Searchlight keynote: innovate, integrate

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Understanding change is competing for the future, according to keynote speaker and Starcom MediaVest Group CEO Laura Desmond. She spoke at Yahoo's Second Annual Searchlight Award Show in the Time-Life Building in New York.

Ms. Desmond said to be successful organizations need to pursue innovation, integration, reinvention and imagination.

"The pace of change has been extremely intense and I believe it will continue this way for years to come," Ms. Desmond said. "Search shows a lot of promise as it allows us to get very close to consumer intent."

Eighty-nine percent of all Web activity begins with search, she said, making it a crucial market to enter and achieve in.

Innovation. Ms. Desmond used 60-year-old sports brand Puma as an example of a company that has pursued innovation. The company's recent rebirth involved the creation of a new sector of the market called athleisure. The company is now setting the pace for athleisure.

"There is no formula for innovation," Ms. Desmond said. "It is, however, important to embrace invention and change and to take risks because you will miss 100 percent of the shots you do not take."

Integration. She also stressed the importance of integrating offline with online, since it is a better means of communication with the consumer. Offline campaigns should be designed so that they somehow drive consumers online.

Once consumers are online, it's easier to track them and to see what their intent is, making it easier to decipher who the buyers are and even what they are buying.

Reinvention. Madonna was the example Ms. Desmond used to illustrate that reinvention is the key to sustainability. The pop star has been around for years and recently came out with a more mature and age-appropriate image.

Ms. Desmond then quoted Tiger Woods: "Winning is fun, but having the chance to get better every day is the most exciting part."

Imagination. When staying in the same place, the view does not change, Ms. Desmond said. Therefore, it is important to change things up a bit and spice them up.

Imagination is important because it sets companies apart from the competition.

"The high-tech, on-demand era is here to stay," Ms. Desmond said.

Searchlight spotlights Freedom
Avenue A | Razorfish was selected as this year's winner of Yahoo's Second Annual Searchlight Award Show in the Time-Life Building in New York for the Chase Freedom campaign.

The campaign was rewarded for its creative message and integrated media efforts. It not only increased awareness of the Chase rewards program but also drove users to apply for the card online.

Other nominees included the witty and entertaining Sprint-Talladega Nights' campaign presented by NeoSearch; the powerful Special K campaign, which targeted weight-conscious women to find support; and Lexus' all-new LS, presented by Team One, which made the car seem like a must-have and even had Jay Leno and Rosie O'Donnell baffled.

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