IHA spoke with digital marketing experts Tod Szewczyk and Jeff Mauto hear about the personal and economic impacts of constant connectivity, which they will discuss at the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show. At the Show, the Innovation Theater will feature 21 presentations over four days. Topics will include design innovation, smart home, digital commerce and global market trends.
Leo Burnett Worldwide, Inc. is one of the world’s largest agency networks, with 96 offices in 85 countries and more than 8,500 employees. Leo Burnett has a simple and singular approach: put a brand’s purpose at the center of communications to truly connect with people and use creativity to drive business results for clients.
Tod Szewczyk, Leo Burnett vice president and director of emerging technology and innovation, helps bring new platforms, partners and ways of working into the agency. He provides insight and best practices to successfully integrate new technologies into marketing initiatives that create immersive and engaging consumer experiences. Tod has led the agency’s development of the proprietary Leovative content platform, founded Arc’s Retail Innovation Lab and Leo Burnett’s new technology Lab. He also leads the agency’s strategic partnership with Google.
Digitas, The Connected Marketing Agency, employs data, strategy, creative and content, media, and technology experts who uncover and act on the truths that help brands better connect with people. Digitas helps clients realize their most ambitious outcomes.
Jeff Mau, director of experience strategy with Digitas in Chicago, leads clients through digital transformation by identifying new strategies for customer engagement. He has advised leading companies around the world in the mobile, consumer packaged goods, financial and telecommunications industries. Jeff holds a Master of Design Methods degree from the IIT Institute of Design, widely recognized as a top program in innovation and strategy. Active in educating the next generation, Jeff teaches design and innovation at IIT Institute of Design in Chicago and CEDIM in Mexico.
Tod and Jeff, what are the most rewarding parts of your work?
Our specialty is to identify new technologies that fit within the lives of people in a way that is relevant to our clients’ business challenges. We become excited when we find ways to help our clients create unique solutions, inspire creativity and reach new audiences.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business?
Leo Burnett and Digitas share roots in traditional advertising and marketing. Increasingly the landscape for our clients and their customers has shifted to deliver orchestrated experiences across every touchpoint imaginable. What continues to resonate is the need for consumers to understand a brand’s purpose in order to engage in a lasting relationship with products, services and experiences.
Any tips for how to de-stress in the demanding 24/7 workplace?
What’s funny is the promise of the Internet and mobile technologies has been to liberate us from geographic and time constraints. Instead what we have is a world where demands for productivity have been compounding into a never-ending quest for our attention. At a personal level, setting expectations with colleagues, friends and family about taking breaks is a team effort. Then, with the continuous flood of automated messages vying for attention, it helps to simply turn off the phone for a while.
This is your first time presenting at our Theater. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
We enjoyed speaking on the Smart Talks stage in 2018 about how new technologies are impacting brands. For our first presentation in the Innovation Theater, we are excited to expand the conversation to focus on the latest trends at the intersection of technology and consumer behavior. We will also return to Smart Talks this year to continue the story with that audience.
Designing for Relevance in the Attention Economy
Saturday March 2 • 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
Innovation Theater • Lakeside Center E350
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how this topic is important for Show audiences.
During our talk, we will share our perspective on how brands need to embrace the shifting consumer behavior landscape. Plainly put, in a world where everything is digital and people prefer to maximize their enjoyable experiences, physical products must compete for time and attention by finding new ways to fit within people’s lives.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products or how to shop for them?
Although we live in a world where “Everything that can connected will be connected,” the question really is, “Should it be connected?” From a user experience standpoint, how elegant can the experience of interacting with a product like a microwave really be? Do consumers have any headspace left to learn new ways to control things like appliances, or should they just be controlled by an app on their phone? Further, when digital assistants like Alexa or Google’s Assistant are embedded in appliances, it opens up a new line of questioning when thinking about purchasing that product, namely, do I want it/need it to be connected? With consumers spending 11 hours a day on average consuming media, will they look for more portals into media from things like smart appliances? Or, as we see nearly all around us, will they be content with staring at their phones and just want a microwave that is super simple to use so it doesn’t distract from their focus?
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
It’s not really a trend, but it’s worth emphasizing that products need to be built only when they are solving a specific problem for consumers. With unlimited choice in the world from products to media, consumers seek out only those things that are useful and entertaining.
Thank you, Tod and Jeff, for posing such intriguing questions. As experts in technology and media management, your views on who truly benefits from always-on, “smart” connections will be informative. We look forward to learning from you in the first program of the rich menu of educational sessions scheduled at the Innovation Theater. We’ll see you on Saturday, March 2 at 11:30 a.m.
Learn from experts about how to invigorate your new products and services by enhancing your innovation efforts. Be sure to attend the free executive-level educational sessions at the Innovation Theater to hear about the latest research and analysis of consumer lifestyle trends and omni-channel marketing challenges. These programs will give you a fresh perspective as you walk the Show and will inspire, inform and improve your business. All programs will be audio-recorded and will be available at www.housewares.org after the Show.