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DAC at Ad Age Women to Watch: Leading innovation during crises

DAC at Ad Age Women to Watch: Leading innovation during crises

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

At the Women to Watch conference and awards, Ad Age not only recognises and celebrates the achievements of women who have made strides in advertising and marketing, but focuses on the challenges facing women—and others—in 2020 and beyond.

As part of the program this year, DAC’s Jenna Watson (VP of Digital Media) joined Shake Shack’s Steph So (VP of Digital Experience) and Ad Age’s Heidi Waldusky for an informal fireside chat.

The trio discussed leading innovation during times of crisis, the value of emotional data, and why flexibility and adaptability are the cornerstone of DAC and Shake Shack’s partnership. The full recording is available below, along with the top four takeaways from this enlightening discussion.

  1. Data empowers businesses to adapt faster 💾

    Time is of the essence when innovating during crisis. The biggest question is, “How quickly can the business get where it has to reach?” Businesses need to implement data-driven digital strategies faster than ever before to caters to new expectations in this new normal.

    Steph talked about having to very quickly pivot Shake Shack’s strategies amidst the global pandemic. Like all retailers, Shake Shack had to close all of its physical locations—and its marketing team had to think outside the box to explore all digital options to continue serving Shake Shack’s customers the food (and content) they love.

  2. The right partners drive success 🤝

    When it comes to pushing a new ideas forward, there are three questions that Steph always asks:

    1. Who is your partner?
    2. How flexible is your team?
    3. How fast can you adapt?

    In short, ensuring you have the right partnerships in place is a key component for successfully implementing innovative strategies.

    Business woman studies data on her computer monitor.

    Steph discussed how Shake Shack’s partnership with DAC—and DAC’s data-driven approach, specifically—has allowed her to create and implement new “out of the box” digital strategies to effectively and measurably engage Shake Shack customers during the pandemic. These strategies have allowed Shake Shack to move beyond for its four walls and engage with their audiences wherever they happen to be.

  3. Communication is key 💬

    During a crisis, customer communication quickly becomes every brand’s top priority. With so many things changing at a rapid pace, it’s critical to keep your customers aware of new hours, new policies, precautions, and anything else they may need to know in order to feel like they’re not out of the loop.

    Jenna recommended making real-time updates to ensure customers have access to accurate, optimised information wherever they need it—as long as such solutions are designed to be completely scalable—while Steph reiterated the value of updating Google My Business (GMB) listings in real-time. Jenna also talked about deploying a task force to ensure the Shake Shack team has the most relevant information at the earliest possible.

  4. Everything should be customer-centric 🥰

    Marketing is human! Every marketer is trying to make meaningful connections with their audience. Although data plays an important role, every marketing tactic and strategy should put the customer at the centre. Steph and Jenna both emphasised empathy towards customers; putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.

    Moving beyond sales figures alone, emotional data contextualises information against consumer mindsets. Instead of simply targeting customers to sell your product or service to, emotional data allows businesses to offer customers the digital experiences and solutions most relevant to them.

    Shack Camp by Shake Shack

    Shake Shack’s focus on empathy and emotional data in all their marketing efforts has directly resulted in the brand implementing several innovative solutions, including modified curbside pickup and Shake Camp—featuring a reusable bag full of supplies and exclusive Shake Shack gear.

As they signed off, both Jenna and Steph had some advice for upcoming marketing professionals: empathy and collaboration aren’t just key skills for effective leadership, but are also critical to innovation, especially in times of crisis.

Want to schedule a fireside chat of your very own? We’re always happy to share our insights, make bold predictions, and explain how we drive transformative growth for our clients. Let’s talk.


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