantly but subtly reminding the consumers of the advertising message. It follows the “conversational” type of marketing, speaking to consumers on their own level, the way they speak to each other, and how they like to be spoken to.

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Bennett spoke about how marketers need to love the product and service they are advertising in order to successfully convey that to the consumers, they need to ensure the consumers know about product cycles and what it can be used for, and they need to also create value for clients in the future, so creating impactful and replicate-able ideas will express value to clients and also to consumers.

A quote that Brad referred to was “never make forecasts, especially about the future” from Sam Goldwyn. Which I thought tied in perfectly with his references to the ever changing world of technology – and how advertising can’t predict or forecast what will happen, but instead should change and adapt to meet the demands and needs of society.

The Hallway was a beautiful open-spaced studio, that was very welcoming and looked like a very cool place to work. I would love to go back and pick the brains of some more of their employees!

Click here to see the article from AdNews’ Rachael Micaleif about Brad’s presentation

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