By: todotvnews (translated from Spanish)

Inquiring minds who find inspiration in research is the core business of Universal McCann, a media company that, far from promoting products only, create the stories that drive the most recognized brands.

“We know that being curious is the biggest difference we have at UM,” says its CEO Daryl Lee, highlighting what makes Universal McCann much more than just a media company. “Curiosity is what we promise to our customers. It’s what motivates us to collect as much information as possible through research, and to detect trends, preferences and attitudes that allow us to design the best strategy for our brands.” At a time when audiences are looking to have an active role in the consumption chain, the strategy must be much more than just to promote a product. For Lee, the base is in creating stories and moments, connecting experiences between brands and consumers. “I think times have changed,” he says. “Before, the message used to be simple and specific to each product. Today however, we move towards a world of moments, stories that consumers can identify with and see reflected in their daily lives.”

Currently, UM applies this strategy to some of the top brands worldwide, such as Chrysler, Coca Cola, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, Hershey’s and MasterCard, which implies large research and data collection. For this, the company uses Wave, its annual analysis created seven years ago to measure the social impact of brands, today adapted to include new media and platforms. “Wave is the most ambitious study of its kind,” says Lee. “It measures the magnitude and impact of social media, exploring changes and detecting trends.” Among the most notable trends in the world of advertising, Lee highlights two growing worldwide trends: first, directly related to what he describes as “the golden age of stories” where video has become the single most important tool in attracting consumers. “We live in an era where the audiovisual content and stories are stronger than ever. Advertising video is used by all brands regardless of the area in which they are. Even digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter or AOL are investing in content audiovisual”. “This change,” adds Lee, “goes hand in hand with the second big trend we detect, which is the momentum of mobile devices as a bridge between advertising and consumption. There is a lot of innovation there, many startups seeking to bridge the gap between the message of a brand and the consumer desire to buy via mobile.” And while this impulse buying can be the basis of trade, Lee knows that the greatest challenges-and the greatest rewards-are to build enduring brands. “Making money is the byproduct of what is truly important, which is helping brands to gain momentum. In our analysis of the consumer, we see more and more clearly that those brands with messages that go beyond the product are best rewarded by consumers,” says the executive.