A collision of thoughts

 

I just attended the 1st US edition of the Collision conference in New Orleans.
A 3 days marathon of start up pitches and product demos, talks by founder, developers, media execs and investors.

I focused my time mostly on keynote sessions to get a good feel for tech and media tends.

Here is what I captured.

I am not going to write about the strategic value of data, the astronomic rise of video, the audience fragmentation push and pull game, the importance of native content or the need to experiment with bots, etc…

All these topics were definitely highly discussed but I’d rather share fresh new insights that I haven’t heard much about before.

There are 2 of them.

1- VR is better with AR and AI:

VR was at the center of many many, many conversations. Every company, every start up seems to be involved in some way or another.

It is like we are recreating the invention of the moving image but instead of doing it over 100 years, it is happening in 3 to 5 years.

The impact of VR on our lives, our social interactions, our empathy is (will be) huge.

From the New York Times Displaced documentary covering the refugee crisis, to Charity water story telling, to Cirque du Soleil working on integrating VR into their shows, or recording important moments of our lives with the new Samsung VR camera being released next month….

VR is the next big thing. That is pretty obvious.
What was interesting at Collision conference was to hear about what will happen when VR is here, at scale.

 VR will be bigger with AR and AI (and vice versa)

The potential for VR + AR +AI merged together deepen utility and “enterpisification” in the work place, education and general life experiences…

For instance, imagine a VR experience with voice recognition, space tracking, hand movements and personal data all in one.

You are in a VR experience, you turn your hand up, your emails appear, speak to dictate your response, swipe right  and it calls the person you want to communicate with…

As screen definition improves, processing power speeds up, content creation becomes simpler, new human behaviors that we don’t even know could be possible will emerge simply because the VR echo system exists…

This is a good transition to the next insight.

2- Ethics:

If we are going to create robots and attempt to enhance human genetics and physiological functions, we need to solve ethical questions that didn’t need to be asked before.

I started to think about that at SXSW where I saw a few engineers giving presentations that we were closer to philosophy than technology.

Right now we know 2 stages of life “alive” and “not alive. So where do robots fit in and how we define their missions in society?

Andrea Keay, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics has endless knowledge and opinion about that. Here is one of her previous keynote.

What about the fascinating applications that Halo Neuroscience will have not only on sport performances but learning, education, medicine… how can the device be used without aggravating inequalities?
Is it pushing the limits of the human conditions?

As you can sense, the Collision conference was a great experience.
After 3 days of hyper stimulation, my brain was ready for some relaxing rhythm at NOJazzfest.

 

Marie Sornin

TVxTwitter- #MIPCOM2014 keynote

For those who missed it, here is the Twitter global TV team keynote at MIPCOM

Marie Sornin

Shouldn’t we say “brand experience” rather than native advertising?

I recently participated in the IAB seminar about native advertising alongside other industry experts: @HelgeFelixK from Fairfax, @benhamin from The Monkeys and @acwiedlin from Buzz Feed

Some awesome case studies were shared.

I presented the Jello pudding face meter:

Ben presented Oak reverse robbery:

What do these 2 campaigns have in common?

They create an experience based on emotional insights: might it be disappointment when once can not find their favorite flavored milk in the fridge, or one can’t help but smile when remembering the sweet taste of pudding.

I referred to this quote from David Ogilvy:
The Brand is not just a what you say it is, it’s the totality of what the consumer experiences”

Which I think these 2 examples illustrate very well.

But the best example to date for me is still the Redbull Stratos jump which demonstrates the power of what brands can create when thinking brand experience.

No more paid- owned- earned but a cross media phenomenon that makes everyone’s heart pound…

I also shared my personal experience with GoPro, and how I went from watching this…

… to creating this:

 

So, when discussing native advertising spend less energy worrying about the format, the distribution channels or cost of production… and concentrate your efforts in thinking how you can transform your message into an experience that your audience is wanting to participate in…

Marie Sornin

Cookies n sharks: the new recipe for ad planning

Today’s post is about the impact of social media on ad planning. Nothing to do with the main industry news of the day: the recent and surprising Publicis-Omincom merger.
This would be my attempt at leveraging real time events, pretty lame… I know…

The more experience I build in social media, the more obvious the challenge faced by marketers appears to me… Clearly, the agency<>client<>media-owner trio is not geared to operate in real time. From this situation arise most of the difficulties advertising professionals face in their day-to-day jobs, such as lack of understanding of the platforms, fear of loosing control to consumers, poor content, etc.…

The social media powered world evolves around breaking news, live events, influencers and their clout. For advertisers, it means capturing moments as they happen and turning them into “social currency” for their brands.

How? By introducing the concept of agile marketing.

