Apr 25, 2019

By Kelby Clark
A look ahead at the technologies and trends to anticipate.

Heading into Social Media Week 2019, industry leaders are looking for answers to more important questions than how to make content go viral.

The global theme of the 11th annual conference is “Stories: With Great Influence Comes Great Responsibility.” Speakers and attendees will dive into our shrinking attention spans, explore how AI and other new technologies will influence digital content, as well as the need to be more fact-based and truthful in the content we share online to discover how to better use the power of the medium for good.

Viacom spoke with eight panelists to learn the trends and insights they will be listening for (and presenting) during next week’s event.

 

"It will be awesome to see how brands are digging into the idea of impacting a customer on a human level."

Grad Conn

Chief Experience and Marketing Officer at Sprinklr

On the lookout for: Creating personalized, engaging content and building a strong community with this content is standing out to me as the theme to watch at SMW. It will be awesome to see how brands are digging into the idea of impacting a customer on a human level. I’m really looking forward to hearing from a number of Sprinklr customers that are discussing creative content, such Ken Gibbs VP of Social Media and Digital Video, BET Networks, who is hosting a talk on Black influencers. the following talk: Young, Black, & Influential: How BET is Using Black Influencers to Drive Record-Breaking Engagement. Another customer, Jay Sethi, Vice President, Smirnoff & Nurture Brands Portfolio at Diageo, is part of an interesting panel on digital storytelling Tuesday. I’m also curious to hear what Nationwide will say on Wednesday around storytelling techniques to build brand trust. And, I’m sure the topic of trust will come up in many other panels since it ties into the overall conference theme of using influence responsibly.

What he’ll be talking about: I’ll be giving a keynote about the three stages of marketing—the early stage focused on content marketing, the mature stage focused on social engagement and the future stage is focused on social ABM, AI and bots. I’m hoping to get the audience to understand that all types of marketing can exist at once, and learn what stage they might be in and then hear strategies for getting themselves to that next level of marketing that ultimately creates happier customers.

Panel: "The Copernican Shift: Three Stages of Marketing Evolution,” 4/30 @ 2:40 p.m.

 

"How are clever creators finding new ways to earn the attention of their target audiences?"

Ken Gibbs

VP of Social Media and Digital Video at BET

Burning questions: How are clever creators finding new ways to earn the attention of their target audiences? Are they attempting to game the latest algorithm shift by experimenting with content formats, or are they leveraging influencers in the way that BET does to close the gap between the emerging and established talent?

What he’s looking forward to: The BET panel is about how the BET Awards has leveraged social influencers in recent years to remain the #1 cable awards show for 17 consecutive years among African-Americans aged 18-49—all of this at a time when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to lock viewers in for a linear appointment. I’ll be joined by Lala Milan, who is a great example of the kind of integration a network can hope for with influencer talent. Our relationship began with her assisting in social marketing for linear shows and tentpoles, but evolved into her starring in our new show Boomerang, executive produced by Lena Waithe and Halle Berry.

Panel: "Young, Black, & Influential: How BET is Using Black Influencers to Drive Record-Breaking Engagement,” 4/30 @ 10:40 a.m.

 

"It will be interesting to see how brands will balance the dichotomy between personalization and data privacy."

Travis Montaque

CEO at Emogi

Topic of curiosity: As technologies continue to evolve and consumers expect hyper-tailored experiences at every touchpoint, it will be interesting to see how brands will balance the dichotomy between personalization and data privacy.  

What he’s covering: It’s no secret that we’re at an inflection point in modern communication.  Last year, the world sent 8.3 trillion SMS messages; more than Google searches, Snaps, and Instagram posts combined. The upcoming Social Media Week conference will force us to think about social’s vast impact on our lives, and this includes creating a future where the stories we share impact the world in positive ways. Driven by the notion that text messaging is a canvas ripe for disruption, Emogi is working to pair conversational intelligence with visual content to open a new pathway of communications for brands, media companies and content creators. Not only will this make our digital conversations richer in emotion, more human in tone, and more effective in nature, but it will also do so without sacrificing the intimacy that makes texting so sacred in the first place.

Panels: Ignoring The “NO”: How a 26-year-old African American Founder Raised Over $20m to Redefine Conversations,” 5/1 @ 10:40 a.m.,  “Conversation as a Canvas: The Future of Content In Messaging,” 4/30 @ 10:45 a.m.

 

"I love seeing what's driving these communities and how brands can better listen to, connect with, and understand these valuable audiences."

Diana Helander

Head of Marketing, Data, and Enterprise Solutions at Twitter

Listening for: How communities are driving culture and brand on social. Whether it's the passionate BTS Army, a 9-year-old basketball fan engaging with Steph Curry, Under Armour, and the WNBA, or Big Green Books connecting with readers and buyers, I love seeing what's driving these communities and how brands can better listen to, connect with, and understand these valuable audiences.

The topics and trends she's discussing: Social customer experience is here today; how do successful brands meet customer expectations by not only connecting with them on Twitter, but also deriving business insights that inform customer interactions across an organization? I'll be speaking with Salesforce and Rackspace about how to connect these valuable audience interactions so they can be a signal through the noise and inform customer service, sales, or even product development.  

