Andy Lark: Focus on the story not the stats

Andy Lark
By Andy Lark | 15 October 2012

The best conferences are those that while appearing to be a brilliantly orchestrated boondoggle turn out to be more than that. The Caxtons proved to be one of them.

It was TED with focus. A focus on the importance of story. At a time where talk of marketing is reduced to endless chatter about clicks, social, clouds and big data, folk like Nick MKenzie, Troy Lum, Geoff Goodby and Lee Clow served a powerful reminder of the value of stories and the creatives and mediums that power them.

We sit in the world of commercial storytelling. One that depends on rich creativity and ideas that span not weeks or months, but perhaps decades. To do this, marketers – much like the team at Hopscotch – need to get out of the way of the creatives and get behind the funding of new ideas. Not just with money, but with business motives and content. Too much of our time together is defined by presentations and not conversations. From 7,000 miles away you could feel Lee Clow’s distain for the CMOs who fail to get this, trashing agencies and great ideas in favour of absurd logic and corporate expediency.

They also served the necessary caution that without investment, originality and freedom of speech, ideas like The Glue Society's 'Watch with Mother' don't get to market. Without CEOs like Steve Jobs who loved advertising and understood brand wasn't a number that could be distilled to an equity metric - great marketing doesn't happen. Without journalists willing to shine a spotlight on what we need to know, important stories won't get told - and we would be left with no platform on which to tell ours.

At a time when so many are willing to call the end of print media, the Caxtons as a whole reminded us that this is an ecosystem – and while elements might morph and change, we are all dependent on the collective effect of those that create, curate, publish and invest.

Together we can do that better – doing so is what will make the Caxtons worth the trip next year.

Andy Lark
Chief Marketing and Digital Officer
Commonwealth Bank

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