Brand Director of ABSOLUT VODKA, USA & Author of "Good is the New Cool: How Capitalism Can Save the World"
Afdhel Aziz is one the world's leading experts on brand purpose, marketing innovation and how business can be a force for good.
He is also Founder and Chief Purpose Officer at Conspiracy of Love, a social impact consultancy that advises Fortune 500 companies like Adidas, Sonos, Bacardi, Mars and Coty how to 'make money AND do good by harnessing the power of cool.'
He is the co-author of the best-selling book "Good is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn".
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Afdhel Aziz is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Afdhel Aziz for your event is $20,000 - $50,000. Afdhel Aziz generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Viola Davis, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Rashida Jones and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Afdhel Aziz for an upcoming event.
Marketers are constantly looking for new ways to one-up the competition, create better experiences for customers and experiment with new technologies. But they are increasingly finding it difficult to focus on optimizing results for the current quarter and to develop breakthrough innovations simultaneously. In order to overcome this challenge, several companies are establishing marketing innovation labs. These labs are not focused on creating new products but on testing new ways to deliver great experiences to customers. There are several different approaches to setting up marketing innovation labs. Here are three examples that are worth emulating as you evaluate your approach to innovation in the new year. Absolut Labs Afdhel Aziz, brand director for Absolut Labs was put in charge of an effort to help define the future of marketing for the iconic spirits brand. “We’re about to see some massive shifts in consumer behavior, everything from consumers cutting the chord from conventional cable TV to using Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu and HBO without any ads, to iOS ad blocking software. What’s fascinating about Absolut is for the last 30 years it was a brand built on advertising. What we have to think about is what does the next 30 years look like? What does a brand like Absolut have to do in order to add another layer of innovation to what we’re doing out there?” “That’s how the idea for Absolut Labs was born. It’s here to do two things. It’s here to be a think tank, to produce original research like the State of Night Life. And [it’s here] to act as an internal startup, to act as a very lean, fast, agile idea incubator that allows us to beta test new ideas, launch them very quickly, without a lot of money but in a way that allows us to very quickly gain insights and understanding of how the market is working.” The Absolut Labs started its efforts by trying to understand technology’s impact on the nightlife experience and to explore how the brand could better connect with its consumers. “As our starting calling card we chose virtual reality as the technology that we wanted to beta test, which was the Absolut Reality Project. [It’s based on] an interesting insight that there’s always a concert or event that you want to go to but you can’t get tickets. It’s either sold out or it’s in another city. We took that consumer insight and realized with virtual reality what you had for the first time was a technology that delivered presence and it allowed you to feel like you were right there.” “We worked with this band Bob Moses, a great band from Vancouver. They were doing a 400 person show at a venue in Williamsburg, New York. We went to them and said ‘Can we come and film the whole show in VR and can we give away 5000 Google Cardboard Headsets free to fans around the country?’ They were kind enough to say yes. We thought it was going to take a week [to give away the headsets], but it sold out in two hours. We learned that there is a powerful role for technology in helping people connect with the things that they’re passionate about. I think [Absolut Reality] gave us a good groundwork to think about what other experiences we can now expand to and test as well.” Aziz staffs his lab through an agency partner in New York that has three multidisciplinary people dedicated to supporting Absolut Labs’ innovation initiatives.
WHY ABSOLUT CREATED A THINK TANK TO PLAN FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS OF NIGHTLIFE When you hear "think tank," the first words that come to mind are more likely policy, or government, or economics, or the military, rather than, say, vodka. Afdhel Aziz, however, is not constrained by your limited notions of what a think tank can be. As brand director for Absolut Labs, he's in charge of looking at ways that the company can spur innovation in the world of nightlife. "It's there to do two things," Aziz says of Absolut Labs. "It's there to be an idea incubator, and to be a think tank, as well." What that means in plain English is that Absolut Labs is looking for weird, unexpected ways to influence the nightlife experience. They started in August with a virtual reality project involving the Brooklyn band Bob Moses, where they provided Google Cardboard headsets to thousands of the band's fans, so they could all have an experience not unlike the one being enjoyed—live and in real time—by the 400 people in Williamsburg on the night of the band's gig. "That was our calling card," Aziz says of the experience. "To say 'this is what we're here to do: We're here to make nightlife better by using art, music, and technology in new and unique ways.'" The think tank, meanwhile, is looking at unique ways to apply data they've cultivated to the world of nightlife. "We had been doing research with a hundred of the most influential and interesting people doing nightlife in the U.S.," Aziz explains. "If our purpose was to make nightlife better, we had to first find out what's going on in nightlife, and what trends are driving it. So we created an interesting piece of qualitative research where we identified people from different tribes—the people making the music, the people making the visuals, the people promoting the parties—and we talked to lots of different types of people, to gather these insights to put together the report." The 21-page report Absolut created is full of interesting insights about the state of nightlife in 2015, covering the music, venues, and experiences that people want—and the ones that they're getting sick of. From there, Absolut found ways to develop events and experiences that reflect where people are right now. "One of the things we’re seeing at the moment is this nostalgia, where we’re seeing a reaction to the rise of the super clubs, the big EDM festival, and the big EDM DJ, where people want smaller, more intimate gatherings, like when they used to go to a great house party back in the day," Aziz says. "They miss that intimacy and that kind of connection, and that’s one of the insights that’s going to underpin Absolut Electrik House, this event we’re staging in L.A. on Friday night. It’s taking the rituals of the house party, but adding art, music, and technology in new ways to take it to a whole new level. On Friday night, people in L.A. are going to see a real-time demonstration of how we took an insight and made an experience out of it." That experience should be a unique one. Absolut promises "Instagram-worthy moments" that "will raise and measure the energy level of its house guests using custom biometric bracelets." And as the collective energy of the people at the party rises, different rooms in the house will unlock, leading to "a kitchen with drone bartenders," "a robot band in the garage," and a live performance in the backyard from Empire of the Sun. Putting on events in LA or Brooklyn that capture—and, perhaps, guide—the changing trends in nightlife is a cool opportunity for any brand. But it's also an unlikely investment, in terms of what typically works in those spaces. But Aziz says that, as consumers get more savvy and the world changes, traditional advertising and media will probably not be enough. "We realized when we set up Labs that Absolut is a brand that was built on advertising and media over the past 30 years, and it was one of the most iconic successful advertising campaigns of all time," he boasts. "But we realized that what’s driving the next 30 years, in addition to advertising, is going to be experiences and content and technology. So what this research has given us is a really good roadmap to start looking at all of the areas that Absolut as a brand can invest in. Whether they’re small startups, or our Nightlife 100 influencer community, or the general public, it's an opportunity for them to say what’s out there, and for us to ask, 'How do you think we can make nightlife better?'"
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