Q&A with Gareth Edwards
Gareth has worked in digital and digital marketing leading client side teams for more than 15 years for the likes of Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life Investments.
He made the leap to Agency side a little over a year ago, taking on the challenge of building and growing a Digital practice in Scotland for Deloitte. Having worked in all areas of digital, his new role now sits somewhere in between Creative and Client Service, challenging clients to think differently and be more focused on the “humans” whether they be their customers or employees.
You’ve got more than 16 year’s experience in digital. What’s been the steepest learning curve you’ve experienced from your time in the industry so far?
I think the steepest learning curve is usually the recognition of how much still can be done. Even now, so many businesses look at digital as something they should do, or have to do “I need an app”, rather than grasping it as a massive opportunity to grow or change their business. Too often the way things were or the way things are, become artificial blockers to progress.
How has the explosion of digital technology impacted marketers?
One word: data. Marketers are now drowning in bewildering amounts of data about their products and customers, most of it non actionable. I think we have seen that coming for a long time, yet we seem no better prepared for it now than we started behavioural marketing 8-10 years ago. The best marketers are looking at how they can take all this data and use AI & Data Science to make the data much more actionable and simple to visualize so they can take meaningful actions with it.
Tell us about your favourite ad campaign, social campaign or commercial. Why does it stand out for you?
I do struggle to recall campaigns, we all consume advertising in such different ways now. The best campaigns now are when Brands “do” different rather than talk about being different. Saying that, things like Ikea’s response to the Balenciaga blue bag capture my attention and show how being playful can bring out the best in your brand.
Deloitte is an agency with a strategic and creative approach to digital. How does Deloitte Digital think outside the box for their clients?
I think it’s the recognition that there are very few new ideas, but there are a lot of ideas and more importantly proven solutions that are being used in other sectors that have yet to be applied to full effect. The cross pollination of ideas, and finding ways to test them rapidly and cost effectively remains at the heart of what we do.
What’s your favourite platform for keeping up with digital advancements?
Honestly a tricky question, in a world of fragmented media, I genuinely don’t have one or even two sources anymore. My colleagues in Deloitte Digital London are some of the leading lights in their fields, so having people as well regarded as Illico to call upon is incredibly powerful. In terms of advancements, I always think the ones that hit the mass media are far more interesting particularly the perception of things like AI and robotics.