Today’s young people are the future of financial literacy

Louise Hill, co-founder of gohenry, talks to us about why she believes the future of financial literacy is in the hands of how brands support and engage with young people today.

For me, financial literacy is simply being good with money—and we all know that the habits we learn when we’re young tend to stick with us.

Another foundational financial literacy belief is that the best way to learn most things is by doing, especially when it comes to good money management.

As co-founder of a business that helps young people to engage directly with their money, I’m always conscious that what we’re doing is creating the financially fit adults of the future. This is our responsibility as a brand working in this space.

We’re working to lead the way, but there’s plenty of opportunity for other brands to support the goal of creating financially fit adults … and we hope they will!

Here are my top tips on shaping financially fit adults:

Start early

With the experts at Cambridge University confirming our view that money management habits start early—it’s age seven, apparently—we have to help children and young people be excited about money management.

Money habits that are started early will shape longer-term behaviours, meaning what today’s young people learn now will inform their relationship with money in later life. We want to help them emerge as money confident adults.

Get involved

The job of teaching money to young people seems to get slightly passed around. Is it the job of schools alongside the whole curriculum they have to cover? Is it society at large? Is it brands? Is it parents? Is it older siblings?

The truth is: it will probably take a little bit of everybody coming together and putting in a concerted effort.

Not every child is fortunate enough to live in a home where they will be taught essential money skills. Nowadays, fintech is able to step in to help bridge the gap. It’s an abstract concept that has a big impact on everyday life, and technology is helping us to break it down.

We can and have created safe environments where young people can use money in the digital world and experience money in the way they will as adults: e.g. shopping online, using contactless, managing budgets, setting savings goals, and donating to charity.

It is also an opportunity for financial services brands and educators to collaborate and think differently—about the message, as well as how to get it to the right people.

Money maturity

Today’s young people definitely seem more mature and this translates directly into their money behaviours. We can see the mature and sensible decisions that they are making everyday.

They are saving, checking their balances, and—crucially—spending accordingly. Our Youth Economy report shows that Gen Z save three times more than the UK household savings average, and that this has also increased during the recent lockdown.

Rewarding and acknowledging these behaviours will help to embed them for the longer term and ensure they shine through when the bigger financial decisions have to be made in the future.

Conscious money

Not only are Gen Z mature with their money but they are environmentally and socially conscious too. There is a big demand from them to be able to make decisions that are socially good.

Brands need to respond to this. Earlier this year, we at gohenry launched our Eco Card—a prepaid Visa debit card made from field corn rather than fuel—to help in the fight against plastic pollution. It’s already one of our most popular cards. 

Alongside this is a growing positive attitude around giving. Our Giving feature on gohenry—which enables children to make automatic micro donations from their pocket money to our charity partner, the NSPCC—has seen our young users donate over £100,000 to the charity since our partnership began in 2018.

This decision-making about how and why they should donate is happening alongside managing their everyday money needs—again, helping to create consumers who are not only conscious of their own money but of how money impacts the world around them.

Digitally-native money

The generation we’re working with have grown up as digital natives, and this translates into their experiences with money too. Only 14% of the money gohenry users have access to is taken out as cash at ATMs, which gives us a strong indication of where society is heading.

Gen-Z will be our first cashless generation—a title which has only been emphasised by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to this, they are used to having information on demand and expect this when it comes to knowing the latest on their spending, balance and money health too.

Our instant information alerts help them to make informed decisions: this investment in good decision making and education is an area where we will see a palpable difference between the brands who will make an impact and those who will struggle.

Today’s young people are saving and checking their balances. The gohenry app helps track saving goals

Technology translates

I believe strongly that technology is an enabler of financial literacy and that the work of fintechs in this space will continue to create positivechange. The ultimate aim is that this leads to more financially-literate, independent and money-positive people. Technology translates the concepts and habits needed to become ‘good’ with money by using visuals, games and behavioural nudges.It brings opportunities to manage money in a way no generation has had before and has opened up these opportunities to more people than ever before.As this change continues to evolve and quickens in pace I see that there are two clear options for brands: stand up and be involved in creating their future consumer—or fall behind.

gohenry is a prepaid Visa debit card and app for kids aged 6-18 years old. With over one million global customers, they are on a mission to make every kid good with money and are firm believers that the best way of doing this is by empowering young people to learn by doing in a safe environment.


Three tips for creating magical brand experiences

In a new book on marketing from Facebook’s EMEA Client Council, Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge discusses Safaricom’s approach to creating brand experiences. Here, she explains why they matter and offers practical advice on how to craft them.

