In this blog, we spoke to Itai Bichler, Head of Creative & Craziness at SodaStream. Itai has been a client with Meltwater for many years. He recently gave a super successful talk on using social listening to optimise your strategy at our first event in Tel Aviv. Going into 2019, we thought it would be inspiring to learn from him and get to know a bit more about his life and career!

What does your day-to-day role as Head of Creative & Craziness entail?

So, my new title is Head of Creative and Craziness. While it may not be the most common title you can find on LinkedIn, I think it embodies what SodaStream values to be important and strategic for the company; the ability to be a bit crazy and go for it!
What makes my day to day a bit different is the fact that while I do have my day to day assignments such as digital creatives, social listening, analytics reviews, etc. I allow myself the freedom to be flexible and pull together quick high impact projects that we bring to life in no time. The newest one is a cool video that tells the “real story” behind the PepsiCo SodaStream acquisition which we produced in less than 48 hours.

How long have you been in the role for and what led you down this path?

I have been with SodaStream for 4 years now; starting as the Head of Global Digital, I also did a lot of communication projects, Creative for every consumer touch point including Packaging, ATL, etc. I also managed the Global PR efforts. I think that my new role is the aggregation of all my past experience and I see myself as the person whose job is to bring the fire, insanity and brand love to SodaStream. I am a hands-on kind of guy and I love editing, shooting, ideating, writing, and I believe that gives me a great edge which I truly enjoy.

How do you come up with ideas / find inspiration for your strategy?

My CEO Daniel Birnbaum says that everyone that ever took a shower has had an idea and I fully agree. Inspiration can come from everywhere; competitors, colleagues, even politicians (since they are looking to stand out all the time…) my personal ideas are coming from dialogues which I try to do a lot, I will have a seed of an idea and I will juggle it around with my partners and if it passes the “night test” meaning that it’s still interesting after you’ve slept on it, then I will try to develop it.

If you could go on holiday anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I love New York, something in this city fills me up every time I go, so I would love to go there with my family which I haven’t done yet.

What’s your favourite Meltwater tool or widget?

I love the Meltwater app, I find myself spending as much time there as I do in my personal apps, because you really learn what people feel towards your brand. To me, it’s the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of my job

What do you do in your free time?

I love to be with my family, cook with my wife (which means I clean the dishes when she cooks), I am also very passionate about promoting awareness about the struggles of the hearing impaired; My daughter has been hearing impaired since birth and I try and help in any way I can to create a much more tolerant ecosystem for her to grow up in.

How does Meltwater support you in your role?

Social listening, in general, is the most important marketing tool to understand the true impact of your work. In the same way that sales are the indicator for commercial success, Social listening is the tool to evaluate the emotional connection people have for your brand which is the holy grail of marketers in my book.

Who inspires you?

My daughter – As I mentioned before she is hearing impaired so sometimes I look at her when she doesn’t know and I see the efforts she needs to make in order to understand a situation when many people talk at the same time. I just admire her for being so courageous.

What’s been your favourite campaign of 2018?

In the SodaStream case, I would have to say that it was our recruitment video which was chosen as the best recruiting video ever made. What I learned is that a recruitment video can also have an unbelievable marketing impact.

In the world, I would say that I’m an addict of well executed emotional video and my favourite this year was John Lewis Elton John ad, which moved me to tears.

What’s the best professional advice you have been given?

Creativity is the engine for everything in life, If you can’t dream, you eventually find yourself bored, and uninspired. Great marketing is all about inspiration and impact and if you find yourself too tied up with the details you lose sight of the big picture. So although it may sound like a cliché I would say that you need to dream big and take chances!

“Creativity is the engine for everything in life, If you can’t dream, you eventually find yourself bored, and uninspired.”