Who can create a good community of people later can have a commercial potential exploitable in events and communication. It’s the power of influential communities! But how can you build one from zero and exploit its potential?  Chris WaltsAssociate Director at Ogilvy UK will answer these during the Heroes event in Maratea, but for now we asked him to give us an overview of the subject matter in the below interview.

Discover the event: Influencing communities

Being Associate Director at Ogilvy means having a finger on the pulse of new and emerging trends and translates this knowledge into tangible solutions for the agency and its clients. How has your job changed over the years?

When I began my career in advertising Social Media was a brand new thing that very few people understood. As a result, I spent at least half of my time explaining what Social Media was, and why it was important to both people inside agencies and to my clients. Thankfully, most people now understand the power of Social Media so my time is now spent helping my clients design strategies that can help them achieve their business objectives. They may not always understand all of the intricacies of new and emerging platforms, but at least they understand the potential!

We will soon hear your opinion on influencing communities at Heroes. How important are they by now?

Word of mouth has always been the most powerful tool in influencing people to act. What’s changed with the Internet and Social Media is now people can more easily come together to form adhoc communities. Understanding who the gatekeepers to those communities are, and engaging with, them can go a long way to helping your messages spread.

Please, give us a clue: when building a digital strategy, what is your first move?

I try to always start from the most basic building blocks and work upwards. The first question I ask myself is what is the actual business objective I’m looking to achieve (or perhaps, what does success look like). From there, I start to look at the audience that I want to speak to and where they are spending most of their time. After that it becomes much easier to start layering on key messages and creative ideas.

Is the internet useful in identifying and matching the customer’s needs?

The Internet, and the proliferation of information being created as a result of it, is incredibly useful in helping businesses identify and match customer’s needs.  One of the big questions that is starting to arise now however, is how closely do we actually want our needs matched? We are not far away from being able to have all of our needs perfectly matched, but to do that we’ll have to give away more of our private data. Consumers will all face a choice in the near future about which is more important, privacy or personalisation.

Do you have any advice for young, creative Heroes who want to follow your steps?

The best I can give to young creative Heroes starting out is to work hard and to always be curious; especially about subjects that don’t immediately relate to what you do on a daily basis.

A lot of the success I’ve been able to achieve in my career comes down to the fact that I’m able to draw on inspiration from a huge range of subject areas. You never know when something seemingly unrelated to your daily life will spark an amazing creative idea.

Let us dream a bit: what is the future of Digital Advertising?

There are two big trends that I’m very excited about at the moment; one is Artificial Intelligence and the other is Augmented Reality. Being able to create full customised experience that are timely and relevant has long been the dream of advertisers (and to a lesser extend consumers). The big question is how that be achieved without giving up all of our personal data or becoming overly creepy. Add to that a whole new way to tell stories and even interface with the world and it’s hard not to be incredibly excited. I don’t think we’ve even begun to scratch the surface on the potential of either.