To read Mulinge’s chapter in full, plus contributions from 21 other top marketers, download your free copy of Build Brilliant Brands.

Why do you think brand experience is so important?

The individual customer experience is critical for retention, whether that’s through their everyday encounters with different products and services or their conversations with a brand online.

In service categories in particular, if you repeatedly fail to meet customers’ everyday expectations, they’ll quickly look to move elsewhere, and comparison sites make this easier than ever before.

To create true differentiation and generate loyalty, marketers need to create brand experiences that also clearly link to a purpose.

What are your top three tips for crafting experiences?

1. Approach customer experience through the lens of a brand. This allows you to link experiences directly to your brand purpose. To stand out in a category and ensure that you don’t end up being generic, you need to start with what you stand for.

Experience fuelled by purpose will be authentic, and authenticity gives you a better chance at building lasting relationships with your customers. This in turn helps you achieve deeper brand loyalty and greater customer satisfaction.

Find the intersection between your brand purpose and your customer insight and then build your experience from there. At Safaricom, the largest telecommunications provider in Kenya, we aim to ensure that our unique brand purpose of “Everything we do, we do for you” ties into every experience that consumers have with the brand.

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Ask yourself about the experience the customer is having

2. Be the custodian of customer insights. Once you have your insights and data, you can leverage that to build distinct experiences that are memorable and deliver on your brand purpose.

Remember that every touchpoint is an opportunity for you to create something memorable for your customer. So, from the point of discovery to when they make a purchase, ask yourself about the experience the customer is having.

Deconstruct the customer journey, make a decision about how each touchpoint will play out and then reconstruct it so that each point in that journey counts.

3. Put empathy at the heart of everything you do.

Empathy allows you to understand the customer’s context and bring them into the room. You must then link back to your brand purpose, asking how is this relevant to us as a company?


Three ways to make your business more inclusive

In a new book on marketing from Facebook’s EMEA Client Council, Karina Wilsher CEO of global ad agency Anomaly encourages leaders to take personal responsibility for diversity and inclusion in their organisations. She describes three steps businesses should be taking. To read her chapter in full, plus contributions from 21 other top marketers, download your free copy of Build Brilliant Brands.

1. Commit from the top

Company culture comes from the top, so leaders must make a real commitment to taking action and driving representation and inclusivity at all times. To foster a really strong culture, leaders need to create constant and consistent messaging about the company’s values so that employees can understand and live by them. You can’t see this as just a task for HR. We’re talking about commercial success, creativity, innovation, and recruiting and retaining the very best talent.

At Anomaly, we hold ourselves accountable with specific and measurable commitments to improve diverse representation of all types, at all levels, and track and report our employee diversity data.

Crucially, we partner with external organisations with the expertise and networks to help us recruit, such as ADCOLOR, Creative Equals, MAIP, Creative Access and Women in Innovation (WIN). We’re already seeing progress: around 47% of the people we hired last year in the USA were Black, indigenous, or people of colour (BIPOC).

2. Be aware of bias and find your blind spots

While culture comes from the top, diversity, and more importantly inclusion, is a task for everyone. We all need to do the work to self-educate. Companies also need to provide the right environment for everyone to feel appreciated. Running unconscious bias and sexual harassment training programmes doesn’t equal “job done” – they are hygiene factors. You need to create an open culture where people can feel comfortable enough to be themselves, as well as recognise their own biases and blind spots.

Above all else, you have to recognise that if you do not intentionally include, you will unintentionally exclude.

This is so much bigger than just creating a diverse talent pool—it’s about recognising the power that comes from working without biases. When people come together with different perspectives, magic happens.

3. Create a culture of collaboration and cultivate curiosity

At Anomaly, we have built a highly collaborative culture. It’s not about your sex, race, age, background—it’s about how good you are.

Our internal ways of working—our own “operating system”—is built for collaboration, with no department being the central powerbase and without hierarchy of discipline or skillset. Creating a culture of inclusion will ensure that people feel valued, otherwise they won’t stick around. And in order to unlock high performance and true creativity, it’s essential for people to feel confident that they can be themselves at work.

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It’s not about your sex, race, age, background—it’s about how good you are

We do a lot to celebrate the differences among our own employees. We’ve made an internal commitment to ongoing programmes designed to create trust and empathy and drive wider cultural appreciation. We have internal teams dedicated to shifting the narrative and spotlighting societal issues, as well as celebrating different communities.

Whether it’s by hosting musical talent, keynotes panels, Q and A sessions, storytelling slams or art shows, our cultural programmes are designed to educate and inspire everyone at Anomaly, as well as help ensure that under-represented groups reach their full potential.

