In the first episode of our new series on Modern Brand Belief, we explore data-informed innovation with Lindsay McGettigan, SVP & activation group director at imre, and Ryan Billings, head of oncology digital customer experience at GSK. The conversation includes defining innovation amid today's hype cycle, the unexpected intersection of data and empathy, and how to avoid pitfalls of chasing 'the shiny new object' when it comes to innovation. PRovoke Media senior reporter Diana Marszalek moderates the discussion. Highlights from the conversation below, including the audio-only podcast version.

Highlights from the conversation include: 

  • GSK's Ryan Billings on why chasing 'shiny new objects' can lead to innovation fails and why creative professionals should put data first. “You want to avoid any holes that could be poked into your idea at the get-go. So, when you start with the insights and the data, when it comes to introducing innovation — it makes it harder for anyone to question and you’re more likely to succeed.”

  • imre's Lindsay McGettigan on why true innovation stems from new solutions and approaches — and the intersection of data and people: “If we think about a lot of the innovative campaigns that we saw coming out of Covid-19 and quarantine and the entire year of 2020 — a lot of the innovation was really meeting people in the moment, and using data to find a creative solution that hits on that intersection.”

  • GSK's Billings on the tipping point that pushed the pharmaceutical industry into social media: “There came a tipping point, where we just knew our patients and our customers are there — we're missing out, we have to be there. They’re going to talk about us whether we’re joining the conversation or not.”

  • imre's McGettigan on why consumer stories must intersect with cultural trends: “As an agency invested in data and analytics, we’ll look at what’s resonating with consumers and bring that back to brand teams to determine what’s own-able." She cautions, "not everything is going to be own-able. Not every trend is going to make sense for you to hop on. But brands can find opportunities that are relevant and that intersect with their brand value proposition or are unique about their brand."