10 Insights from The Drum's Digital Convergance | OLIVER
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The 24th and 25th February, some of our team at OLIVER attended The Drum’s Digital Convergence, seeking to demystify the method in the digital marketing madness. With such a great line-up of speakers and thought-provoking presentations, we have created our short and sweet top ten insights from the event.

1. Put purpose at the heart of your organisation.

The majority of people worldwide would not care if 73% of brands disappeared tomorrow. That’s why it’s important to put purpose at the heart of your organisation: it’s the ‘why’, not the ‘what’ or ‘how’ that attracts new business and makes a difference on the bottom-line. This was affirmed by several speakers, including Jude Brooks (ex-Coca Cola), Pete Markey (Post Office), Mark Brayton (Barclays) and Alexander Matt (Adidas).

2. Consistency is key for setting up a publisher model.

Brayton’s top tip for setting up a publisher model: “Other than making sure you’ve got the right people, be really clear on the ‘who’ and ‘what’. Understand and underpin this with consistent content pillars.”

3. Social must be run locally.

Local social’ a term first mentioned by Brayton came up in several presentations, including Matt, Tom Ollerton (We are Social) and even in the roundtable discussions. It was deemed crucial that brands tackle social on a local level, letting local teams have a high degree of responsibility for local channels.

4. Gut instinct vs data?

Markey spoke on the subject of the Post Office using neuroscience to shape their brand purpose, but suggested that the role of gut instinct would always win over data. “Marketing is still a mix of feeling and science; analytics and models only take you so far. At some point you start to know intuitively whether the research backs your idea up.”

5. Forget omnichannel – it’s all just retail. Treat it as an experience.

Ross Bailey (Appear Here) took us through the world of pop-up retail stores. He inspired the attention of many attendees with, “There’s no omnichannel, multichannel, etc. It’s all just retail.” The key to retail experiences is about telling the same story and creating the same experience on all channels. His piece of advice was to treat pop-up shops and larger stores not as transaction pieces, but as an experience.

6. Keep ‘social thinking’ at the heart of social media.

Ollerton had some interesting advice on social media. Pleading for organisations to keep ‘social thinking’ at the heart of their social media activity, he defined social thinking as “Understanding why and how people connect and how these conversations create value for brands”.

7. Tracking across social isn’t the end-all.

If the campaign/design will be ruined, forget the hashtag. Ollerton made a point that social media campaign tracking isn’t the end-all, stating, “I don’t think you should track things to the detriment of the campaign.” This was further backed up by James Dunford (Cotswold) who said “As marketers we spend so long looking at stats that we don’t really think about what we are doing.” Dunford called to an end of printing off endless pages of analytics, and instead focusing on key KPIs that actually mean something for your brand.

8. Build social media into your brand DNA.

Tips from Ollerton on moving from doing social media, to building it into the brand DNA effectively included:

  • Understand what people are actually saying about your brand and use it to your advantage.
  • Be reactive, but plan to be reactive. Be ready for sporting events and other large scale events.
  • Create a reason for being, have a purpose, that way when something does flare up you know how to respond in a way that’s true to your brand.

9. Use heritage to create a cultural movement, but don’t get stuck in the past.

Matt led a very informative presentation on Adidas Original’s overall brand strategy in using heritage as a way to create a cultural movement. When asked if you need heritage to create such a cultural movement he answered “You don’t necessarily need to have a heritage, but you need to stay authentic and true and have a really good story to tell. Heritage is a beauty – we can always lean back, but it is also a trap – you have to stay fresh.”

10. User generated content is over. Influencers are the future.

On the subject of influencers, Matt mentioned it was increasingly important for Adidas to work with fashion brands and the music world. “We stepped away from user generated content – I don’t believe in that future…If you manage to crack it, advocacy is the best goal and objective.” For their latest campaign, Adidas Originals are currently challenging the definition of a ‘superstar’. He mentioned that in the past the real fashion superstars were the ones who wore selective or rare items of clothing. “Today, the real superstars are the social media influencers.” Matt mentioned that their biggest challenge during the new campaign was letting social influencers like Pharrell and Kanye have almost full control over new designs. To stay innovative, it’s not just about marketing changing, brands also need to have creative courage.

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