Landor X: Man vs. Robot – where does the balance lie?

A panel of brand and customer experience experts has inspired a room of marketers our inaugural Landor X event: Man vs. Robot, proving that innovation, creativity and the human touch are essential for brands to thrive in our increasingly automated world.


With an introduction by Lois Jacobs, Landor’s Global CEO, who discussed the requirements on our rapidly changing branding marketplace, and the need to be adaptive, Dominic Walsh, Landor Australia’s Managing Director, then set the scene with an eerily dystopian view of a robot-driven future – highlighting the fears over automation causing a loss of jobs and what that means for humanity. Simon Bell, Strategy Director then took the audience through the 6 agile behaviours that forward-thinking brands are demonstrating to successfully to carve out their position in the market to advance today and ensure tomorrow’s future, linking human and technology.

Then it was over to the panel, hosted by Director of Innovation at Landor, Giles Day, consisting of Partner, Spatial & Brand Experience at Deloitte Australia, Robbie Robertson, VP of Insights at BBC Worldwide, Joe Lynch, Design Lead at Coca-Cola South Pacific, Ian Swanson, and Creative Account Lead at Google, Ross Jauncey.



Robertson from Deloitte Australia spoke about how far more jobs are being created off the back of technological advancements than being made redundant, despite the misconception in many industries. He spoke to the importance of change management and working to upskill staff to empower them to fill the time technology will help free up by completing the more mundane, administrative tasks.

“We are seeing a shift in marketing and communication professionals upskilling in areas such as data analytics to help them understand how best to use the volume of data that we are now able to collect.  Combining technology with marketing skills –  the human and emotional side and being able to analyse data and draw insights & value from it its fast becoming a necessary skill for the industry” said Robertson.


Jauncey spoke about the role technology plays in not only helping his team at Google be more efficient, but also enhance customer experience and provide better ways to create and curate content. Naming examples such as Google Cardboard and Tango, he talked to his excitement about what technology could do for storytelling from both a brand and consumer point of view.

“Pokémon Go at the moment is about collecting – imagine if that changed to creating. Look at Snapchat – it is allowing kids to create and curate content every day,” said Jauncey.


While Lynch admitted the television industry was initially slow to adapt and use technological advancements to better create content and measure engagement, he spoke to how BBC Worldwide was now using different technologies to collect various modes of data to help better predict if content was going to be successful.

“Our skill set is not a traditional insights team, it’s about the art of persuasion, communication and story telling. Data is a tool – it is only as good as the hands that wield it,” continued Lynch.


Swanson from Coca-Cola South Pacific was also quick to remind marketers to remain grounded – and that the best insights are usually found by actually speaking to and engaging with consumers.

“We tend to lose ourselves in the data – forgetting that the humble pen and paper is where the best ideas started, with insights from real people,” continued Swanson.

It was Jauncey though that worked to reassure the room when the panel was asked to predict the jobs of the future in marketing and branding, concluding: “Businesses will always need good ideas. So we need to stay on top of creativity.”

In conclusion, the panel identified the growth of automation and robots as a benefit to the marketing industry, freeing up humans to provide valuable insights and ideas vs. number crunching and data capture, but stressed the need for innovation, creativity and a development of skills and learning to ensure we are ready to adapt to the changes that automation will bring. ‘Increasingly Landor is needing to facilitate breakthrough innovation for its clients to keep pace with technological change. The key to this is applying agile principles.’ concluded Landor’s Managing Director, Dominic Walsh.

Watch this space for a detailed report on the insights and implications from our discussion.


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