I ventured out to BRITE 2011, “part of a global series of conferences that focus on emerging trends in branding, innovation, technology, society, and culture.” Conveniently organized by the Columbia Business School (that is, about 7 blocks from my apartment), the one-and-a-half-day conference was a great opportunity to see how much a complete novice like me could absorb in a span of 36 hours.
flickr photo by wisdomlight
Turns out, quite a bit! The confab provided a really striking contrast between the people, agencies and companies that seemed to “get it” and those that were still stuck in PowerPoint presentations.
Here are a few thoughts/notes I typed when I was not being mesmerized by speakers. Lots of interesting tweets can be found at #Briteconf — but if reading tweets were easy, nobody would bother to read blogs.
“Audience First: How Marketers Can Meet the Challenge of the New Media World”
Antonio Lucio, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Visa Inc., said his company had boosted its investment in social media from 12 percent to 36 percent in 2 1/2 years – and the figure’s quickly heading towards 40 percent.
Key Quote: “We had to destroy the digital marketing department. We had to build the level of education of the marketing department, and of our senior managers, so they could help us.” — This to me is crucial. This is a question that has haunted me ever since the digital media revolution started in the news industry 12 or 13 years ago. To my dismay, I would notice time and time again that only the youngest or the brightest had any clue as to how this was going to REALLY transform the old media universe. I remember working on a Flash animated map back in 1999, and trying to explain to a managing editor why trying something so sophisticated (which it was, at the time) was important.
The divide between the “Get-It” and “Don’t Get-It” kept widening even as the social media revolution came to a head. I still shudder when I remember that many people in upper management in the media industry were still wondering if Facebook was just a fad, in 2009!
Social media has changed consumer behavior – cityville reached 100 mln users in less than 40 days
Lucio also emphasized the basic shift that has happened with social media: the move from a “Yell and Sell” model (a.k.a the Funnel) to an “Army of Advocates” (the “Loyalty Loop”). “Sharing is the new giving.”
Therefore, media plans must integrate paid/owned/shared media. Participation is the new consumption, recommendation is the new advertising.
The next presenter, Steve Rubel, SVP, Director of Insights, Edelman Digital, presented “11 digital trends to watch in 2011.”
1. Attentionomics—advertisers will realize the value of attention, and not just reach and impressions, in driving conversations. It’s a qualitative shift.
2. Curation – it’s all about those who can separate art from junk.
— Identify under-served niches and meet them,
— frame up issues and discussions, editorialize
— make curation collaborative and social
3. Developer engagement – developers drive innovation across all key platforms. mktg leaders will begin working with these stakeholders to scale their digital programs and surface area. If you build an ecosystem, you will work with developers and you must make your assets available to them. Build APIs and cultivate a rich developer network
4. Transmedia storytelling. We love stories, we crave them. Technology constantly advances the art of storytelling and creates new expectations. It also helps marketers connect. We must recognize that narratives is no longer a whole, no beginning or end. We must help audience connect the dots.
5. Tought leadership – Companies have to have credible expert voices who can propagate new ideas. People crave experts. There has been a devaluation of the notion of “friend,” and people don’t know 20 percent of their Facebook friends. But expertise remains very powerful.
6. Integration: Social media is compartmentalized in marketing or advertising in most companies. But you must integrate into a more holistic communication. To put it more simply: “Social media should not be 100 percent of one person, but 1 percent of 100 people.”
7. Ubiquitous social consumption: We will connect wherever, whenever – mobile solutions reign. “Immaculate Palace”-type websites are not that important. The tablet space will be a tremendous battle. “Optimize for mobility, not just mobile.”
8. Location, location, Facebook — facebook is well positioned to take over local. Think in terms of: “Local/ social/ photo/ mobile”
9. Social media schizophrenia: Social overload will become something more and more average users will experience. Let people self-select, maximize the dominant platforms and do them well, don’t get overextended. Keep it simple and convenient.
10. Google strikes back! Google and social are oxymorons — but they are going to make social incredibly social.
11. Viva la social website – it is still important to bring social functionality back into the website. Incorporate social data from connections, friends; design for function and form.
Other great tidbits from Rubel:
— Facebook have an incredible amount of data. “They are like the old Soviet Union, they have a social graph that foursquare simply can’t touch.” They will start making money from data services.
— You can’t build suspense with video. Most people drop off watching video after 90 seconds online.
The session ended with one of the most puzzling media decisions I have ever witnessed: Neve Savage, Netflix’s VP of Consumer Marketing, made a presentation on “Building the Netflix Brand” — which was labeled off the record!? Pretty inexplicable.