D&AD, APRIL 2020

Is it time for cultural relevance to drive growth?

A #stayhome interview with Leila Fataar, Founder of Platform13

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we are checking in with members of our creative community to discuss how they are faring, their new working realities and the ever-shifting face of creativity.

In this interview, Leila Fataar (Platform13) discusses how her business is adapting to the new reality brought upon the coronavirus crisis, the rising importance of culture-led planning and how Platform13 uses its channels to bring together the creative community.

How's Platform13 adapting to the COVID-19 outbreak?

​Platform13 was built to flex and move at the speed of culture for ourselves and our clients. Our global networked business model means we quickly and easily curate the right teams according to the territory, category, community and culture the brand wants to be or is part of - on both the thinking and do-ing side of things - so luckily it's business as usual for us.

Managing teams in the context of self-isolation can turn into a cumbersome task. How are you dealing with it?

​From inception, we have had the ability to work from anywhere; for us, there is a seamless transition between virtual and IRL ways of working. Self-isolation doesn't mean disconnection, but its definitely an adjustment for people and companies. This is the fastest mobilisation of remote working that's ever been seen. Think people are getting used to it now.

How do you see creativity changing in the next year?

This unprecedented time has meant that brands/companies have had to dig deep and think about those 'purpose-led' statements or stance they took - you can see the difference with those who truly LIVE it and those who used it as only a marketing 'campaign'. This is truly the time where corporate and consumer comms will intersect - something I have personally championed for a while now. I hope brands/companies finally make cultural relevance a growth driver, create plans with a culture-first approach to add value to their communities, target consumers and to build cultural leaders. For me, creative has always reflected cultural shifts and its respective resonance - how does your target audience want to receive your message? Is your message relevant to them? How does creative shift from brand out to culture in.

How should creatives adapt to this new reality?

​ Be creative :)

How can creative businesses assure clients that they can still meet their needs despite the current lock-down?

Creative businesses need to be flexible and adaptable to client need, and creative needs to respond to consumer needs - this hasn't changed. What has changed is how we do that. That's what each business has to figure out for themselves.

You recently launched a new Instagram account on Brand Activism amid the outbreak. What inspired you to do so and how do you intend it to develop?

I actually launched it over a year ago. It's a personal project on the belief that brands (and by that I mean big companies, crews, collectives and even individual people) can make positive impact. I am an eternal optimist. We have really seen this come to life, with so many stories that we have had to revert to putting all the good news up on the @brand_activism Instagram stories, archived in our COVID-19 highlights. Very very uplifting in this time.

Are you are aware of any other resources or initiatives helping our community at this time?

We are launching a new Platform13 initiative on our Instagram @platform13_ this week. We believe our community is stronger when we learn from each other. At P13 we get tons of requests for advice on careers, industries, managing difficult times in your career, how to get to the next stage, etc. We understand a career journey can be tough and challenging. But we believe you never fail; you either win or learn. So, while we have had this temporary pause, we have created INSIDE TRACK. Each week, we'll be asking new insiders - people who know the ups, downs, successes and failures in their fields - to provide practical advice to the questions our community always wanted answering. Questions are submitted, and our insiders will share their insights, pass on their knowledge, answer questions with practical advice from their own experience, providing a valuable resource at this challenging time.


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