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Our 8 Key Take-Aways from nextMEDIA
Monday, December 07, 2009
www.nextmediaevents.com/toronto

- Guest contributor:
Lava Nosenkis, co-founder
Ad Girl

On November 30 and December 1, 2009 Ad Lounge was invited to attend the nextMEDIA 2009 Conference at the Design Exchange in Toronto. This intensive two day event of networking, learning and strategizing attracts top executives from Advertising, Broadcasting, TV Production, Media Buying and Interactive Agencies to get together, listen to keynotes from visionary speakers and participate in multiplatform discussions.

Some of the event’s highlights included keynote speakers Chuck Porter, Mitch Joel, Tony Chapman, and Tara Hunt, among many others.

Below are my key take-aways from the two days spent at nextMEDIA.

1. Transmedia – a term to familiarize yourself with

Say what? You read right: t-r-a-n-s-m-e-d-i-a.

It's a term that nextMEDIA speaker and Starlight Runner Entertainment CEO Jeff Gomez defined as content that is distributed amongst various platforms to tell one narrative.

How do you achieve success through transmedia storytelling? Establish something canonical about your story, because without a canon, you will be lost in a universe full of contradictions and schemes where anything goes. In other words, go the extra mile to generate an engaging and persistent transmedia story, where each platform will play a key role in the story's development, designed to drive the audience to the product.

Transmedia success, of course, also involves audience participation in the form of posting, sharing, forwarding and publicly ranting the content.

What does the future then look like?

We're only at the beginning of our transmedia frontier. New ways of telling stories will continue to develop, and user participation with the narrative will only make the canon stronger. Picture yourself being immersed in the narrative, within the virtual reality environment and amongst made up characters and real friends, contributing in any art form (like a song or a poem). It may get awkward during the introductory period, but it will evolve into something elegant and beautiful. I can't wait.

Principal Microsoft Researcher Curtis Wong demonstrated a new approach to creating compelling and highly interactive user generated experiences that have inspired millions of people around the world to explore the Universe via the Internet - the WorldWide Telescope project. Built to leverage the power of traditional rich media forms such as film and video while breaking the traditional constraints of such media to facilitate learning, could the WorldWide Telescope lead the beginning stages of the transmedia frontier Jeff Gomez speaks to?

2. Content On & Off-line: the Key Players

So here's the deal:

Though peeps don't like advertising, they like free content, and as soon as they hear "subscription fees", a place in their heart immediately opens up for ads.

YouTube knows this.

Rogers is starting to follow - they're playing the authenticated on-demand content card with a virus-free promise in going up against p2p content sharing. This was made evident by speaker David Purdy, VP and General Manager of Television Products at Rogers.

BUT (!)

If most online viewing today is done to catch up on content that was missed, then Boxee’s Avner Ronen might be onto something bigger. He has developed a free software that lets you navigate all your personal movies, TV shows, music and photos, as well as streams content from websites like Netflix, Last.fm, Flickr from one screen with a remote may be worth a try.

All in all, content providers cannot forget the importance of a consumer-friendly platform to watch and share. After all, Canadians are still filesharing 25% more than US. And predictions of the Internet coming to all TV screens have been said to take about five years, but I think it will be sooner than that. Much sooner.

I really liked something that Ian Caminsky, Head of Business Development at YouTube said: "There is an appetite to bring all content online, not just from last week, but from years ago".

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Speaking of bringing content online, CBC spoke of 2010 plans to develop original Canadian content just for the digital platform, which is great. However, it appears to me that online and broadcast have become co-dependent of each other. You can have one without the other, but why would you?

The real challenges are to prevent loss of our cultural heritage, protect and encourage Canadian programming, deal with the relatively small size of the addressable Canadian audience, and increase export of Canadian programming. Why? Because only 1% of what makes us Canadian is in digital content, and people are not accessing content that makes them, or that is, Canadian. Loved Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of Open Text, Tom Jenkins for pointing this out.

3. Digital Media, the Next Generation & Controlling Conversation

The new model is consumers. Consumers who not only want to interact with new content, but also create it. Therefore, rather than only concentrating on creating content, we need to think about participation - our audience wants to participate in content development more than ever before.

[A side note on the one thing you should do if you're a techie - investigate tethered widgets.]

Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation and president of Twist Image says that if you don't want people to participate, that's just too bad for you, because they will anyway! People will review your content and voice their opinions - it's just what they now do. Another affirmation of what I stated above about paying attention to participation as much as content development. However, do note that blogs, tweets, podcasts are not necessarily an easy means of creating conversation. In fact, creating a conversation means finding out what the conversation landscape looks like, tracking it, following its voice and flow, joining the areas that are significant via comments and influential actions and eventually starting one of your own. This, according to Mr. Joel, in all his glory, is not a one-night stand. It's a slow process that will take longer than Q1 of your 2010 campaign. Beware.

4. A Creative Economy, Challenged by our Government

We are in a creative economy of radio, TV, online and video games and the Canadian government is doing everything they can to support these new media platforms. This may include getting a few younger and multimedia-savvy bodies into Parliament. We must continue to fight to stay engaged and fight for change to push Canada to the top.