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How to capture demand through the power of signals

The economic impact of COVID-19 is not a conventional economic downturn. While recessions are typically felt broadly, across all sectors of the economy, and in every region, this pandemic has brought disproportionate difficulty to some industries while proving a boon to others. Likewise, while some cities and states closed down almost entirely, others remained open and ready for business.

Among the questions marketers face, as they continue to compete for growth and share in this environment, are not just “when” to turn campaigns back on but “where.” How can they be ready for what promises to be an uneven recovery? Broad, national campaigns are of limited use if large parts of the nation cannot — or are reluctant to — buy their product or service. Given the current uncertainty, even managing campaigns on a state-by-state basis will unlikely provide enough granularity and focus to be truly efficient.

The jagged impact of COVID-19 has highlighted the critical importance of being able to identify surges in local demand.

There are, however, good reasons for marketers to be optimistic. Because today it’s possible for marketers to identify, find, and act on insights in real time and at scale while respecting people’s preferences for privacy.

The jagged impact of COVID-19 has highlighted the critical importance of being able to identify surges in local demand, as well as the ability to flex both your marketing and your product offering to capture them. Businesses that have managed to adapt in this way find themselves not only better able to ride out the fluctuations in the short term but also better prepared and ready for whatever comes next.

Lean into the data to refine your focus on demand

One well-known restaurant chain that had previously run national campaigns realized that, with such an uneven picture unfolding across the country, there was value in switching to a narrower geographical approach. The restaurant’s brand team refined their focus on demand by responding to an uptick in searches for, “when will restaurants reopen?”

They began treating each restaurant as a distinct location with a specific radius around it. If interest in that location began to rise, the chain took it as a strong indicator that people were emerging from lockdown, and used automation to activate advertising campaigns. If interest subsided, the advertising was paused.

No one data source, no matter how strong, can provide all the answers.

While this may sound simple, the chain in question has more than 700 locations in the U.S. alone. Managing such a strategy manually at that scale would have been impossible. By using automation, they were ready to respond quickly to signs of local demand, whenever and wherever they emerged.

This example also serves to show how insights generated through local marketing activity can be valuable to the wider business. Using search as a barometer for demand helped the chain understand which locations could be opened profitably and how to staff them accordingly.

No one data source, no matter how strong, can provide all the answers. Key for marketers is to combine the information they have with other sources to generate better insights. Making smart use of their customer data — about pricing, loyalty, and seasonality, for example — can help provide a much deeper understanding of what consumers are looking for. With a broader set of data points, machine learning solutions can better identify insights in consumer patterns.

Maintain user privacy while delivering helpful experiences

At Google, we’re also exploring a range of other approaches to improve user privacy, while ensuring publishers can earn what they need to fund great content, and advertisers can reach the right people for their products. For example, we support the use of advertiser and publisher first-party data (based on direct interactions with customers they have relationships with) to deliver more relevant and helpful experiences — as long as users have transparency and control over the use of that data.

Adding even one additional source of information in this way can provide a clearer lens to observe consumer patterns. Due to the pandemic, driving in the U.S. fell by almost 40% in April. One leading insurer incorporated aggregated and anonymized traffic data from public sources, such as state governments, to identify mobility trends. How, where, and when traffic volume returns to its previous level can be seen, to some degree, in the number of searches for car insurance, but that would leave the insurer trying to catch potential customers at the very last minute of their journey. With a more rounded and balanced data set, the team can see earlier where traffic is returning and respond with more comprehensive marketing plans.

The purchase journey is not, nor has it ever been, a linear journey.

These examples refer to assessing demand in a single area, but what about businesses like airlines that connect from one location to another? The team at a major U.S. airline used aggregated data from searches on Google Flights to identify routes with low click share and high search demand. They then used those information cues, in combination with their own data around resources and capacity, to prioritize the reopening of some routes over others.

The purchase journey is not, nor has it ever been, a linear journey. Google’s “Decoding Decisions” research found that between trigger and purchase/action, people go through multiple stages of looking for information about a category’s brands and products, and weighing all of their options. We call this the “messy middle,” a space of abundant information and unlimited choice that shoppers manage, using a range of cognitive shortcuts. Successfully learning how to navigate the switchbacks, hairpin turns, and dead ends of the messy middle will be as crucial to future marketing success as any investment in technology or platforms.

The data and tools now available to marketers make it possible to move quickly — and at meaningful scale — to identify and act upon many little pockets of consumer behavior regardless of where they crop up. Winning these small local opportunities in the short term, while learning how to build robust but nimble data strategies wherever they operate long term, will allow businesses to be ready for whatever comes next.

