Emanuele Nenna, CEO of The Big Now: Focus all the attention on the strategy and not on tools

Emanuele Nenna, co-founder and CEO of The Big Now agency (Italy) and  UNA – Aziende delle Comunicazione Unite, is one of the presenters of this year’s KAKTUS 2019 festival and will talk about „Exploring the Future of Advertising. A Call for Agencies and Clients: Take a Seat and Make Yourself Uncomfortable “. We talked to him about the importance of the advertising industry.

Why communications and advertising are important today?

-Since ever communication has always characterised human beings. This is something that is rooted in all of us and non-communicating will be a sort of a non-sense. Nevertheless, in a very crowded and fast-paced market it is crucial for brands to stand out from the crowd and one of the most powerful levers to do that is communicating. Advertising is just a part of this marketing mix.

In an era where everything communicates it is important not to lose the focus as the importance of a campaign relies on the fact that it has to make an impact. Technologies, new formats, new channels can support all of this but at the very centre ideas has to stand.

So it is important to run fast but dedicate some time to study, to get inspired from other arts, to create culture from where great ideas can rise. This is the purpose of advertising, change perceptions, and this is also the reason why it is so important. And we, as part of this industry, can drive this scenario for better.

What is neutral advertising and why it is important?

-Advertising like everything is evolving. In the past the role of advertising was very commercial (direct and fixative tone). Nowadays the consumer is under the spotlight, he is the driver in any choice. For that it is important that aby campaign is strategy-led, everything will follow (gender, media, age etc.)

It is important because this approach focus all the attention on the strategy and not on tools.

How the advent of new players is changing the world of advertising?

-The world of advertising is experiencing big changes. The digital revolution has deeply changed the way the industry is intending advertising. We are living “interesting” times now – I prefer to name like this rather saying “difficult times” – and that means this is something that we have to face/keep into consideration but it also can bring new and interesting opportunities.

What we are seeing is a proliferation of new actors in our industry and this is a positive aspect as this means there is room for new projects or to innovate. There is, more and more, a liquid approach so all aspects of communications are merging or intersecting one with each other. This lead to the naissance of new concepts and campaigns that are always more integrated.

What we need to watch out – and the role of the Associations on this is crucial – is not to lose the focus and not to be confused about the rapidity and the crowdedness of the actual market. Advertising still needs to rely on ideas. The form factor should change (tools, channels, intro of new technologies as AI or VR) but the core have to stay on the idea. Advertising is meant to shift perceptions and build brands: you can do that through powerful ideas not through technology.

What is most important for success in advertising?

-I think not taking anything for granted. To be successful in advertising you need to “stay uncomfortable”, chase the status quo, question things, be curious about the environment and provide insights.

Another key lever to success it’s efficiency: you need to develop a clear and strong strategy together with the right data and insights that will led to an idea that results in tangible outcomes. The more the outcomes are aligned with the business objectives, the more the campaign will be successful.

And finally I strongly believe one very important element to success is time. Time to think, to study, to look at things differently, to have the opportunity to resonate on something.

IF! Italians Festival is the perfect example of a 3-days event where people from our industry – and not – can nurture their minds with tons of inputs, get inspired and then connecting the dots.

What is a new solution for the future of advertising?

– I do not think advertising needs a new solution. I do believe the market is experiencing a changing time but there are some elements that are key and probably that have to refocus. It is the case of people that have to stay in the centre and still remain ad’s killer application. We have to expect to see even more the advent of new and smart technologies – AI will be dominant in the next years – but the human touch will be essential.

What we are seeing in the Association is that all the communication industry is working even more closely with great integrated campaigns and outputs that born from the partnership of different businesses. I do not think we have to wait or ask for something new, simply who will join forces and build together the best pieces will succeed the most.

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