A vision for the future: Essential insights from British influencers at dmexco
Innovation is in the air in Cologne, Germany this week. September is getting off to a remarkably innovative start — dmexco is in town. A conference dedicated to “Lightening the age of Transformation”, dmexco sees innovative businesses, future thinkers, and those who are crafting the future, come from far and wide to further the conversation about our future world.
Across September 13th and 14th, we were front and center for talks from some of the most influential voices around the globe. We witnessed first-hand how businesses will — and must — transform their every operation on the fly as marketing and AdTech etiquette evolves, if they hope to meet the demands of the customer of tomorrow.
Here’s what we learned:
Branded content is the future
At dmexco, Canter kicked off the conference in the Motion Hall by presenting the top trends in branded content, giving specific examples of noteworthy projects and campaigns.
The first trend was social interaction and the importance of brands going where their audiences are present. To illustrate this point, he highlighted how Mattel has made Barbie a vlogger on YouTube, keeping the accessible and friendly tone she’s always had. The channel has over 2.5 million subscribers and covers topics from ‘When jokes go too far’ to ‘Barbie does the Mannequin Challenge.’
Another trend was longform content vs. snackable content, illustrated by the branded documentary Lo and Behold. Presented by Netscout and directed by Werner Herzog explores our dependence on the internet. Coming in at 1 hour and 38 minutes, it definitely challenges the notion that humans only have an attention span of 8 seconds (one second shorter than a goldfish), and should be served short, easily-digestible, branded content in order to be engaging.
Netscout, a provider of application and network performance management products, wouldn’t be the first brand you’d think of to create cool, compelling branded content — but they did, and oh did it work for them. After Lo and Behold premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Netscout received the most new business enquiries in 30 years, and had a 10x increase (25 billion) in annual impressions. And to top it all off, the campaign won two gold Lions and one silver Lion at Cannes Lions Entertainment 2017.
Canter continued to discuss fiction in branded content with an example from Santander, which won the Entertainment Lions Grand Prix at Cannes for a sci-fi thriller short film that questions whether money is more important than experiences, as well as the role of gamification in driving engagement and how Deutsche Bank created simVestor to do just that.
To wrap it all up, brands now more than ever are creating original and compelling branded content — and their investments are paying off, big time.
Company cultures should evolve
If there’s a person who’s qualified to take on the topic of industry transformation in the digital age it’s Dr. Sarah Wood OBE. Named to the prestigious Debrett’s 500 list of the most influential Brits, Wood has been leading UK tech and innovation for 11 years as the co-founder and CEO of Unruly, a video AdTech company founded in 2006 and acquired by News Corp for £114m in 2015.
Startup founders are often asked about how to maintain a company culture as they grow and open up offices around the world. Wood commented, “You have a better chance of building a business if you have an awesome culture. And those cultures evolve — most successful startups they grow with people, but the values remain the same.”
She also spoke about the importance of not only creating a fun and inclusive company culture, but a safe space: “When people think about entrepreneurs, they think about risk taking and disruption, but it’s really about creating a safe space for your team to be awesome — and they may well disrupt a market, but that’s only valuable if it’s creating a solution and they have a safe space to fail.“