Interview with Alison Tyrrell

We caught up with Alison Tyrrell, Head of Content (Marketing & Media) for Spark Foundry, and one of the jurors for the World Media Awards, to discuss what she was looking for in award entries and challenges facing international content-led advertising strategies.


WMA: Why do you think it’s important to benchmark and celebrate great international advertising strategies?

AT: In all industries, disciplines and philosophies we lean on the great to help accelerate our learning.

Throughout my career awards have helped inspire my thinking and visually show me where the bar is now set.

WMA: As a Judge, what are you hoping to see in the entries to the World Media Awards?

AT: I will be looking for out-of-the-box thinking. Something that demonstrates they found an alternative and different route to solving their challenge – as quite often solutions (whilst possibly effective) can be lazy and lazy doesn’t shift the standard we set.

WMA: For brands in the financial and corporate sectors, what are the particular challenges when targeting an international or cross-border audience?

AT: Common challenges would be illusive and time poor HNWI audiences. There is very little data and insight on this audience which makes partnering with the right publishers key.

Other challenges include, travel patterns – this audience move around a lot.

Additionally, Utilities and banking are not sexy and generally not trusted – this is another major challenge to overcome in a heavily red-taped industry.

WMA: For entries in this category, are there any particular elements you would expect to see in a winning entry?

AT: Intelligent data-led solutions to find the audience and deliver value-led marketing.

WMA: Why do you think there has been a growth in content-led advertising communications?

AT: A number of factors but mainly that content-led is more value driven. Rather than pushing the brands message out (via typical media advertising), content allows the brand to create more relevance to the lives of the audience.

With such a flurry of adverts, relevance is becoming a stronger way to cut through the noise.

WMA: What do you think are the most important factors to consider when creating content-led advertising?

AT: Relevance and value are key – what is the content doing to add to the lives of the audience or to solve a problem/challenge?

If a brand can nail this, it will make their content connect and build trust.

Media formats and types of content depend on the environment and user behaviour within that environment.

WMA: What do you think is the key to truly engaging content?

AT: Relevant content that helps or educates. Again, formats depend on behaviours/environments.

WMA: How do you measure success when it comes to content-driven advertising?

AT: It depends on the media format/content type.

WMA: What is the killer question an agency/media owner should ask a client to ensure that their content brief is fit for purpose?

AT: What problem/challenge does your brand solve for the audience?

WMA: What advice would you give a brand about to embark on a branded content campaign that needs to work in multiple countries or regions?

AT: Consider the differing cultures, behaviours, trends in each market. Ensure your message and formats remain relevant.

WMA: What distinguishes the “international” target audience from “domestic” audiences – and how granular can you be in your targeting?

AT: When targeting internationally you do need to decide how granular you want to go without risking reach.

Generally a consideration for language, visuals and environments are key.

After this, a consideration of behaviours that fit with the brand message, cultures and interests.

WMA: How do you balance planning and implementation of cross-border campaigns between “local” and “head” office?

AT: Generally planning comes from head office, and is adapted via local – local offices will understand the tweaks needed to messaging and they will understand the environments needed more authentically but still leading back to the core strategy.

WMA: What do you need to look for in your media partner[s] when planning an international content-driven advertising strategy?

AT: This depends on the brand objectives but generally;

  • The right reach for your target market.
  • Strong topic authority for your messaging.
  • Flexibility and a solution orientated team (working with ‘no’ people is a bottleneck to progress).
  • Transparency with data.
  • Great project management.

Don’t forget to check out the categories for 2019 and how to enter the awards.

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