Creativity powered by technology

The world of adverting, marketing and brand development is making use of technology to develop new services, identify trends and simply do things more efficiently and effectively.

In an interview for BDO Dave Caygill, Head of Innovation here at Iris, explains how tapping into technology benefits both agency and client. 


Why did Iris decide to set up The Iris Nursery?

We were increasingly being asked to solve clients’ business problems that were higher up the food chain. Big brands would look around their marketplace and see threats coming from smaller, innovative start-ups. They were asking how to behave and produce output in the way that small, more agile companies do.

We have two outputs in the Nursery. The first is consulting advice. Brands come to us with problems and we go back to them with new business ideas that we help them execute. The second is we find interesting companies and we invest in them. We make small investments in early-stage companies with a view to growing a long-term benefit and to make sure we are involved in some of the latest trends in the AdTech space.

How has technology impacted the advertising sector?

Technology quickly came to play a central role in the process of getting the right messages in front of the right audience – in things like real-time bidding in the media marketplace. Programmatic advertising is the process of monetising the moment that someone is in front of a screen. If you are a publisher, you know from the tracking cookies the value of that person – their income bracket and demographic – and then you can price accordingly. The highest bidder wins the slot.

Looking ahead, how do you see your sector evolving?

You have creative agencies that buy digital media now. You have media agencies that provide creative ideas. You have management consultancies coming up with campaign ideas. Brands essentially just want a trusted partner to work with. So in the medium term I think we are going to see much more blurring of the lines between what an agency does. There will be a lot of reshuffling, rebranding and repositioning of agencies over the coming years, but essentially we will all still be doing roughly the same thing – which is helping businesses to be future-fit and come up with new products and services, and acquire new audiences to sell to.

What does the Government need to do to encourage digitalisation and keep the UK competitive?

In the UK broadband and fibre – not even in particularly rural places – is not very good. Our mobile signals are horrendous. A lot of investment and work needs to be done to enable us to move forwards a lot quicker.

What should UK businesses be doing to become more digital?

Digital is a world that evolves very quickly, and anyone advising or selling services in that world needs to be always evolving and learning. So it’s important to canvas opinion from different organisations and talk to people who don’t have a vested interest in selling you a particular contract or solution. For SMEs, there shouldn’t be an enormous upfront cost to do most things and you should be able to try things to make sure you are making the right decision. Even if you are a big company and want to try out a different workflow or way of operating, find a SaaS [Software as a Service] provider who can do it for a subset of your workforce. If it gives good results, then roll it out.


Want to know about the tech business Caygill is launching in early 2018? Read the full interview via BDO.