- words of wisdom from the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

5. Branded Entertainment Matters

If we are exposed to 1600 to 3000 marketing messages a day, then surprise is better than consistency and what you do is more interesting than what you say, says Chuck Porter of CP+B. (See IKEA Lamp and Whopper Freakout.

Though our audiences and media have changed, the rule of engaging with interesting stories still remains. The consumer may or may not be in charge, but it’s easier than ever for them to ignore you, and get bored. Do note that though communication channels are evolving, TV still largely motivates the mass audience, and crowdsourcing may be the biggest thing since radio.

Conversations have grown to be more interesting than communication messages, and working with a low budget needs to become an industry staple. Social media has allowed for this to be less of a challenge, as a 50 million person focus group is more effective and interesting than one comprised of 12 people sitting around a table.

All in all, engaging an audience and actually moving them means offering a great product at a great price or building a story that creates momentum through unique creative.

6. Millenials – Who Are They & Why You Should Care

A target group we all need to get familiar with, according to Kaan Yigit, Founder and President of Solutions Research Group, are the millenials. These are digitally savvy non-brand loyal youth aged 8-27, who don’t know a world without Internet and mobile phones.

They are on-the-go, nomadic, and spend 7.1 hours a day with video based entertainment. By 2013, they are projected to spend more time with video content than with sleep.

Their technology use stems from wireless, to DVDs, to mobile, to web video, to video games, to TV – in that order, with TV being the highest in time spend.

They don’t watch TV without texting and using a laptop because they want a connected media experience. They value instant gratification, are not destination focused and consider the world’s knowledge to be on Facebook and YouTube. 60% of them engage with their digital devices when going to bed and upon waking up go straight to the web, email and Facebook. On Facebook, they spend their time clicking on links, watching videos and updating their status.

Get to know them, because as it turns out by the comments overheard at nextMEDIA, they are not only youth aged 8 – 27, they are becoming you and I.

7. Stop Advertising, Start Socializing

Tony Chapman of Capital C wants to know what log you’re bringing to the social media campfire. In other words, if you’re going to be a part of the social media world, do you have a reason to contribute and belong?

Attention is the oxygen of marketing. But before you get that attention, move from shouting loud to listening generously. And then, when you’re finally ready to enter, be as transparent and honest as possible, because if you’re not, you will be found out. Don’t just invade people’s websites and blogs. Start connecting, if you feel like you can add value.

Capital C’s Hypercube social media campaign for Nissan did just that. The campaign was designed to reward social creativity in Canada and provide an online stage for 500 creative thinkers and talented individuals to demonstrate their social creativity and audition for a chance to win one of 50 new cubes. Thousands of people showed interest in being rewarded for their creativity, and were more than willing to promote their ideas via social media. 500 chosen finalists created an online community whose members and affiliates interacted with each other so well that word about the Nissan cube spread like fire. Out of 500, 50 were awarded with a cube and asked to blog about their life with their new car for a year.

Sometimes the best strategy for an agency may be to plant a seed and then let others run with it. The lesson for marketers is to figure out how to engage people, not how to advertise. How do you take the essence of a brand and calibrate it to individual needs?

What did Capital C learn from the Hypercube campaign? There is power in speed and the ability to respond immediately. While corporations take time to prepare a response, reacting immediately is really important. After all, by using social media, you are inviting the customer to participate. Sometimes the participation is positive, and sometimes it isn’t.


8. Join the Human Revolution… Online

So you’re on twitter, and you’re ‘bout it. But how successful is your Twitter participation?

Tara Hunt, author of The Whuffie Factor suggests that instead of having a personal brand, you have a personality. Dare to be imperfect, admit your mistakes, expose your passions and quirks, challenge yourself to try something new when you start to feel pigeon-holed or stagnant, and most importantly, read, listen and open your mind to people who think differently to you.

Say NO to auto bots. Join the human revolution.

Instead of having a message, have a purpose, and know the difference between the two. Start caring about something.

As great as it is to be consistent, how about being compassionate? Sure, auto responses, pre-scheduled posts and reply-all’s are convenient, but Tara wants to know when was the last time you became un-robot-like by dropping authentic notes, interacting appropriately and responding individually? After all, 20 good conversations can yield 20 solid repeats, referrals or sales.

And what of the infamous “how many followers do you have” question? Irrelevant, according to Ms. Hunt. Having hundreds of thousands of followers without relationships is less effective than a few hundred followers with relationships.

Tara is one smart cookie. Her full presentation is available here.

______

And there you have it. 8 key take-aways from 2 very intensive and informative days. nextMEDIA, you've intrigued me, both with the above and with your Canadian New Media Award winners. I'll see you in 2010.



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Joe Dee
VP, Product and Technology Strategy at Cossette

This month Ad Lounge (courtesy of Boost Agents) is featuring Joe Dee, VP, Product and Technology Strategy at Cossette on Inside the Industry.

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