An open and connected world


An open and connected world

Global Data

By Jose Gutiérrez Cuellar, global client technology director, Havas Media Group

I was very fortunate not only to present at, but also to close the day at the Big Media summit last week, an event organized by the Autonomous University of Madrid and IBM. 

The event had a clear objective: to illustrate how data can be leveraged and explored to obtain insights for the media and communications world, with technology as a facilitator.

When I saw the panelists who had been invited and the agenda, I thought to myself, “About time!”
These kinds of events tend to be too research-heavy, with not enough practical cases applied to real business challenges and opportunities.

Yet, several hours in, I had heard the phrase ‘Big Data’ about 200 times. Again I was attending a conference with too many ideas and too few real, business-led examples of the implementation of data. 

I don’t have too much more to say on this. Other than you can be sure that, if panelists are quoting ‘Big Data’, the audience will ask some questions around it and then the whole thing will fade away, with very few of us any the wiser. No-one in our industry is new to this ‘Big Data’ hype … and I’ll save more of my personal opinion on this for another day.

But then someone asked a very good question: “Why are brands more concerned about their 40,000 followers on Facebook than their 2 million + weekly TV audiences?”

“This is finally about to get interesting,” I thought to myself. Yet the ensuing response from the panel was yet again bland and generic.

I must admit, I wanted to grab the microphone and scream: “Because those 40,000 fans – they are not just ‘consumers’ – are connected to over 1 billion others on the platform!”

Which leads me back to the data part. The digital revolution that we are experiencing is leaving a data trail, where velocity, variety and volume is transforming ‘Big Data’ – yes, there’s that dreaded phrase again, sorry - into social data. (We also like to call it here #PeopleData).

And I’ll make my point again: Consumers, or ambassadors, are a simple click away from millions of other people - in real-time. That means a single negative or positive comment on any social network can kill or make a brand or a product. The scale of the opportunity today is unrivalled in history.

The communication between brands and consumers (or ambassadors) is set to explode. Product features are no longer the key to sales.  Consumers want more. They want products to provide collective and personal benefits. Those brands that provide such value are more meaningful, and they derive clear economic benefits from being perceived as such, too, outperforming their competitors in the stock market by 120%, as we proved in our Meaningful Brands study.

All this means that algorithms will shape the world, as I briefly explain in a previous blog post.

So, for me, a data-driven world will work better together. That is my answer to more or less any question around personal data being shared across devices and brands. We are slowly heading into this new era, the era of openness and collaboration.

A clear example of this is Tesla Motors’ ‘Open Patents Policy’. I was delighted to read about this initiative whereby Tesla is sharing all of its innovation in regards to electric cars openly via the internet.

What do they want in return? They want the industry to use their learning and their intellectual property to further evolve the electric car industry. For me, this is a clear indication of the ‘better together’ philosophy.
Yet, I have seen plenty of backlash around this. People are railing against this bold Tesla initiative. My view is that a lot of brands are scared. They are feeling forced into this new connected world.

Frankly, though, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the ones that are most adaptable to change”. Those aren’t my words, I’m afraid, but those of Charles Darwin, the English naturalist best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory, who lived from 1809 to 1882.

We at Havas Media Group are forever evolving, and we understand and support the open innovation and collaboration process between species (or brands). A clear indication of this motto is our Innovation Labs, deployed at strategic locations around the world. One of many examples is our Siliwood research centre in Santa Monica, co-created in a partnership with Orange, and concentrating on technology, data science, content and media.

Here at Siliwood, the mentality of open collaboration at Havas Media Group sees us connecting a great mix of local talent from a prestigious location within the Los Angeles area, where we interconnect people, universities, start-ups and trends to co-create initiatives that are forward-looking, but also important to explore, now, both for us and for our clients, who like to stay one step ahead.

Jose chart

And what about the all-important question of return on investment? Well, it’s very simple: you either innovate or die!

Thanks for reading.



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