Agents of growth and differentiation for new era marketers.
Strategy unites data and analysis with human insight and creativity to identify and unlock more growth opportunities for brands. We enable marketers to make smarter, more predictive decisions right now, that will affect business outcomes in days, weeks, months or years. And we build more differentiated communications platforms for ideas, experiences and execution.
What We Do
We unlock growth through better predictions and more differentiated consumer experiences.
Our approach focuses on finding meaningful signals that reveal opportunities for growth, spark ideas that will differentiate brands away from the average, and deliver better experiences for consumers.
We do this through Signals Planning, a new approach to extracting value from data to make advertising fit for the new era. The Signals Planning process is organised around three distinct cycles, which reflect the different cultures of decision making in advertising.
A CMO setting out a five-year marketing strategy, a product manager planning their next campaign and a programmatic expert making in-flight optimisations will each go through their own cycle of exploring opportunities, predicting outcomes and making decisions . Signals Planning connects these three different types of decisions through a common language of KPIs, budgets, audiences and priorities, and a singular focus on brand growth. It creates the relevant signals for each type of decision, and connects them together with a learning loop that allows us to create tools and approaches that learn and improve as we progress.
Finding meaning and humanity in the data.
Technology is more than automation and algorithms, although both have a large role to play in what we do and how we do it. Technology also means developing new tools and methods that enhance how we apply data-driven knowledge for practical purposes. From a strategy perspective that means finding meaning and humanity in the abundance of data at our disposal.
Signals Planning Audit
As data driven thinking becomes more fundamental to marketing, clients expect us to take a leading role in planning their communications. However in a world of data abundance, complexity is a very real problem. Based on a series of questions around growth, differentiation and relevance, the Signals Planning Audit arms clients with a simple and accessible understanding of data that will enable them to benchmark their performance against category and competitors, make better decisions and take the actions required to deliver better outcomes.
Growth Signals Mapping
The Essence Growth Signals Map is a tool that synthesizes the full marketing funnel for both a specific brand and its broader industry. It links how investment drives brand messaging, and subsequently how that brand messaging leads to sales or purchase intent. In the process, the map identifies key brand signals - like word of mouth, buzz, reputation, etc.- that serve as leading indicators media can drive or aspire to.
Great work comes from new ways of thinking. We are always seeking to inspire - and sometimes provoke - ways for brands to stand out grounded in the world of our consumers. And with growing demand for CSR, new expectations for diversity and inclusion and the continued growth of niche sub-cultures in the digital age, agencies can’t afford to ignore the world our brands live in. The Takeaway is our monthly trend reporting series, bringing these worlds to curious Essentials and clients, and unearthing the unorthodox, unexpected, and downright unusual.
Google Maps: Look Before You Leave
For millions around the world, the trickle-down effects of traffic, like missed appointments and late arrivals for special occasions, creates daily stress. In India - where ETAs from commuters are notorious for being wildly unpredictable - real-time traffic updates and alternative route suggestions could save precious hours otherwise be wasted in gridlock.
Could Essence change India's traffic congestion? Not exactly, but we could give commuters better information and more control over their schedules by generating more usage of Google Maps.
While awareness of Google Maps existed among Indian audiences, research told us that people were not fully aware of Google Maps' real-time features, like updated arrival prediction, real time traffic density, and alternative route suggestions. To reach them, we needed to connect with commuters when they needed the information most: when they were stuck in traffic.
But to connect with our audience in traffic we needed to overcome the fact that there are very few digital or dynamic out-of-home spaces in India. To do so, we hacked traditional billboards, wiring them to become dynamic and capable to displaying real-time data. Over the course of 15 days, we took over prominent billboards in two high-traffic locations in Mumbai & Pune and built a dynamic feature, displaying live traffic updates. Commuters could use the information to plan their routes on-the-go, making the OOH effort a highly relevant and memorable interaction. A customized software program was designed to automatically replicate the online Google map traffic status data directly onto a billboard with the exact same color coding as the Google Maps app. The entire route length between two pre-set destinations was installed with specially ordered LED rope light modules. Wi-fi connectivity was established on each billboard with custom-made connected devices that could be controlled and monitored remotely from a central server system. The traffic data was refreshed every 5 minutes to reflect the traffic conditions that point in time.
Our campaign, "#LookBeforeYouLeave," achieved our overall goal of driving feature awareness across top cities in India. It also impacted our business goal of increasing daily active usage among consumers who had downloaded the Google Maps app on their smartphones. By carefully crafting and reinforcing our message with locally relevant, dynamic creative, the campaign accounted for between 8 and 10% uplifts in feature awareness. The campaign also directly drove 40% of the growth in daily active users in India.
While traffic snarls are still an unfortunate part of our daily lives, more commuters in India than ever before now check Google Maps before leaving home, leading to fewer missed appointments and special occasions and happier people - on and off the road.
#LookBeforeYouLeave drove 8-10% uplift in Google Maps feature awareness.
Growth in daily active users
#LookBeforeYouLeave drove a 40% increase in Google Maps daily active users across India
Leaders in strategy. Partners in decision-making.
Essence's strategy leadership applies decades of experience helping business leaders stay on top and challengers get there to help marketing executives make major marketing decisions on a daily basis.