We are now half-way through the year and OiConf 2018 is fast approaching. We sat down with Michael Scantlebury, Founder and Creative Director of Impero, who will join us for a second year in March, to find out a little more about what makes the team tick and also what we should expect from his talk in Bristol.
OiConf: This isn’t you first OiConf. What did you make of it last time around?
Michael: It was an interesting gathering of industry folk and great for it to be hosted in Cardiff.
OiConf: For those who don’t know, who are Impero?
Michael: Impero is an independent, social, digital and creative agency based in London and Buenos Aires. We work with tired brands and we return them to fame and glory. This means that we work with businesses who are in a tight spot and help them by finding new consumers, and create new ways to reach those consumers in credible and authentic ways to jump start growth and smash the competition.
OiConf: What is creativity in three words?
Michael: Connecting the dots – putting different things together and ending up with something bigger than all the parts.
OiConf: Social media metrics. Yes or No?
Michael: No. Social and digital metrics are flawed. We let other agencies waste their money on pointless vanity metrics like engagement rates. Instead, we’re focused on driving real business results for our clients.
OiConf: How do you make people care about branded content?
Michael: Biology. You can’t control how your brain produces and receives chemicals, but stories, ideas and the shit we make can. If you think about how humans naturally react to things, rather than your own need to tell them a story, you can make content that works.
OiConf: How important is it to take risks?
Michael: You shouldn’t take too many risks at all, what I think the problem is, is that people confuse the risky options with the safe ones. If you are a tired brand, I think it is risky to do what every other brand in the category is doing and hope to miraculously beat them. It’s risky to do what you’ve always done and expect better results and it’s risky to ignore the consumer and trot out your own brand narrative repeatedly and expect people to listen. It’s actually the better bet to take strong decisive action to make big changes that we know will deliver big results. To put the consumer first. To deliver more and more value. To improve at all costs.
OiConf: You are known for bringing life back to tired brands. Where do you start?
Michael: We start with the consumer. Think about what they need, what they want, what their realities, environment, and mindset are. Then we look deep within a brand to see what we can authentically deliver upon to fulfil the consumer needs in an emotional way. We make tired brands famous again – the reason why we say ‘again’ is because almost all brands at one point were a success and had fame. There is usually some underlying reason for that, sometimes our job is just going back into that brand and redesigning that fame point for the world we live in today. It’s not always an easy process, but once you’ve done that it’s all about bringing that fame point to life in creative way over and over again. But the trick is you’ve got to continue do it repeatedly and in more creative ways, so the brand becomes world famous again for it.
OiConf: How do you make people feel part of something?
Michael: Well, you make them part of something. Take ‘The F*cking Tube Strike’ for example; we took a common pain point and in that one moment in time, aggregated it into a map of London, allowing people to know they were not alone in their anger, making them part of a wider conversation. It was essentially Londoners despair in real-time. However, the question really should be, how do you make people part of something? We get this kind of thing all the time. I especially get asked, how do we act like an authentic brand? Or, how can we be seen to stand out from the crowd? It’s very fucking simple; believe in what you do, believe in your brand vision. If you want to stand out from the crowd, do something that makes you stand out from the crowd. It’s simple, it’s not about pretending or about fooling consumers that you’re something it’s about what you actually do in this world to prove to consumers that you are actually something.
OiConf: What should we expect from your talk in March?
Michael: I’d say honesty and the odd profanity.