Connecting Plots CEO Tom Phillips discusses how a.glo tackles industry and client conundrums

Connecting Plots - Tom Phillips

“I think it is a very opportune time for us to launch this platform and its offering”

Connecting Plots has announced the launch of its specialist platform, a.glo.
The platform is dedicated to channel-specific advertising for social and digital to increase media efficiency and creative effectiveness.
a.glo supports the agency’s new positioning of ‘Imagination In Every Impression’. It also targets the recurring and systematic problem of wasting advertising dollars by using creative unsuitable for purpose.
Next&Co’s annual digital media wastage report, released in January, showed that approximately 41% of digital ad spend in Australia was “wasted” during 2022.
As channel requirements become increasingly complex, clients need more tailored creative to ensure they perform in these channels to achieve more robust results, which is where a.glo comes in.
Tom Phillips
, co-founder and CEO of the independent creative agency, spoke to Mediaweek about developing a.glo, what it offers the industry and clients, what its launch means for Connecting Plots, tackling wastage, and the outlook for the offering in the year ahead.
a.glo combines creative, brand, media, and production thinking to deliver full-funnel, fit-for-channel and fit-for-purpose creative solutions that are proven to work.
This specialist service has existed for over five years, and the team have chosen to make it a scaled solution. Connected Plots uses it in partnership with platforms such as Meta, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok across various verticals, including financial services, consumer tech, FMCG, retail and automotive.
a.glo uses best practice marketing diagnostics to examine where wastage is and how to create a strategic roadmap based on the nuances of achieving the business objectives within different channels.
Clients with existing creative and assets can be re-engineered to create optimised best practice creative to deliver varying strategic objectives without the need for extensive production requirements.

Launching a.glo and what it means for Connecting Plots

For Connecting Plots, the launch of a.glo allows the ability to focus and lean closer to the platforms. The agency will continue to work closely with the platforms to help deliver best-in-class creative for their channels.

It also means the agency can have a dedicated thrust around platform-centric effectiveness by working closely with the platforms. Through the data, they can access and transfer that learning to the Connecting Plots clients.

“It’s always been a complimentary offering, but it helps to ensure when we are treating, we are delivering upwards of sometimes 250 assets for a campaign versus 30″ TVC and a 15″ and 6,” he said.

How Connecting Plots’ success led to the official launch of a.glo

Phillips said that clients approach the agency because of how they deal with channels for delivering creative work. He noted that their website displays care and focus across their entire ecosystem of clients, which he called “a big draw card”.

“We’re very results orientated as a creative business, and we want to always be able to own an outcome by embracing the best practice principles that the platforms speak to clients about.

Phillips said that often clients are probably better informed than some creative businesses. “They’re not always after the full degustation where we do the brand strategy, the creative platform and create a campaign. Often, they might want more of an à la carte offering, which is where we’ve tried to channel a.glo. We’re seeing an enormous number of clients coming to us because of conundrums they find themselves.”

Phillips shared that ten independent media agencies have seen the work under the a.glo banner, and their responses have been positive.
“Ultimately, they need work that performs better in channel,” he said.
“They are getting the same best practice principles taught to them by the platforms, yet the assets they’re receiving through their digital agencies aren’t up to par and aren’t going to shift the needle.
“They want the a.glo offering to be something marketers are working with. Not to disrupt the lead agency role, but to be more than additive so marketers can get access to the assets they need at a good price that helps their media investment work harder,” Phillips added.

Tackling wastage

Earlier this year, Next&Co released its annual digital media wastage report, which showed approximately 41% of digital ad spend in Australia was “wasted” during 2022.
Phillips noted that a significant contributing factor to that is creative needing to be delivered in its optimum format, in the right place at the right time.
“a.glo aims to deliver an unsiloed approach to delivering creative. It’s blending considerations around branding, media, production, and messaging, which is often under-utilised and under-capitalised when you’re thinking about taking a customer through a customer journey,” he said.
Phillips added that it is “relatively inexpensive” to achieve as they re-engineer existing assets, creative platforms, and brand guidelines into format-centric, channel-centric creative designed to do a specific job relative to its stage in that funnel.
Phillips also noted that marketers have a siloed approach between brand and growth teams.
“What we’re also trying to do is help bridge that. We’re trying to think about how we ensure that there’s still some form of brand experience in a direct response asset that’s lower down the funnel, as well as upper funnel work, which is more there to drive emotion or saliency,” he added.

a.glo team, the structure with Connecting Plots and their nimbleness

The structure of the a.glo team will feature a main success lead who will work with Phillips on relationships with the platforms.
“We’ve got quite a lot of clients that we have been introduced to through the platforms, but we’re still leveraging the thinking.”

Phillips said that one part of Connecting Plots is the deliberate blend of brand creative media production. “It means we’re considering how things are going to be made, as well as what job we’re making is being designed to do,” he explained.
Connecting Plots clients have access to the platform and clients from its platform partners across Australia and Asia-Pacific.
Phillips added that with a.glo, they can re-engineer existing assets and creative. He said: “Sometimes with agencies increasingly, where the main programme of content has been shot, but then they have this afterthought conundrum, they need assets to be doing a job at the top of the funnel, middle funnel and lower funnel.
“Often, we could be taking brochures or website collateral, out-of-home posters, or whatever else it is, and working with those assets to create a full suite of creative that can do various jobs at various stages of the funnel,” Phillips added.

Client work and effectiveness

Phillips explained that a.glo’s process begins with a diagnostic stage, which he explained is “essentially looking under the bonnet” at either an asset, creative, or channel level. He noted that in the diagnostics phase, they look at opportunity gaps and best practice improvements.
Phillips highlighted their recent work with a wine brand on relatively simple diagnostics that saw them re-engineer some existing creative and implement that creative against Meta’s ecosystem.
“We’ve been able to double their reach from that activity just through optimised creative for the platform and not surmised business objectives and how media is being planned.
Phillips also noted recent work with Meta over the last few years on various sectors within the auto industry.
“We’ve worked across 12 different car manufacturers to develop creative that’s fit for Meta’s ecosystem over almost 18 month or two-year period.
“In terms of that scope of work, we were doubling reach through optimised creative in the platform. Facebook operates on a signals ecosystem. We’re developing creative specific to work within that ecosystem and having a cost per lead.
“Those are important numbers that, when done right, effectiveness can happen. Media and creative always need to be working hand in glove.”

The a.glo offering in the year ahead

Phillips noted that looking ahead, it was apparent in the industry that effectiveness and efficiency are hot on the agendas of many marketers, “doing more with less,” he said.
Phillips shared that they have received a wide receptiveness and fantastic response when they speak with media agencies about the offering and get referrals from clients directly.
“I think it is a very opportune time for us to launch this platform and its offering,” he said.
“We can help marketers drive greater effectiveness out of their media investment. I think it’s looking good in terms of the years ahead; we’ve got a lot of interesting data development in the items in the pipeline – so watch this space,” Phillips proudly added.

Top image: Tom Phillips

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