We spoke to a social media influencer and an influencer agency, @allthatisshe and Whalar’s Neil Waller, Head of AI and Innovation at Adobe, Chris Duffey, Chief Creative Officer at Wunderman Thomson, Anthony Reeves, global brand leads, Unilever’s Sophie Galvani and Hesham Tohamy from P&G, and an advocate for women, Cindy Gallop of #makelovenotporn.
Something that came up a lot was passion. People really started to open up on outside on The Terrace: Cindy’s passion about the need for more women in senior industry positions, Sophie’s work with project #ShowUs to increase representation in advertising, Hesham’s desire to build confidence in young women across the world, and Anthony talking about the Harry Potter book created by AI. (The good news? The creative world isn’t going to be taken over by AI, but some of the more mundane tasks might be.)
Of course, purpose came up in pretty much every conversation, too. Purpose has to be consistent, and it has to be authentic – and that applies to social media influencers, and the brands that use them, if they want to be successful.
That means walking the talk, which every brand we heard from on stage was clearly doing. Whether it’s educating girls in China about menstruation (as Always is doing), creating a huge photo library of diverse women (like Dove), or simply being a role model and agent for change (see Cindy’s whole career), talk is nothing without action.
What else needs to change? Platforms and networks need to innovate to improve the online advertising experience for brands and consumers. We need to acknowledge the anger at the lack of female representation in the industry, and do something about it. We need to invest in consumer experience for the long term, and it must be taken seriously. And if we can inject a little more humour into our work, all the better.