Backstage report: from chemical engineer to digital creative

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Backstage report: from chemical engineer to digital creative

In this edition of the backstage report, we talk with our colleague Maarten, a Belgian from Antwerp with an unexpected background and a long career at LiveWall. He explains how he ended up at LiveWall and what central themes like engagement, gamification, and loyalty mean to him.

From processes to passion

Maarten began his career as a chemical engineer in the pharmaceutical industry. "A good 7+ years ago, I was in a completely different industry," he shares. At Johnson & Johnson, he worked as a process engineer in chemical production. "With a nice hard helmet in production, turning knobs and whatnot."

Finding a new flavor

Despite his success in the pharmaceutical world, Maarten felt it wasn't his calling. He decided to try something new and got in touch with Frits. "They were the only ones who didn't care about my background," Maarten says. They saw more in his passion, energy, and enthusiasm than in his experience. This led him to IntoApps, a branch of LiveWall set up as a joint venture with Xylos. Here, his adventure in the world of digital innovation began.

Growth and innovation

At LiveWall, Maarten started in business development, focusing on the Belgian market. "The goal was also to start selling in the Belgian market," he explains. His role quickly evolved, and he became a key part of the management team. "I am co-responsible for outlining the strategy for LiveWall."

Maarten plays a crucial role in developing interactive applications and platforms for major brands. "Together with Frits and other colleagues like Bob, we built a few more partnerships. McDonald's was one of the first where we leaned more towards gamification. That tasted like more, and so we continued."

The importance of engagement and gamification

One of the highlights of Maarten's work is developing gamification campaigns for clients like Rituals. "People can play to win their advent calendars, for example," Maarten says. These campaigns are not only fun and engaging for users but also deliver a massive return on investment for clients. "We generated many new leads within one campaign. Those leads are then activated via email campaigns to shop online or in retail. We tracked those purchases up to 7-8 months after the campaign, generating additional revenue for Rituals."

Seek the emotional connection

According to Maarten, the key to successful campaigns lies in a deep emotional connection with the target audience. "We add a deeper layer, the emotional connection, engagement, and entertainment in a fun way."

He also sees great potential in AI for personalization and advice but warns that brands must maintain their authenticity. "You must really use your own voice and personality, not communicate mechanically like other brands do."

Advice for future digital creatives

Maarten has simple but powerful advice for anyone considering a career in this field: "You either want something or you don't. If you end up somewhere and it feels right, then it feels right." His own energy and passion for his work are evident in everything he does. "It's a quest for what gives you energy or not. I find that I get a lot of energy from this and enjoy working on it every day. That's why I'm here."

Bringing back the human touch

At LiveWall, everything revolves around bringing back humanity in brands and amplifying it through engagement. "We believe that if you do something in a fun, personal, authentic, and entertaining way, it's more effective," says Maarten.

A success example is the collaboration with Rituals. The digital advent calendar campaign developed by LiveWall translated the physical calendar into an immersive 3D world. "The main goal was to generate new leads, new opt-ins, new people in their database, so they can activate them" he explains. The campaign was not only innovative but also highly effective, with a return on investment of over 1000%.

The future in AI and personalization

Maarten sees the rise of AI as an exciting development in the industry. "AI offers enormous possibilities for personalization and personal advice, which is important for strengthening loyalty. We recently applied this in campaigns, such as personalized sports or recovery advice based on customer input, linked to the right products from retail."

However, he emphasizes that maintaining the human touch remains crucial. "Brands must retain their own voice and not communicate mechanically. AI can help with scalability, but you must choose wisely when to use it. Brands shouldn't try to be cool but should be themselves and find ways to activate themselves."

Make it fun!

We find it very important to bring back humanity in brands and amplify it through engagement. "We believe that if you do something in a fun, personal, authentic, and entertaining way, it's more effective," says Maarten.

Curious about how we can strengthen your brand with creative and digital solutions? Contact LiveWall and discover the possibilities!

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