Scratch Ep. 5 – How to Use Creativity to Deliver Business Results with Zaid Al-Qassab, CMO of Channel 4.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Eric talks to Zaid Al-Qassab, CMO of Channel 4. With his rich career history, Zaid offers insight into the burning issues on the minds of every marketer, from in-house vs. agency, how to market in a post-third party data world, and how to marry the best of the challenger and incumbent models. 

While Channel 4 has two in-house agencies, 4creative – a full-service creative agency that produces more than 600 ads for Channel 4 every year – and 4Studio, a new digital content agency that also serves as a profit center – Zaid claims he is agnostic about the superiority of the in-house vs. agency model. In the case of Channel 4, the speed and frequency at which the company must churn out unique content means that an in-house model works best, while companies looking for content that takes more time to simmer may find that the agency model better suits their needs. 

Zaid discusses how in this post-cookie, post-third party data world, there must be transparency and opt-in from customers when brands extract value from their audience, and that this involves the audience extracting value from the brand. And how the rules of marketing are unchanging in a changing digital landscape whether you’re a start-up starting with nothing or a billion-dollar business. According to Zaid, you must: 

  • Understand what the business objectives are
  • Really understand your customer 
  • Be excellent at extracting insight as to what motivates them
  • Engage the customer wherever they are receptive with consistent messaging and with execution that is engaging

Is it possible to be as successful as an incumbent while having the agility of a challenger? Eric and Zaid talk about the difficulty (the impossibility?) of combining the competitive advantages of small challenger brands – namely, speed and lack of risk – with the advantages of incumbents – size, scale and resources. Challenger brands can be more provocative: products can be trialed and fail easily because volumes are smaller and the risk is smaller. While it’s hard to achieve, Zaid argues that it is possible where everyone in the organization is incredibly clear on the objectives and there’s a small number of measures of what you’re attempting to deliver.

To watch some truly incredible, inspiring, and just all around brilliant work to come out of Channel 4’s in-house agency, 4creative: see the Paralympics spot here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjIP9EFbcWY and their ad for their Big Beautiful Weirdos campaign highlighting Channel 4’s motto, Altogether Different: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvpld-YbIrY&t=7s

In this week’s Organization We Sponsor, Eric talks to Jeff Wilson of One Percent For the Planet, a nonprofit consisting over 10,000 members, inspiring businesses and individuals to support environmental nonprofits. Businesses can get involved with an annual commitment of donating 1% of sales to environmental causes. Individuals can commit to donating 1% of income or volunteering. 

Scratch is made in partnership with Attest, a consumer research platform with access to over 110 million consumers across 50 markets.

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