Tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to start at SharpEnd?
Within the industry, there are many technology companies masquerading as brand experts and agencies who are lacking in the ability to work with and execute connected programs. SharpEnd was born out of a desire to fill this void. It was clear the tech space needed brand builders, focused on surfacing business value from new technologies, who could speak marketers’ language. It needed specialists who could leverage the connected ecosystem as a creative, rather than technical, challenge.
SharpEnd was launched in 2015 as the world’s first IoT agency, and in 2017 were appointed as the first-ever Internet of Things agency of record (by Pernod Ricard). As the space has matured, and as our team has grown, SharpEnd has taken on a wider mission – to transform the real world into a connected platform.
What is SharpEnd and how does it fit into a modern Marketing Technology stack?
We bring a new set of audience insights to the brands we work with. We’re not just focused on the idea, but also on the data we are generating and how we’re using this to inform future work. Whilst we still geek out on the latest technologies and platforms, we remain focused on how our clients can make the most of existing or underutilized assets – such as connected packaging or interactive retail.
We then define end-user experiences that motivate engagement and help brands understand exactly who’s buying their products and where from. We don’t say yes to every brief. We focus on working with ambitious brands to reimagine the real world by activating physical touchpoints to deliver end-user value.
Which businesses are the fastest to adopt SharpEnd’s technology? How does it impact their Branding and Marketing operations?
There’s a growing demand for connected packaging, retail and experiential solutions across the board. We have an efficient process to get our clients through the thinking, prototyping and planning phases right into the test and learns with scale rollouts at the end. To date, the fastest adopters have been within the drinks sector – and the journey SharpEnd has been on with the Pernod Ricard Group is often referred to as a best in class example of scalable IoT innovation.
Together, over the last few years, we have launched connected bottles across key brands at real scale and using a range of technologies (inc. AR, QR, and NFC) in multiple markets. These programs have delivered new purchase insights, previously unavailable consumer data, driven Sales uplift, and increased brand loyalty. It shows that when you embrace the product itself as a media platform you can deliver positive business, brand and consumer outcomes.
How do you define connected Consumer Engagement in Marketing?
Consumer Engagement, in the traditional sense, has relied on messaging rather than interaction – and with the connected ecosystem forming we are starting to see brands being able to facilitate two-way conversations built around Insights, Data and Personalization.
We have found from our work that truly successful consumer engagement happens when you focus on the consumer, and not the technology as the end point.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?
Our point of view is that brands are going to be advertising to algorithms instead of human beings in the future – and Business Leaders will have to be ready for this seismic shift. Let’s take Alexa as a case in point. Right now, brands should be fighting to be the product that Amazon recommends to consumers, otherwise, they face being left out of the world of the voice-enabled transaction (or vCommerce as it is sometimes referred to).
One word that best describes how you work?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be interested or interesting.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently more into podcasts. I’ve been listening to The Chimp Paradox recently.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Slack, and my new desk telephone.
What’s something you do better than others?
Finding the right people to help execute our vision.
Thank you, Cameron! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Cameron is the Founder and CEO of SharpEnd, a pioneer in connected experiences working as a full-service partner to some of the largest global brand owners across fashion, spirits and FMCG/CPG including Estée Lauder Companies, Pernod Ricard, PepsiCo, LVMH, Mattel and Nestlé.
Cameron leads the company’s mission to help brands move brands closer than ever to consumers by connecting packaging, retail and experiential activity.
SharpEnd is moving brands closer than ever to consumers by connecting packaging, retail and experiential activity. SharpEnd is a full-service partner to some of the largest global brand owners across fashion, spirits and FMCG/CPG including Estée Lauder Companies, Pernod Ricard, PepsiCo, Mattel, and Nestlé.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.