David Kaul

David Kaul

Director of Measurement & Analytics at Google

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How brands can live out their values and respond to the new normal

Yessenia Morales is VP, global partnerships at Kinesso/IPG and co-chair of IPG’s Women’s Leadership Network. Here she shares how brands can begin to make a meaningful difference through action grounded in the values they espouse, promote, and stand behind.

We live in unprecedented times. And with all that’s already happened across the globe in 2020, it’s easy to forget that we’re only halfway through the year. But one thing has remained constant and is more true today than ever: the need for advertisers to deliver actionable change.

Brands can no longer use traditional media as vehicles to simply exist in the marketplace. Instead, brands must evolve to live out and act on their values within these platforms.

Brands must consider, absorb, and reflect the real-world experiences and events that surround them.

What this means is simple: Brands must consider, absorb, and reflect the real-world experiences and events that surround them. This requires brands to continuously evolve and respond to the new normal through action grounded in the values that they espouse, promote, and stand behind.

Where can brands even begin?

Step 1: Project ‘clean house’

Most global brands have a multitude of ad and marketing campaigns that they recycle year after year. But that’s not the height of effective advertising and marketing anymore. Instead, brands need to evaluate what their portfolio of offerings represents: Is it attuned to what’s happening globally? Does it reinforce or conflict with our brand values?

This can’t be an annual, quarterly, or even monthly exercise. It should be a daily effort to discover opportunities for actionable change to pivot how a brand goes to market. Here are some quick tips and resources for how brands can make it happen.

Daily actions to discover opportunities for change

4 illustrated icons with captions, Evaluate, Eliminate, Listen, and Say, that illustrate the 4 bullet points below.

Think with Google


  • Continuously evaluate brand imagery, collateral, communications and core objectives, internally and externally.
  • Eliminate content that doesn’t reflect well on your brand or that’s become outdated due to external events. (Yes, even if you’ve had that brand mark for a really long time).
  • Listen to feedback from your consumers and employees. Digital media provides a lot of raw, instant feedback as a timely indicator of how your brand is perceived. These insights are only a scroll or a swipe away.
  • Say what you mean. Act on what you say. Any brand can claim to live its values, but how are you putting that into action? Using the current movement for racial justice as an example, the ask is simple: Afford people the same treatment and opportunities regardless of race. As a woman of color myself, I can’t emphasize enough how truly critical and important it is for us all to act to make this a reality.

Step 2: Use your brand resources

We live in a data-driven world. Use these resources not only to identify who may purchase your next product or offering, but to measure your brands’ progression on making actionable change. Are you maintaining a balance of representative talent across your organization and within leadership roles? Are you closing the pay gap across genders, race, and abilities? Are your products or offerings targeting consumers appropriately?

Brands should use data to tailor experiences that deliver your offering to the appropriate audiences.

I’m proud to say IPG has made tremendous strides in moving beyond the traditional age/sex/gender targeting model by no longer using it, as an organization. Instead, we offer brands an addressable audience strategy that prioritizes effective media and creative campaigns. There’s always still room to grow, but I take pride in this example of how we’ve implemented actionable change.

According to an article in Women’s Wear Daily, brands who supplied educational or financial resources in response to the Black Lives Matter movement saw tremendous increases of engagement with consumers who were sharing and promoting their content. This shift shows how “viva voce,” or word-of-mouth, marketing can be as simple as a brand taking a stance on a topic that’s important to their consumers.

And while it’s great for brands to take a stance, the work doesn’t end there.

Step 3: Create change

Get comfortable being uncomfortable. In recent weeks, many of us have experienced a multitude of emotions. Moments of pain, hurt, anger, fear, and frustration have brought to the forefront topics and discussions that for too long have been compartmentalized, brushed aside, or avoided altogether.

Now is the time to have honest conversations within our organizations.

Now is our time to change this dynamic. Now is the time to have honest conversations within our organizations, with our employees, with our consumers, with our politicians, and with anyone who is committed to creating an inclusive environment and society for everyone.

Educate yourself. The racial divide in our world is real. As an industry, we must break down the silos that our practices have helped uphold and pave the way for future generations to flourish. Here are a few educational tips all organizations and brands can take advantage of.

  • Continue to be teachable. While it’s hard to break old habits, you must be adaptable to change and evolution.
  • Vigilantly monitor yourself. This holds true at an individual, brand, and organizational level. Your actions as a brand and organization will essentially show others your “true colors.”
  • Learn the history. There is a slew of materials to read online to help you understand why so many people of color are frustrated to the breaking point. My favorites include “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, and “How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi.

