iDidTht: How does Grid manage to consistently ‘play in culture’ and stay so on-trend with the work you produce?
Nathan: It’s just keeping abreast of culture and exactly what conversations are happening. Target audiences are so blurred today and people are watching different things on different platforms. But if you’re a good analytical person, you can look at a screen and you can see trends happening and you can pull certain things together. It all informs certain conversations about a brief and it informs a conversation about a direction – those are thought-starters and we use that in our brainstorms.
iDidTht: For a while we’ve heard a lot of international companies talk about culture but not so much locally. Culture is such a big word, short of whipping out a Wikipedia page, are we talking social behaviours and customs here?
Nathan: No need for Wiki. We have a team called the Ninjas. Every day at 10 am they get together for what we call G-Live, which stands for Grid Live, and it’s a session about spotting and looking at trends. Up on the walls of the room, we have all our brands and what they stand for. During the session, the Ninjas are pulling out nuggets from all over the world applying them to what is relevant for each brand. Data and how we analytically sift through the information is part of our process. This understanding of culture gives us a broader understanding of creativity and we have to use all the tools available to us to make sure we have the most impactful message created for our specific clients.
iDidTht: Are these cultural trend interrogations a replacement of the psychographics in a brief? This seems like a far more relevant way of talking about what’s happening culturally with consumers instead of looking at the traditional attributes like habits, hobbies or where they buy their almond milk.
David: Yes, but I also think what’s been key for us is not putting people into boxes. Investment in certain social listening tools has been hugely beneficial for us both through TBWA and some of our own work.
iDidTht: Listening tools? We talking Beats by Dre here?
David: Haha, not quite. We have tools we use like Google trends, Crimson Hexagon and Fashion Snoops to help keep our ear to the ground and our finger on the pulse and connect the dots not seen before. One of the tools we also use is called Backslash which is a TBWA tool. It comes out three times a week and is fantastic at keeping abreast of what’s happening in the world, what the trends are and helps us look at things differently.