Try to remember the last piece of compelling, thought-provoking, “scroll-stopping” branded content you saw. It isn’t easy. That’s because we’re consuming what was once considered a year’s worth of content in an hour. With the introduction of smartphones and a world of content at our fingertips, we’re inundated with information from all channels at all times.
This has changed everything -- from how we share and receive information to how we interact with friends and brands. So, how do we evolve, adapt, and grow to keep up with today’s digital-first world? How do we stay relevant? How do we capture the hearts, minds, and paychecks of our consumers? How do we create and deliver the right content, at the right time, to the right people?
The first-ever Social Native Summit was born out of these questions. Our guest list could not have been more diverse, with representatives from all different industries (agencies, brands, enterprise, SMBs) and specialties (PR, communications, social, digital, media, data, growth, innovation). With all our differences, everyone shared one common goal: they recognized the critical role that content plays in effective marketing and advertising programs.
The day kicked off with Antonio Sciuto, EVP & CMO of Nestle Waters, who discussed how he completely rethought the customer experience, developed a new team structure and reorganized his team, focused on individual customer touch points, and ultimately unlocked 1:1 personalized marketing.
“Traditional marketing will remain the same: you will always have brand essence and brand strategy. What is changing is that technology is allowing us to amplify the message with a personalized consumer experience.”
After Sciuto’s keynote speech, we welcomed Hannah Robbins, CMO of Maple Hill Creamery, to share her team’s story and strategy for building a brand with grace and grit, especially how they’ve adopted a hyper-local advertising strategy to increase in-store sales by 172%.
A recurring theme throughout the marketing conference was that the future of content is personalized, it’s authentic and relevant. It’s engaging enough to capture someone’s attention for longer than 1.7 seconds. The future of content is democratized -- your creative agency, your consumers, you, everyone has the power to create epic content.
The jam-packed marketing conference continued with an expert agency panel featuring Jim Lin, SVP, Digital Strategist at Ketchum, Amy Vollett, SVP, Media at The Integer Group, Greg Brown, VP - Social & Innovation at FleishmanHillard, and our SVP of Partnerships, Brian Zweig. Panelists engaged in open discussion around what the future of content means for them and how they’re seeing leading brands adapt to changing consumer behaviors and expectations.
"People expect brands to be more human and that means being more brazen, taking a stand, having a mission. Brands that don't do this will be forgotten." ~Jim Lin
Next, we heard from Dana Shank, who led marketing at Kraft and most recently consulted for Kellogg’s and PepsiCo, about the major trends she’s seeing in CPG, as well as how to create a data-driven content strategy regardless of what industry you’re in.
“Don’t be scared of big data. If you have google analytics, you have data. If you have a social presence, you have data. Leverage this data to drive relevance.”
Aaron Paine, digital marketer most recently at BPCM and Polaroid, shared tips and tricks for integrating consumer content creators into your overall marketing strategy to achieve incredible results, including increasing Polaroid sales by 180%.
Then, Lina Renzina from the Ad Council took the stage with advice on how they leverage social media for social good.
“Empowering social media users to be creators for good creates a win-win-win. We get authentic content at scale and on demand. Creators are able to participate in the causes they care about. And consumers get authentic, relevant content on their feeds.”
Finally, Sophia Aladenoye from Sundial, a Unilever Brand, explained the importance of building a strong community and leveraging emerging technology to tell more compelling stories.
Last, but not least, we concluded the marketing conference with drinks and food on a beautiful rooftop patio overlooking NYC. There were specialty cocktails, delicious apps, and of course, a photo booth. A perfect final opportunity to enjoy, network and mingle, discuss your learnings the day, and most importantly: have fun!
Planning for the future is a key component required for any individual or institution to succeed. However, predicting the future may be overrated. Just think about the incredible evolution of content in the last 20 years -- from laptops to Blackberrys and now iPhones. As the creative industry continues to be defined by disruption, the need for custom, emotive, memorable content will remain a constant. In the words of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, “Focusing on the things that won't change does not guarantee success -- but it provides as close a foundation for success as you will find.”