Aspire to allyship. Being an ally isn’t as simple as announcing you are one; it’s a trusted role that has to be earned from groups you are supporting. And remember: You never “arrive” as an ally or advocate; allyship requires ongoing listening, education, and meaningful practice.


Yessenia Morales

VP of Global Partnerships at Kinesso/IPG and Co-Chair of IPG Women’s Leadership Network


Navigating uncertainty: What brands can do now

GroupM’s Rachel Falco, managing partner and director, and Frank Puma, managing director, share steps brands can take now to be ready for whatever comes next.

Uncertainty has been one of the defining characteristics of 2020 for consumers and businesses alike. With coronavirus cases rising again across much of the world and political uncertainty in the U.S., brands are again asking themselves how to be ready for unforeseen circumstances and shifting consumer sentiment.

Despite the U.S. election result having been decided, there is skepticism regarding the outcome. But that skepticism existed even before Election Day. According to a recent YouGov poll, 47% of people didn’t believe the election would be “fair and honest,” and 50% believed people would disagree on who was legitimately elected.

Increased news coverage, polarized social conversation, and potential social unrest is the reality we need to now navigate. The choices a company makes under these circumstances must be done in a careful and customized manner, taking risk tolerance and other key factors into account. Should you distance from, or lean into, political conversations? Future-thinking strategies can help marketers chart the path forward and make balanced decisions consistent with their brand values.

At GroupM, we’ve been planning and preparing with our clients for this period of uncertainty. Here’s our road map.

Implement additional stewardship and protocols

To avoid controversial content, it’s important to quickly establish additional stewardship considerations and protocols across channels.

Social media continues to be an environment engulfed in opposing views. While many platforms are working to create safe environments for brands — including putting more measures in place to stop the spread of misinformation — there are still humans involved in the conversations and content published. This makes it essential to navigate social conversations with keyword and contextual alignment, in some cases working with a third-party brand suitability partner (like IAS, DoubleVerify, Moat, OpenSlate, and Pixability) to protect your brand from content you wish to avoid. Additionally, regular review of verification settings and reevaluation of the social climate and campaign performance will likely be necessary.

Beyond social, we’re guiding our partners to begin increased screening of programming, particularly late night and talk shows, as well as news magazine channels. It will also be important to monitor additional pod positioning around programming adjacent to political coverage. Consider developing an enhanced content inclusion/exclusion list, with suitable partners and environments, in the event a change in media investment is warranted.

Marketers should proactively align on reinvestment scenarios now, to execute quickly should media disruptions continue.

Align on reinvestment scenarios

Across national TV, we are seeing a surge in news coverage resulting in preemptions of regularly scheduled programming. As we look toward the future, all signs point to continued disruption of network schedules. And many broadcast partners have not developed contingency plans to manage this increase in preemptions.

Marketers should proactively align on reinvestment scenarios now, to execute quickly should media disruptions continue. Identify the safe content environments that best align with your plan goals. Can volume and reach be replaced with a next best alternative? If so, it’s worth considering and planning out where your dollars will be spent to maintain that reach. If not, what trade-offs are to be expected? Assess the options to replan media weight and spending, and then consider how that may impact existing plans and objectives.

Since negative sentiment may surround the election, brands will need to evaluate whether their tone and creative are relevant to consumers in the moment.

Reevaluate and optimize creative

Creative assessments have become even more important since November 3. The fourth quarter marks an important time for retail and the holiday season. Since negative sentiment may surround the election, brands will need to evaluate whether their tone and creative are relevant to consumers in the moment. How much, or little, needs to change?

It’s important to begin navigating discussions about the development of a creative optimization strategy. This includes alignment on alternative creative use and rights should the creative fail to resonate or receive backlash mid-campaign. The ability to add, cancel, or change copy by individual market or region may also take on increasing importance across local and digital buys.

This is a challenging environment. The media is in uncharted territory. People are understandably anxious. And marketers are steering their brands through it all. With all of the uncertainty we are facing, it’s pivotal for investment and strategy teams to rethink their readiness plan today.

If you would like to learn more about YouTube’s commitments to brand safety and suitability, please visit

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Rachel Falco

Managing Partner-Director at GroupM

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Frank Puma

Managing Director at GroupM


The future of commerce is here. Are you ready?

Ali Amarsy, SVP of global product strategy at Publicis Commerce, shares how brands can optimize their end-to-end commerce strategy to be future-ready today.