Attempting a definition, would give something like “create, communicate and deliver unique value to an always changing consumer in an always changing market.

The perfect example of agile marketing is the Oreo daily twist campaign.

Every day for 100 days, the brand hijacked pop culture events and turned them into Oreo sharable content broadcasted via their social media channels. Oreo called it an “ambitious exercise of real time culture jacking”.

The effect: Oreo was the real winner of the Super Bowl with their “You can still dunk in the dark”. Did Oreo spend millions of $ to buy a TV spot during the Super Bowl? No… did Oreo reach millions of eyeballs during the game? Yes! Do people remember & talk about their message? Hell yes!
SuperBowl Oreo. You can still dunk in the dark

The smarts in this activation is that it keeps on giving way past the 100 days of the campaign… Proof is the “sharks in your living room” referencing the recent Sharknando phenomenon.
Oreo for Sharknado: sharks in your living room

So, how did they do it and why is it such an important case study?

They did it by getting their agencies and brand staff to collaborate as a virtual newsroom! By doing so, they transformed their brand planning cycle to “agile marketing”. And it worked!

With the rise of social media platforms it becomes more and more important for the trio (agency<>client<>media-owner) to adapt, react and even create live opportunities to communicate.

I believe that we should retire the yearly or quarterly planning cycles to unlock endless opportunities for brands to exchange with their audiences. The brands that will stand out in the future are the ones able to engage with their customers in the moment

Marie Sornin

An essay on social currency

Guest post by Alexander Southwick– Emerging Solutions and Social Advertising Executive at Fairfax Media

As social media develops to become a mainstream marketing channel for brands, there is a critical need to define the way we measure social success. In line with the traditional measurement metric of ‘reach’, most marketers look to the total number of ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ on their brand accounts as a key objective for their social media activities.
In theory, ‘reach’ should increase the engagement level with brands. Therein lies the dilemma of social networks: a consumer can filter out a brand if they feel they are being interrupted too much (spam). Knowing that the average post on a Facebook brand page will only reach 12% of your audience means that the total number of ‘likes’ a page has isn’t a true reflection of social success. Instead marketers need to look away from reach based messaging, to messaging that is adding value to the communities they are building around their brands: Social currency!

Social currency is a relatively new term that is applied to material being shared across social networks. People deal in social currency to increase their personal or brand standings in the eyes of peers and consumers. In short… something that people want to share and discuss. A brand updating their page with a new viral video gives their users a reason to share with their connections. As a result the creation of content with high social currency will help to add value to the community. Consequently, for marketers to be successful at social media, they need to look to develop content that gives social currency for users to take away and ‘share’, ‘retweet’, ‘reblog’ and ‘repin’ across social networks.

One of the most outstanding example of social currency is the  Red Bull Stratos Jump. It occurred on the 14th of October 2012 and not only did Felix break 3 world records, he helped Red Bull create truly unique and compelling ‘hook’ that people wanted to ‘share’, ‘retweet’, ‘reblog’ and everything in between. With more than 8 million people worldwide watching the Youtube Live stream, the post jump photo of Felix having landed safely has achieved 491,353 Likes, 21,175 comments and 50,508 shares the majority of which occurred in the first hour of it being uploaded! Multiplying the number of shares by the average number of friends a Facebook user has the reach potential got close to 11 million Facebook users. Even by applying the 12% viewing ratio, that still gives you a true reach of 1.32 million! Red Bull associated its brand to content that is so compelling  it became a mainstream topic of conversation. Direct marketing benefits are invaluable!

Creating social currency isn’t easy.
However, by deeply understanding your audience (beyond what they like about your brands & products), identifying what is  most interesting to your fans/followers and potential customers and creating content around it, you will have the keys to provide value. The next thing you need to do is break out of the TVC model and go for a ‘branded entertainment’ production model…. and that isn’t easy… only a few advertisers manage to do this well. The Mary Me Microsoft campaign we blogged about in 2010 and the ‘is it content or is it advertising?‘ post from last December showed good examples. Here is a more recent one: Teaching your consumers something new a in fun way is a particularly good, even if it has a bit of a sombre message –

As more marketers understand the importance of social currency, and consumers gain more power to ignore or amplify their message….  The process of surrounding the target consumer with messaging in an integrated campaign might not hold true anymore. Accurate measurement is critical for social media to keep growing its share in the communications mix. We must re-think how to evaluate social media KPIs and what messaging will achieve these KPIs .

As an agency or advertiser, do you have specific KPIs for your social media campaigns? Are able to clearly measure the benefit they are bringing to your marketing plans?

For more information on how to create social currency read our article “What are the three words that will guarantee social media success?”

Alexander Southwick

Sources:

Red Bull Facebook Page