Is influencer marketing dead? Should purpose-led marketing be profitable? What is the future of content? The Social Native Summit 2019 did more than just answer these questions, it helped marketers find actionable solutions to them. Hosted this year at The Standard on New York City’s High Line, The Social Native Summit united over 100 of the best minds in the industry to collaborate, network, and learn from each other over a mutual passion for content marketing.
The Future of Content
The day kicked off with Jennifer Kavanagh, SVP Marketing & Media at the Philadelphia Eagles, who explored her predictions on the future of content. Jennifer’s predictions come with much credibility, having predicted the rise of Facebook Watch back in 2015 and now shifting her focus to a term she coined “ear-fluence”.
“Podcasts are interesting to me because what’s old is new again… You now have the ability to create a world using your imagination and that is really exciting.”
Audio and podcasts were a prominent theme throughout the day. During a panel discussion centered on improving the performance of Facebook ads, Eva Lauer, Growth Marketing Manager at Classpass pointed to testing podcast ad placement as a powerful medium to connect with consumers:
Purpose-Led Marketing is Here to Stay
Melissa Hobley, Global CMO at OkCupid was second to take the stage. For Hobley, attention-grabbing out-of-home advertising is one of the bravest and boldest ways brands can take a stand for what they believe in.
The dating app’s DTF campaign showcases the importance of creative content in cause and effect. With a mission to redefine the derogatory label, DTF ads are serving as a colorful counterpoint to turn heads and create positive change.
Gemma Craven, Head of Marketing at Babylon Health, continued the conversation around meaningful marketing and the many mistakes brands make when it comes to purpose.
Consumers are making choices based on their values, and brands must define their purpose to connect authentically with the values-led consumer.
Although purpose-led brands stand to grow 2x faster than those without any higher-order societal aim, Craven reminded us that purpose is more than an ad campaign and must be woven into a brand’s fabric in order for it to be meaningful and to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Creating Influence at Scale
Before the event broke for lunch, Ketchum’s Partner, SVP Digital Strategist & Creative Director, Jim Lin, was joined on stage by Social Native’s CEO David Shadpour to discuss the question that’s top of mind for many: is influencer marketing dead? Influencer marketing has defined much of the industry in recent years, but its value has been increasingly questioned as marketers evaluate what it is that defines influence.
Jim Lin believes that numbers matter, but focus matters more:
"Think about the effect, not the vehicle. It’s influence marketing, not influencer marketing."
In agreeing that micro-influencer audiences are often more receptive, David Shadpour stated that:
"As long as you're creating inspiring content, then that’s influential regardless of the number of followers you have. The important question is, what is it that you do with that content?"
That question was answered later in a session lead by Litehouse and Crafted Communications.
In discussing how (and why) to extend the shelf-life of influencer content, Camille Balfanz, Sr. Brand Manager at Litehouse and Kari Ramsey, Senior Vice President at Crafted Communications outlined the many ways brands can better embody a customer-first narrative by scaling UGC.
To showcase how UGC can unlock limitless content opportunities, Camille Balfanz used Litehouse’s Homestyle Ranch promotional campaign as a reference throughout the session.
The campaign activated 90 real-life families to produce an authentic content library that increased sales by 95% during the promotion. Leveraging the content beyond social, Litehouse found new ways to sell into worldwide supermarkets and expand its presence in the e-commerce landscape.
Their key takeaways when it comes to UGC? Let influencers have creative freedom, strive for real, not perfect, and extend the content lifespan by exploring its many uses beyond the initial campaign timeframe.
The Science of UGC
UGC is equally a creative art as it is a science and Sophia Aladenoye, Director, Digital Strategy and Emerging Tech, Unilever - Sundial Brands reminded us of that. When sharing the importance of testing content to successfully build a storytelling strategy that resonates with audience communities, Sophia advised:
Nestle Waters North America’s Sr. Marketing Manager, Personalization & Content Lab, Christi Lazar, was joined on stage by Social Native’s Becca Van Houten to showcase how their many brands are gaining valuable insights from testing UGC across multiple channels and consumer touchpoints.
Expanding their marketing horizons, Nestle Waters is tapping into video creators to diversify the dynamism of its outbound marketing efforts:
“Content creation channels need to be re-imagined so our brands can create enough custom content for all consumer touchpoints.”
Breaking its traditional content marketing molds, Perrier is leveraging stop-motion video to bring the brand to life and create impact at scale. Partnering with Social Native Creators, Perrier is exploring new methods to reimagine its brand persona and to create a more engaging narrative for its consumers to connect to.
The Life of a Creator
This year, we were joined by one of Social Native’s most epic Creators - stop-motion extraordinaire, Mike. Mike flew in all the way from Spain to attend the Summit to offer a behind the scenes glimpse into the life of a creator.
Throughout the day, Mike shot this live-video using only our guests’ branded products and presented the final piece to perfectly close the day off.
The content landscape is changing at a staggering rate. Consumers are exposed to 10,000 brand messages a day and spend, on average, less than 2 seconds on each piece. Stopping the scroll has never been more important, resonating with audiences has never been harder, but scaling influence has never been as achievable as it is today with the help of the new age of creators. The Social Native Summit 2019 offered our guests an abundance of actionable insights to not only improve their content marketing strategy, but to also expand it, diversify it and to inject it with purpose. As our world becomes more saturated with content every second, the need for authentic, relatable, dynamic content has never been more necessary.