COVID-19 has catapulted us into the future. In 2020, global e-commerce sales growth jumped three years in the first three months of stay-at-home mandates, with a share of overall retail matching 2023 predictions.1 In the U.S. alone, more money was spent online during April and May than the last 12 Cyber Mondays combined.

Huge shifts in consumer behavior have left many businesses, often working in outdated systems and processes, faced with new challenges as they try to capture increased demand. In this dynamic market, end-to-end commerce management is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s essential. Much like how “digital strategy” has moved from the last slide in a pitch deck 10 years ago to being the foundation of everything we do today, commerce must now become a core competency for all businesses.

At Publicis Commerce, we’ve been leading our clients through the digital acceleration necessary to navigate these unpredictable times, seize new opportunities, and be ready for what’s next. Here are some of the steps we’re taking to implement future-forward, winning commerce strategies.

3 illustrations represent the steps to improving commerce strategies: Assess maturity and set goals. Break down silos and share data. Optimize on a loop.

Assess maturity and set measurable goals

For companies looking to ramp up investment in end-to-end commerce management, we recommend starting with an honest audit of your capabilities. A commerce maturity assessment — of your organizational structure, operations, category, momentum, and more — starts an informed conversation, establishes where the organization stands, and clearly maps out the tools and processes necessary to reach the next level. An executive sponsor, like the chief digital officer, can help champion this process, driving a credible agenda and influencing necessary change across all levels of the business.

A commerce maturity assessment can especially help establish a shared scoreboard, with common goals and consistent measurement. For many clients, their assessments inform media budgeting models and major bi-annual media decisions, which then inform day-to-day implementation and optimization. When COVID-19 hit, one of our CPG clients, spanning multiple regions and categories, was able to quickly identify one specific action each of its brands could adopt across local markets to continue optimizing sales. A unified measurement platform and quarterly tracking has allowed both client and agency teams around the globe to maintain a holistic view of progress, regardless of unique and fluctuating market dynamics.

Silos ultimately transfer to the agency structure, which can lead to a disjointed customer narrative.

Break down silos and share data

Client organizations are usually built in silos and make decisions as separate entities, despite engaging the same audiences. These silos ultimately transfer to the agency structure, which can lead to a disjointed customer narrative. Remember, while our aim is to drive sales, it’s also to make the purchase process simple and consistent across multiple brand interactions.

In our experience, agency teams that are briefed as one, ideate as one, and sit as one deliver more seamless brand experiences. At Publicis Commerce, we bring people together from different functions across our agency in one “room” to tap their expertise and align on KPIs. Since everyone sees data from different parts of the business, this sync helps us put the pieces together and extract powerful insights, be it from digital media, offline sales, or site analytics.

At every briefing and ideation session, a commerce expert, familiar with a client’s sales data and analytics, is present. They help challenge our partners to think about what specific commerce outcomes can be driven, regardless of campaign type. Since commerce tools are now available across social and through embedded technologies, these specialists can inform each brief with specific channel mechanisms and metrics.

Pull all partners into one “room” or group to reduce the effect of silos and drive alignment. Integrate data across sales and media channels.

We encourage our clients to evaluate their own systems and procedures. Pull all partners into one “room” or group to reduce the effect of silos and drive alignment. Integrate data across sales and media channels. Share best practices across teams and partners, and monitor the competitive scene to see what’s relevant.

Getting to this level of data fluidity has not only led to consistent double-digit e-commerce growth for certain brands, it’s empowered our aforementioned CPG client to better negotiate data sharing with key retailers, forming a mutually beneficial foundation for a more informed and impactful e-commerce strategy.

Optimize on a loop

Our typical marketing culture involves evaluating performance one campaign at a time. Agencies, including ours, are guilty of this. We know the e-commerce business doesn’t operate on a schedule; consumer data flows nonstop. So why aren’t we applying this continuous learning, optimizing campaigns throughout their cycles?

The true benefit of end-to-end commerce is achieved when the ends meet and become a constantly running loop. One of our large electronics clients operates its e-commerce operation with our agency embedded at every step. We track media analytics, social campaigns, merchant feeds, supply chain indicators, and inventory, shifting campaigns in real-time based on a holistic view of all data. There is no beginning or end, just a continuous drive to improve the consumer experience and optimize sales.

The new purchase journey is an ongoing loop, and businesses must adapt in the process. Scale what strikes a chord with customers. Track major commerce trends and ongoing performance as a team. This shift builds an entrepreneurial culture, with a constant test-and-learn attitude more akin to a startup than a Fortune 500 business unit. It has fundamentally reshaped the agency-client relationship, and our approach to the end consumer as well.

