Sanjay Nair

Senior Partner, Global Strategy, Carat

What's the most inspiring thing you've seen?

I think the key theme or takeaway for me would be that we seem to have as an industry come back to the idea of solving business problems. There’s less of an emphasis on tech or gadgets or solutions which are more focused on showcasing our progressiveness or how advanced we are but going back to how we can use creativity to solve business problems and that’s something I found incredibly reassuring in a way about what I saw today.

What surprised you?

I think the most surprising thing today was how some of what you would imagine some of the more traditional, well-established, quick service restaurant brands - how agile they were and how creative in terms of how they executed their ideas, how nimble in terms of being responsive to cultural events or conversation. And it was remarkable to see everything from Burger King to Wendy’s to Popeye’s and the ideas were amazing. This merger with the old world - in the sense of the traditional quick service restaurant - with the new world of gaming and social media and influencers. It’s fascinating to see and it tells you elephants can dance!   

What work really impressed you?

One that I found the most interesting from a personal bias were some of the Creative Data Lions which I thought were really fascinating in the use of data to power creativity so ideas around how to use language and text and music to enable people with speech impediments and those sorts of ideas are brilliant but they’re the work of a lot of rigour and analysis, but their expression was very human and very empathetic and that bodes really well for our industry. If we can translate that sort of high-end rigour in data analysis into really creative and emotionally appealing work, I think that’s a very optimistic note for me.

What have you seen that will have the biggest implications for our industry over the next 12 months?

There are a number of trends in terms of executions and ideas but the one thing that really stood out for me is how seemingly unaffected ideas, creativity and brilliant marketing is with all the pandemic and the work from home and A) that’s remarkably inspiring that we’re in an industry that can do that and still deliver that sort of excellence but B) that then asks us a lot of questions in terms of, “right, if it’s possible that we can deliver that, what does that mean in terms of where we’re located how do we work with people, how do we work with teams, how do we organise, how do we manage culture…”

So, it’s just endlessly fascinating, this idea that you didn’t see a noticeable dip in the quality of content, ideas and executions. So, if that is the case, what does that mean for our industry? do we need to rethink we are organised and we operate? So that I think is something I think we will probably take lessons from for years to come. But it is something we will see flow through in the way we’re set up, the way we’re organised as an industry itself.