“Technological innovation is reaching an exponential point in which every year it doubles its growth”

“Technological innovation is reaching an exponential point in which every year it doubles its growth”

Attiki, Athens. Interweave

Senior Leadership Team at Interweave Agency:

  • Aigli Balamatsi, CEO & Executive Strategy Director
  • Andreas Hatzifotis, Head of Technology
  • Frederico Roberto, Executive Creative Director

The case “Passage to the light”, winner in the past edition of WINA, what teachings did it leave you?

Passage to the light is one of those projects that anyone would dream of having the opportunity to work for”, stresses Aigli Balamatsi, Interweave’s CEO & Executive Strategy Director.

Mount Athos is the epicenter of the Christian Orthodox church, a more than a thousand-year-old monastic self-governing community. The “Passage to the light” project aimed to showcase, in digital form, artifacts and heirlooms of enormous historic, artistic and cultural value, enclosed in 13 Monasteries at Mount Athos – treasures never before accessible to the public.

Our goal was to design a holistic, interactive experience that would “bring to the light” all this great volume of cultural wealth, in an inspiring and enlightening way. Special emphasis was given to audiences that would never otherwise have the opportunity to actually visit Mount Athos and see all these  heirlooms, like women (who are not allowed at all into Mount Athos territory), or academics and researchers who need special permissions to examine and study these artifacts. Young people were also a priority, as we wanted them to discover this vast but still unexplored cultural territory.

Handling this once-in-a-lifetime project taught us that the great importance of (re)discovering “hidden” or inaccessible cultural treasures and opening them for the public in a way that should be relevant to the modern world while putting across ancient values that concern the whole of humanity.”

“From an audience point of view, it was more a reminder than a teaching per se. The reminder that people will always be ready for wonderment, for the “wow” factor, for the ability – and capacity – to imagine, to explore, to want go further” Frederico Roberto, Interweave’s Executive Creative Director explained. Andreas Hatzifotis, the agency’s Head of Technology added: “Everyday, new tools come along that allow us all to transform ideas into experiences and data into even a vision. Our challenge and, at the same time, teaching from this project was to successfully convey the authentic experience of Mount Athos monastic life in a space and time out of its original environment, using innovative technology.”

Did this action generate the expected results? Did it produce any changes or reactions beyond the wide media coverage it had?

“Even though it was part of our goals for this experience to become recognized as a turning point in the spiritual journey of Mount Athos, the true impact came from unsuspected places” Aigli told us. “We are persistently being asked by numerous entities, both in Greece and abroad, to tour this project so even more people, irrespectively of their religious or cultural background, can experience it.

The “Passage to the Light” project opened for the first time the door to a previously inaccessible cultural domain, a kind of “sanctum” if you will. We are yet to see and comprehend the groundbreaking results of such an initiative – in academic research, in the way we define and present similar cultural domains or in the way we preserve intangible elements of cultural heritage”, Aigli concluded.

How do we set the objectives properly to achieve the expected results?

“The nature of the project dictates the results that we’ll strive towards. It’s of the utmost importance that we understand the vision of our partners – commercial or institutional ones – and acknowledge the steps ahead to get to that vision” Frederico elucidates. “Then we need to understand and do a deep dive into what people really need, aspire to and how we can be of added value. When we marry together all of these points, that’s when we can anticipate the impact that we set ourselves to achieve in the very beginning. That impact can be quantitative or qualitative, but it has to be meaningful and it has to drive some sort of change” the creative concluded.

How to create “world-class interactive experiences”?

Interweave’s responsible for all of its technological output, Andreas Hatzifotis, is adamant that usability and ‘immersiveness’ are at the forefront of key metrics when designing “world-class interactive experiences”. Andreas adds “sometimes companies and entities tend to go the flashier, shiny type of gimmicky tricks that sound great on paper – and look great in real life – but have little to no impact on the information retention we need to aim at. We need to continue to push the envelope to come up with the next big thing, don’t get me wrong, but not at the expense of leaving key moments and aspects of brand saliency behind.”

Network interactions have become the new battlefield of marketing, but how do you achieve interactions in the midst of such digital saturation?

“Ideas. One can have the biggest, most beautiful choreography of 10.000 drones in the world. But if you don’t have an idea, if you don’t spark an emotion in people’s hearts and minds, you just have a very expensive toy” Frederico quickly intervenes. Aigli Balamatsi goes further and declares “Less is more. Less, more invisible, less obvious use of technology is actually the way forward. Technological innovation is reaching an exponential point in which every year it doubles its growth. Soon it will be every 6 months. Then maybe, every month. But at the very heart of tech innovation there are – or should be – the people that will still use or live that digital experience. And we won’t be able to cope with all that technology, unless it becomes ‘invisible’ in a way”

Do you think every advertising action should be measurable?

“Yes, of course”, the Head of Strategy replies. Aigli has no doubt that advertising, as a key component of any marketing plan, has a specific goal and that goal needs to constantly be evaluated and, if needed, re-defined. “When dealing with people, one has to be flexible. The creative part of the business side of our industry can be actually quite interesting.” Aigli suggests. Frederico, agrees: “This is not the 50s anymore, in which you’d expect a reaction to an action in a very straightforward way. We need to be constantly on the lookout on the tiny variations of our business operations and creative outputs to adapt, (re)create and innovate in new and relevant ways that will make people become true brand advocates.”

Is the creativity between London and Athens very different?

All three agree: “Where there’s people, there will always be ideas. And where there are ideas, there’s human progress”. Interweave’s senior management team explained to us that both cities’ – and countries – are obviously very different, starting with the investment that it’s done in both London and in Athens. In that sense, Aigli, the agency’s CEO and Executive Strategy Director, reminded us of the very inception of Interweave: “I wanted to do something for Greece and in Greece. Help my country while it was struggling to get out of a very tough financial crisis, drive change and bring growth to our clients and partners, to our people and our community. My expertise and passion was branding, innovation and communication, so I went full-on towards that direction. When we thought about expanding in the UK, we thought that the transformational moment that Brexit brought to the table was a pivotal one to be part of the change in that country, in the new era for its internal industries and sectores to thrive abroad”.  Frederico, operating at Interweave’s London office finishes: “We know it’s a different scale of operations, but at the end of the day, people will be people, so creativity will always be the solution that will bring the desired impact. We just need to scale it accordingly.”