Businesses no longer have the luxury of planning for the e-commerce revolution; it’s here and building momentum.

Businesses no longer have the luxury of planning for the e-commerce revolution; it’s here and building momentum. Adapting to shifting consumer behaviors and transforming complex organizations may seem daunting, but we’ve seen clients successfully make the change. Audit and organize around measurable goals; break down silos and share data; and use that data to continuously optimize the customer experience. The future of commerce, and your sales recovery, depends on it.

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Ali Amarsy

SVP of Global Product Strategy at Publicis Commerce

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How can a business thrive during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Businesses can still succeed in this changing landscape, but companies must decide whether to take an aggressive or conservative stance with capital.

In the current climate, business leaders may be feeling they’ve never faced tougher decisions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on capital investment plans. But despite the uncertain environment, executives will need to decide soon, if they haven’t already, whether to source funding for business growth in 2021 or take a more conservative approach with their capital.

“Businesses that thrived during the extreme acid test of the first lockdown have reason to be ambitious in their outlook and with
their investment over the winter”. 

“This is a very uncertain time for businesses and it’s hard to predict the way the economy will fare, particularly as this recession isn’t necessarily following normal trends,” says Michelle Ovens, chair of the Small Business Charter. However, there are still opportunities for growth potential, she says. “Businesses that thrived during the extreme acid test of the first lockdown have reason to be ambitious in their outlook and with their investment over the winter,” says Ovens.

But others, including Andrew Oury, partner at accountancy and legal firm Oury Clark, believe now is not the time for businesses to invest aggressively in expanding their business, by growing employee numbers or through bolt-on acquisitions, for example. He says many businesses seem to be underestimating the length and financial depth of the current crisis.

“It’s entirely dependent on an organisation’s sector and market positioning but, in general, I would say companies need to be hanging onto their capital as best they can, given this situation is far from over,” he says.

There are certainly some sectors that have fared better than others throughout the challenges posed by the pandemic and which might be more inclined to seek funding for business growth or expand geographic reach. Technology is one sector that has seemingly flourished during the pandemic, while the travel and tourism industry has suffered from bans on international travel.

“If your business specialises in retail, has negligible cash reserves and diminishing revenue, now is probably not the time to be aggressive,” says Andy Cristin, consultant financial director at Pareto FD. “However, businesses in relatively stable sectors with access to cash should be looking to expand as they come out of the survival phase of this crisis.”

UK manufacturer Alloy Wire International (AWI) has invested more than £1.2 million in the past six months in a combination of material, new machines and in the development of its offices in the West Midlands, representing almost 10 per cent of its annual turnover, says managing director Mark Venables.

AWI supplies more than 5,000 clients in 55 countries and is growing its client base despite the pandemic, which means it needs to maintain stock levels. “The business prides itself on being employee owned, so the major financial decisions we make have to be agreed by the staff who work here and would only be taken if it means putting the company in a stronger position to meet existing customer demand and to target new growth opportunities,” says Venables.

Aaron Auld, chief executive of Exasol, says the analytics database company is planning to continue being aggressive in its approach over the next year and has already sourced funding for business growth. It became only the second company to complete a virtual initial public offering in Europe in 2020, raising €87.5 million and was Germany’s first listing this year when it made its stock market debut in May.

“We are a global player, and our growth plans reflect that. And the challenges that organisations are facing in the current climate present a great opportunity for us to be aggressive in how we do it,” says Auld.

Another UK-based company that has chosen to be aggressive with its capital in the face of the pandemic is engineering solutions provider Deritend. Its long-term strategy is to create “centres of operational excellence” in each of its key geographic areas, according to chief executive Richard Hale.

He says the sector is often the first to go into recession and then the first to show signs of recovery, a pattern that has held true in the past few months. “COVID-19 did make us consider whether to press on with the investment, but the overwhelming decision was to take the down-time and use it to our advantage, going through the reorganisation process while customer interest was reduced,” says Hale.

Some companies, smaller businesses in particular, simply are not seeking funding for business growth in 2021 because they think the investment is not available.

“There is a perception among startups that all venture capitalists, corporates and so on aren’t investing, so startups are either shutting down or selling their businesses; this is not sustainable,” says Rakesh Narayana, global director of RB Ventures, Reckitt Benckiser’s new corporate venture capital arm.

“The investment and ventures arm of RB has been evolving over recent years, but most recently we launched the RB Fight for Access Fund. We are putting a much greater importance on making selective investments in startups and businesses with the ability to have a world-changing impact,” he says, adding that the economic backdrop is the reason why the company is forging ahead with its ventures arm.

