Last week, the Seattle Interactive Conference brought in an array of technology experts, brands and creative types to share their thoughts on the evolving digital landscape. “Change” was the resounding theme that echoed throughout the conference, emphasizing the shift in user behavior, as well as the importance of brand flexibility and transparency. Below are five key trends from the sessions:
1. Evolving Platforms
As technology evolves, brands must be flexible and willing to adapt. Tim Keck, cofounder of The Onion, spoke about platform shifts and how it relates to traditional print newspapers. The Onion, widely known for its satirical and confrontational content, may need to consider adjusting its approach since becoming digital. The new generation of online readers is less familiar with The Onion’s play on AP-style writing, and as a result, jokes are losing their relevance. Digital opens up a very public dialogue with readers who expect a two-way conversation.
2. The Cluttered Landscape
We are constantly bombarded with information from multiple touch points. This is impacting how news is gathered and delivered. In the “Technology, Journalism and Business” panel, journalists asked PR professionals to consider the clutter they deal with when pitching stories. Kelly Clay, who blogs at Forbes, mentioned that she preferred pitches via Twitter over email. Through social, she feels the story is more directed and tailored for her, due to the character limit and timeliness of the platform.
3. Revenue Models
Both publications and artists spoke to the challenges of traditional ad revenue models. Jack Conte of the band Pamplemoose brought up crowd-funding platforms like Patreon as a fresh way for musicians to approach monetizing their craft. It is not just artists who are thinking outside of the box—GeekWire journalist John Cook spoke about sponsorships as an additional means of bringing in revenue. We will need to continue to put forward creative and diverse solutions for our clients.
In a “share all” era, transparency is becoming more of a hot topic for brands. In the “Shopping Inside a Mashup” panel, Susan Livingston, executive coordinator of Whole Foods emphasized the importance of clear messaging in customer loyalty programs. It is imperative that brands communicate how they are using and storing the consumer data they collect. Consumers are become savvier and want more control over privacy.
5. First Impressions
In a morning keynote, Sanaz Ahari of Google explained that the shift in user viewability complicates advertising penetration. For example, 77 percent of TV viewers use another device while they watch their television program. Ahari suggests using data-driven insights to find where the audience is spending most of its time, what interests are pushing the attention there, and how the brand can connect with its audience on that level. Then, create a two-way dialogue within the advertising so that the audience feels a part of the conversation and not simply bombarded with information.
What’s a good example of a brand that has embraced change?
This post was authored by Amanda Nguyen and Megan Shay.
Image credit: jeffwilcox