Interview with Alex Wood, Europe Editor at Forbes

October 29, 2018

Q&A with Alex Wood, Europe Editor of Forbes and also a judge for the World Media Awards which are now open for entries UNTIL 7TH FEBRUARY 2019. You can enter here.

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

Alex: Advertising is part of our everyday lives and living in the digital world we inhabit today, there have never been more creative options out there for marketers to access. Awards like these offer us the opportunity to celebrate the risk-takers and forward thinkers in the industry.

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

Alex: Personally, I’m hoping to see campaigns that touch consumers emotionally through strong storytelling as well as innovative uses of new technology.

Q: For brands in the telecoms and technology sector, what are the particular challenges  when targeting an international or cross-border audience?

Alex: 2018 has challenged consumer trust and confidence in technology. We used to live in a world where technology was seen as an unquestionable a force for good, and now things couldn’t be more different. Data and privacy lie at the heart of this and with GDPR and the proposed changes in the US, balancing the needs for smart targeted campaigns against rapidly changing consumer expectations of privacy across difference countries is one of the biggest challenges.

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

Alex: I would expect to see careful consideration of both cultural and regulatory differences between target consumers from different regions.

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

Alex: Storytelling is an inherent part of human nature and is almost as old as our species itself. Content-led campaigns are a natural response to a world where many of us feel overwhelmed with messages throughout our days.

I see the growth in content-led strategies as a positive move for the industry that brings us back to heart of good advertising – telling a compelling story.

Q: What do you think are the most important factors to consider when creating content-led advertising? [eg: story, relevance, length of content, type of content, media partner]

Alex: For me context is key. Brands need to respect and understand that consumers want different types of experience on different devices at different times of day to suit their natural schedule.

Also – from my experience of both running my own media business and now working for a global brand like Forbes, brands need to work with a partner that understands their audience and will guide them to produce the most compelling and engaging content.

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

Alex: The key to truly engaging content is understanding your audience and touching them on a genuinely human level. I love it when brands produce genuinely useful content that is so insightful and entertaining that users share it just like any piece of editorial – for me that’s the sweet spot.

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

Alex: For me it is dwell time and sharing. I see many other brands spending significant amounts of budget on promoting sponsored content through third party platforms. I believe if you get the content right – you shouldn’t need to promote further.

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

Alex: “What do you want the consumer to feel after consuming this content?”

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

Alex: Instruct a partner with genuine on-the-ground local expertise. Don’t recycle and rehash content across regions even if they speak the same language.

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

Alex: Instruct a partner with a genuine global reach with local offices and expertise. Hiring freelancers in different regions is not enough.