“The crisis has presented investment opportunities for many businesses, particularly in the food and tech sectors, and for some businesses, now is the perfect time to consider seeking investment in the form of mergers and acquisitions and private equity,” according to Debbie Jackson, partner in the corporate team at law firm Walker Morris.

Jackson says many businesses will now have a greater understanding of how they can run most cost effectively, which puts them in a good position to secure funding for business growth from a private equity firm, for example. In other words, now is the time to take stock.

Gary Griffiths, co-founder and managing director of Wisdom, a venture capital firm, says one of its portfolio companies, graphic design software provider Canvas GFX, has demonstrated it can be both aggressive and conservative with capital. “In our portfolio, most companies have done the same: conservative with spending, while being aggressive in defining new markets and new opportunities,” he says.

Excerpt from Raconteur Business Growth & Recovery special report published in The TIMES.  

Gen Z

Abiola Olaore couldn’t find a good financial literacy community—so she built one

Abiola Olaore is the founder of Active Budgeter, an award-winning money management community platform on a mission to help young people with their money. The community group shares experiences, support and interacts with each other to reach money goals.

The community has reached over 26 countries and continues to grow with over 5,000 community members. Abiola is here to talk to us about what motivated her to launch the community and what she’s learnt so far.

The start of the Active Budgeter community was very personal. I wanted more information about how to build my finances and I wasn’t finding any platforms that spoke about money in an engaging and easy-to-read way.

Also, seeing the negative impacts of people experiencing difficult financial situations such as divorce and mental health struggles motivated me to take action. I wanted to do something to help others avoid such situations and become more financially literate.

I built Active Budgeter in 2017 as a community platform. It continues to grow with a key focus on helping Gen-Z and Millennials to achieve more with their money. Our recent focus has been on supporting our generation through an accountability campaign, My Money 2030, which asks people to think about their money over the next ten years.

Whilst lots of brands work in this space, what is different about Active Budgeter is our community: we have open conversations, inspire each other, and work together to achieve our money goals regardless of location.

Today, I am sharing some of the lessons I have learned so far about creating a community focused on financial literacy.

Knowledge is power

I want all Active Budgeters to feel as if they know where they are going—and not experience the same kind of frustrations I did when it came to finding relevant content and advice on money management.

Too much of the content you can find online is still lengthy and technical. This is especially at odds with younger generations who want digestible content in digital formats.

Ultimately, understanding the basics of money is power and having a vision of where it is going can help keep you motivated. No matter how much you have or where you are coming from, it is possible to improve your financial life.

Now is the time to think differently

There is too much of a taboo around money management. Being an Active Budgeter disrupts that mindset and champions people talking openly about money.

Money management shouldn’t be stigmatised. Eliminating negative connotations is key here: such as that a lack of having an emergency fund means one is bad with money.

It pays to start young

The focus at the moment within the Active Budgeter community is specifically on Gen-Z and Millennials. People in this age group make a lot of very important financial choices, often at a point in their lives when they haven’t yet gathered all of the information and knowledge that they need in order to make informed decisions.

For me, as somebody that sits right in the middle of these generations, I know their frustrations first hand. I want to be a part of a generation of change.

Over the years, I have found that brands also seem to struggle when it comes to communicating with younger audiences. Each generation has a different way of communicating and it is important to be in tune with that.

Brands can engage through the use of emojis, simple text, building a community of users and publishing image-led content to attract young people. The traditional lengthy, technical, black and white text approach does not work.

The unique part of this approach is that it allows for brands to keep their customers engaged long term.

Long-term thinking

Active Budgeter is running a campaign right now called My Money 2030. This campaign encourages young people to be accountable to their 2030 money goals.

Each member is given access to an exclusive 10 year worksheet that automatically calculates how far they are towards reaching their 2030 goal.

Actively encouraging everyone to create a plan for how they would like for their money to grow long term is a powerful and exciting move. When we plan long-term, it helps to shift how we behave financially and motivates us to think differently about money.

In many respects the same applies to brands and how they think about their customers. How will today’s young people be shaping their finances for the future? And how can marketers engage with them now and for the longer-term?

Overall, I just want young people to enjoy the process of working towards their ultimate money goal and get creative whilst reaching it.

During this journey, one will continuously be growing, learning, and building their personal wealth in the way that suits their preferred lifestyle.

Remember, money management should not be a lonely journey. Engage with like minded people who are on a similar mission.

The Active Budgeter community is always open, especially as part of the My Money 2030 accountability challenge. Interested? Click here to join.