Changing Channels with Confidence: a structure for innovation

Part of our series with Millward Brown

Changing channels

While they are accustomed to changing the creative content of their campaigns on a regular basis, there is no automatic driver that encourages the adoption of new media channels, and marketers themselves may be disinclined to make changes. Changing established media allocations is risky; weighing the options requires time and effort. The fear of making the wrong decision can make exploration seem daunting.

But avoiding innovation carries its own risk. The world moves forward, and those who don’t advance with it will be left behind. Marketers need a way to embrace change without being swallowed up by it. How can they manage that process?

In 2011, Jonathan Mildenhall, vice president of global advertising strategy and content excellence at the Coca-Cola Company, introduced his company’s new approach to investing in creative content. Coke is implementing a model they call the “70│20│10 investment principle,” an adaptation of the established 70│20│10 protocol for apportioning resources or investment.i Mildenhall explained that in its quest to double the size of its business by 2020, Coca-Cola would apportion its communications spend as follows:

  • 70% would support low-risk, “bread-and butter” content.
  • 20% would be used to innovate based on what has worked in the past.
  • 10% would fund high-risk content involving brand-new ideas.

Marketers need a way to embrace change without being swallowed up by it.
We think this approach makes a lot of sense. It has worked for Google, where the company implemented it as a way to manage innovation, applying 70% of its workforce effort to core businesses, 20% to adjacent products, and 10% to highly experimental innovation for the long term.

We expect it will also work for Coke as they innovate in developing their creative content. Furthermore, we think that the application of 70│20│10 can go beyond creative content to media planning, specifically in terms of the allocation of resources to new channels such as mobile and social media. In fact, we believe so strongly in this approach that we are proposing it to our clients as the framework they can use to “change channels with confidence”

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Part of our series with Millward Brown.

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