Panel: "Tomorrow's Social Customer Experience is Here Today: Personalization, Connection and Rising Expectations," 4/30 @ 10:40 a.m.

 

"Enabling communities is such a powerful way to build culture."

Dana Wade

VP of Culture and Creative Insights at Viacom

Most looking forward to: Enabling communities is such a powerful way to build culture.  I am most looking forward to hearing Scott Harrison CEO Charity:Water talk about how his non-profit builds and connects communities around the world by providing access to basics like potable water. Charity: Water has also found a way to direct 100% of its donations to directly provide people in need with clean water—I’m eager to hear how he’s been able to sustain this principal as a key brand value.

What she’s discussing:  My panel will unpack how the VH1 reality series RuPaul's Drag Race uses its influence to make an imprint on culture and how the show has enabled Samsung to connect and fuel its hyper-engaged audience.

Panel: "Slay, Queen!: RuPaul’s Drag Race and How to Build Community, Culture & Content,”4/30 @ 9:50 a.m.

 

"Video has begun to shape storytelling in the social landscape, specifically on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube."

Jason Hsiao

Co-Founder and Chief Video Officer at Animoto

Trend-spotting: Last year, Dan Gardner of Code and Theory shared a great talk on brand safety and the importance of building trust with your audience. At Animoto, we value trust and transparency and believe it’s more important than ever for businesses of all sizes. Last year, Dan talked about an erosion of trust in brands, and over the past year, we’ve continued to see this trend. I’m curious to see how Code and Theory continues to tackle this concept in 'Establishing Trust in a Fake News Era' their talk this year on.  I’m particularly interested in seeing how this year’s focus on storytelling is shaping our marketing initiatives, and even at times, our culture.

What he’s excited to share: This year, my talk focuses on successful storytelling on social. By now, it’s clear that video is an incredibly compelling form of communication across social platforms. Video has begun to shape storytelling in the social landscape, specifically on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The team at Animoto has been diving deeper into what consumers want to see when it comes to social video, and how marketers are responding to these trends. I’m excited to share how brands and influencers can start leveraging the findings and insights to harness the power of video, and stay ahead of the curve on social media.

Panel: "Successful Video Marketing: Inspiration, Trends & Best Practices for Storytelling on Social," 5/1 @ 3:30 p.m.

 

"Brands today need to be close to culture and find more ways to connect to their consumer to stand out in a sea of sameness."

Dario Spina

CMO at Viacom Velocity

Most looking forward to: I’m looking forward to inspiration. The 'Future of Brands' and 'Evolution of Storytelling' tracks stand out as places that can generate a lot of interesting dialogue. Brands today need to be close to culture and find more ways to connect to their consumer to stand out in a sea of sameness. The swim lanes between marketing, innovation, advocacy, and advertising continue to blur. The common denominator is understanding how to leverage the power of culture, purpose, and audience understanding to gain share of mind.

What he’ll be talking about: Our panel will center around brands engaging in cultural conversation in a fun way. Our partner at Hershey’s Twizzlers engaged Comedy Central during 'the summer of plastic-straw bans' to run a campaign to introduce Twizzlers straws as an unserious solution to a serious problem. Desi Lydic from The Daily Show will share how the show breaks through the noise of the news and Anna Lingeris from Hershey’s will share her perspective on brands mining emergent conversations for ways to seamlessly integrate their brands.

Panel: “Use Creativity and Cultural Relevance to Cut Through the Clutter (INVITATION ONLY),” 5/1 @ 12:30 PM

 

"I will be talking about purpose—specifically, why it matters and how to get it right."

Mary Noel

Director at DoSomething Strategic

Jazzed about: I am truly looking forward to seeing Seth Godin speak. I recently devoured This is Marketing and so many of Seth's nuggets of wisdom have served as powerful guideposts throughout my career (and life!). He has such an incredible way of serving truth, challenging the status quo, cutting through the b.s. and getting straight to the heart of what it means to be human. I can't think of anyone else who is a bigger force in this space—I am so excited to hear what he has to share!

The topics she's covering: I'm thrilled to participate in SMW this year! Meredith Ferguson, managing director at DoSomething Strategic, and I will be talking about purpose—specifically, why it matters and how to get it right. We firmly believe that  purpose done well is powerful. This isn't about giving lip service to a cause, it's about standing for something in an authentic way and inviting consumers to take part. We know young people expect more from brands than a quality product or service, they are increasingly looking for brands to be leaders for social good and take on the issues they care most about. And smart brands know this—it's why Levi's and Dick's Sporting Goods are taking a stand for common sense gun regulations; why Nike chose Colin Kaepernick, why Gillette is jumping into the conversation on toxic masculinity and why Burger King has spoken up on everything from bullying to net neutrality.

GenZ wants brands to stand for something, even if it’s controversial. 78% of them are willing to change their purchase decisions accordingly and over half of them want to be active participants in a brand's social cause. So while many brands value corporate responsibility and some are spending a ton of money to create splashy ad campaigns that showcase what they care about, they’re often missing the mark on driving true activation among young people eager to participate. We'll be diving into our insights on young people and how to effectively and meaningfully engage the next generation of consumers.

Panel: Understanding GenZ: Why Purpose is More than a Buzzword,”5/1 @ 5:15 p.m.

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