ProQuo Event Recap: Challenger '22 - The Brand Marketing Forum

Posted on June 1, 2022

Updated on March 13, 2023

4 min read time

ProQuo Event Recap: Challenger '22

On Wednesday May 25th, we were thrilled to welcome some of the biggest brains in advertising, marketing and journalism to the Loading Bay in London to share big ideas, drinks and snacks with the UK’s fastest growing brands.  

Nine incredible speakers explored the topic of Creative Effectiveness, from what it really means to the principles and behaviors behind it and how to measure it. 


The incredible line-up included:  

  • ProQuo AI’s CRO, Searsha Sadek and Advisory Board Chair, Carol Reay  
  • Faris and Rosie Yakob of creative consultancy, GENIUS/STEALS 
  • Matt Sadler, Strategy Director at advertising agency, Mother 
  • Ed Latham – Head of Marketing at Wahaca 
  • Jess Pinnick, Brand Manager at Belvoir Farm 
  • Alexa Hershy from PR agency, Allison and Partners  
  • Freelance journalist and former senior editor of The Grocer, Rob Brown 
  • Lottie Unwin, founder of marketing community, The Copy Club. 


It's no small feat to condense these mind-expanding talks into one blog post, but here goes.  



Faris and Rosie: Creative effectiveness needs emotion and tried and true effectiveness principles. 


To make creative – specifically advertising – the most effective it can be, it’s still critical to rely on established principles, like those popularized by advertising effectiveness experts, Binet and Field.  


Brush up on Binet and Field’s 5 principles of advertising effectiveness in this cheat sheet!  


Faris and Rosie - the nomadic duo who co-founded agency, Genius Steals – explain how important emotions are within advertising. It’s the secret ingredient that’s needed to take an ordinary ad and turn it famous.  


And when an ad evokes an emotional reaction in a consumer, it’s also not just good for your brand’s reputation, it’s proven to generate a higher financial return for businesses. So, there’s definitely a commercial incentive behind creating an emotional campaign.  


There are many ways to push against the cliches of your category to make your ad jump out but one you shouldn’t miss - according to Faris and Rosie – is creating an ad that emotionally moves your consumers.   



Mother, Wahaca and Belvoir Farm: Creative effectiveness comes from people 


Mother’s Head of Strategy, Matt Sadler shared with us, the principles of creative effectiveness. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. For Matt, creativity is all about the people that bring these marketing activations to life.  


It’s also the people who take on challenging situations and turn them into brand growth opportunities, that are the most important in marketing.  


We saw some incredible examples of this in action from the challenger brand speakers at our event - Wahaca and Belvoir Farm.  


Wahaca’s Ed Latham, shared how his team turned a challenging government mandate to display calorie counts on menus into an opportunity to showcase the sustainable brand story behind the restaurant’s conception. By adding carbon footprint labels as well as calories to each restaurant’s menu, Wahaca turned a costly, logistically challenging mandate that many feared would stall the restaurant industry‘s post-pandemic recovery into a new way to differentiate their brand.   


Ed Latham, Wahaca


Belvoir Farm was equally savvy when marketing their product. Brand Manager, Jess Pinnick explained how a challenge for the brand was the fact that their core product (elderflower cordial) was seasonal – with elderflowers only able to be harvested 4-6 weeks per year. But showcasing the community’s involvement in the harvesting process differentiated the brand and helped them to establish a clear purpose in a newer, fast-growing category.  


Jess Pinnick, Belvoir Farm 


Interested in learning how to disrupt the Low/No Alcohol category? Download this category report!


The Copy Club: Creativity is not who you are, it’s what you do. 


All too often, generalist marketers don’t think of themselves as capital C Creatives’. Because they’re running so many different aspects of a brand at one time, they often don’t have the hours to devote to traditional ‘creative’ thinking – spending more time on events, management, excels, and more.  


But Lottie Unwin, founder of the challenger brand community, The Copy Club, explains why this isn’t actually the case. She believes what drives the most impact everyday isn’t the big, flashy creative pursuits. It’s actually ‘small c creativity’. She explains, ‘creativity is something you do, not who you are.’  


Lottin Unwin, The Copy Club


Mother’s Matt Sadler feels that what’s more important is creating a psychologically safe environment so that each member of your team can feel comfortably equipped to be the most creative they can be.  


His 5 top tips for creatively effective teams are: 

  1. Set ambitious goals
  2. Challenge each other  
  3. Defy the obvious  
  4. Turn difficulties into opportunities to showcase your brand’s purpose – whether this is sustainability, community involvement or something else!  
  5. Challenge yourself, every day, to prove your team’s creativity is effective.  



The Grocer's Rob Brown: Challenger brands have a unique advantage when it comes to creative effectiveness.  


As overwhelming as it might seem for challenger brand to stand out - especially with smaller budgets - there’s actually a wealth of opportunities to differentiate your brand and amplify your story.  


That’s because challenger brands have the freedom to make their brand voice and tone far more human, explained The Grocer’s, Rob Brown. This can help you to market your brand in a way that grabs media attention and catapults you to new levels of growth.  


Another is your brand’s purpose. What makes a challenger brand purpose-driven isn’t what it was even a few years ago. Nowadays, “started at the kitchen table”, doing it from the ground up brand stories have become the status quo. A brand story that’s newsworthy and cuts through the noise must be more unique.



We see perfect examples of this when we look to Wahaca and Belvoir Farm. Both have sustainability and starting small at the core of their brand purpose, as do many other challenger brands.  


What’s creatively effective and stands out is how both brands communicate their stories and purpose - by turning challenges into opportunities and showcasing community involvement in how products are made. This is what turns a purpose-driven challenger brand into a brand that the press is willing to sit up and take notice of.  


How to apply these takeaways to your brand:  


  • Build your brand strategy and creative with emotional drivers in mind. Consider what people expect most and least from your category, and then ask yourself how you can use the unexpected to encourage strong positive feelings about your brand. 

  • Decide on an emotional truth behind every piece of creative your team puts out there. An emotional truth evokes an emotional response in your consumers, which drives the business impact you want. Test and optimize your creative ideas to make sure they’re triggering the response you’re after.  

  • Create psychological safety for each member of your team to help them be the most creative they can be. 

  • Monitor how people feel your brand delivers emotionally, over time, to make sure the moves you’re making are hitting the right feelings with the right people.   



Ultimately, it’s sales that show you how effective your brand’s creativity has been.  


But neuroscience has proven that emotions drive people to make decisions on what to buy. So, in reality, emotions and sales are intricately linked.   


If emotions are so critical to creative effectiveness and your brand’s performance, how can you measure them?  


That’s where ProQuo AI comes in. Understanding how people feel about your brand is the bane of every marketer’s existence. We take this uncertainty out of your marketing activations by showing you exactly how people feel about your brand, category, competition, and creative assets. 

This creates the psychological safety your team needs to be creatively effective.  


Find out how ProQuo’s AI-powered Brand Management platform can help you build a creatively effective brand. Get a demo!


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