Realizing Relevance: An Interview with Alex Chepovetsky, Havas Worldwide Canada’s Chief Digital Officer

auto-optimizing Email Marketing Calendar

Being top of mind is top of mind for brands. Alex Chepovetsky, Havas Worldwide Canada’s Chief Digital Officer, knows this well. As a leader of one of the world’s most sought after and respected advertising agencies, he has practical insight into what it takes for brands to achieve relevance and understands the benefits of doing so.

We sat down with Alex to get his views on how brands can achieve relevance when all of their competitors are trying to do the same and increasingly discerning consumers have more choice than ever before.

What is relevance?

A relevant brand is one which is the natural choice for the customer. For instance, if you need to get a prescription refilled and have the choice between two pharmacies to do that, the one which calls you and offers to automatically refill that prescription is more relevant to you than the one that waits for you to come in. The pharmacy that automatically refills your prescription is the natural choice.

How can brands achieve relevance?

Staying top of mind through traditional advertising, product placement and the like are some of the ways brands try to be relevant. However, most consumers, frankly, aren’t loyal to most brands–even if they trust those brands. People will often go with the most convenient option.

All that being said, people do prefer to do business with brands they perceive as improving their lives and well-being. Companies like Google and IKEA are relevant to consumers because they’ve demonstrated that they reliably and significantly improve the lives of their customers in some way. When you think I need to search something, you think Google. When you think I need affordable furniture with a nice look, you think IKEA. At Havas, we believe in the power of meaningful brands. These are the brands that have a deeper relationship with people and a significant role in their lives. We also know that there is a proven, direct correlation between these meaningful brands and business success.

What role do you think new technologies play in relevance?

Companies have put a lot of time, money and manpower into analytics and personalization. The motivation is clear: they want to know their customers very well so that they can better serve them and earn their loyalty. Up until quite recently analytics solutions have been descriptive or backward facing. This lets you know pretty precisely how people have interacted with your brand in the past, but leaves you only to infer what they’re likely to do in the future.

Now, predictive analytics solutions are helping brands understand what customers will like down the road. Offering someone a fridge right after they bought a fridge might not be too helpful to that person. But they may be on the lookout for a nice toaster and perhaps two months after purchasing the fridge they’ll be looking for a dishwasher. The company that offers the right product to the customer when the customer wants it will be relevant to that person. Predictive analytics solutions are helping companies achieve this.

About Havas

Havas Worldwide, formerly known as Euro RSCG Worldwide, is a leading integrated marketing communications agency and was the first agency to be named Global Agency of the Year by both Advertising Age and Campaign in the same year. The Havas Worldwide Network is made up of 11,000 employees in 120 cities and 75 countries, with 316 offices, and provides advertising, marketing, corporate communications, and digital and social media solutions to clients, including Air France, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Danone Group, IBM, Lacoste, Merck, Mondelēz International, Pernod Ricard, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Reckitt Benckiser, Sanofi, and Volvo. Headquartered in New York, Havas Worldwide is the largest unit of the Havas group, a world leader in communications (Euronext Paris SA: HAV.PA)