AOL’s Digital Prophet David Shing (aka @Shingy) burst onto the ADMERICA! 2014 stage with just as much flare as everyone was hoping for on Friday. Despite initial technical glitches (“Whose brilliant idea was it to close my laptop?”), and with zebra striped pants and black hair like a lion’s mane, Shing launched his lunchtime keynote with bold and quick-paced gusto.
Shing’s passion for the digital experience and embracing future marketing is contagious. He considers himself “digitally native” and delivered the keynote with an Australian twang and at a smooth, energetic staccato pace reminiscent of a poetry throwdown. (Or, at least that’s what it felt like to me.)
He encouraged the room to watch the future take shape in the vast digital landscape, and gave quick rapid-fire thoughts, predictions and opinions on that digital landscape, along with unpredictable quotes like, “I’m also the first planker on the planet,” and, “It’s just an idea, you turds.” All in good fun, right David? Laughter abounds!
10 Ways to be Digitally Native:
- BRAND AS AN EXPERIENCE.
A brand that produces content doesn’t compete with advertising, it competes with popular culture. If a brand gets it right, they win. Shing asked, “What are you doing to harmonize your efforts across the entire symphony of digital?” Think about your brand as an experience.
Adidas used David Beckham to bring a three minute video experience to life with blatant brand logos on the backdrop and every piece of clothing; however, emotional fan connections made the video endearing and memorable. Apple was showcased in a viral video filmed on a subway about a band using their iPhones to play a song after having had their instruments stolen. Apple never denied seeding this hoax, but regardless, it was engaging content so people passed it around…millions of times.
- BE AN EXPERIENCE EXPERT.
We’re heavily connected, so how can brands make human connectIONS out of being connectED? Encourage a “remix culture,” which is where brands split their buckets and have both ROI-driven tactics AND those that are purely experimental. Give the brand up to consumers and let them co-create with you, while also embracing new platforms.
Marketers also have to be storytellers. In fact, brands must be excellent storytellers and tell the story with passion to keep consumers curious. They need to be engineers of experience, remarkable and must tug at human heartstrings.
- BE A PIONEER.
The new generation is revolutionary, they’re free-thinkers and extroverts. Brands MUST be original and believe in these young folks – Gen C – who say they’re too busy and who ingest info in small bits. Future marketing is now, so understanding what’s coming is essential.
Wearables like Google glass may not look cool, but they’re not going anywhere! These multipurpose devices with built-in intelligence push info to consumers while they’re being worn. Real-time. IN THE MOMENT. This changes the paradigm of future marketing, and brands must embrace future marketing to stay relevant.
Except, remember that the future is NOW. Thirty-seven percent of children under the age of two are operating tablets – we’re just one click away from our most inner personal thoughts. How are you going to do things differently?
- VIDEOS ARE EVERWHERE.
Video will be EVERYWHERE in the future, and used in all kinds of ways we can’t even begin to imagine yet. Facedeals, albeit a little creepy (am I right?), is awfully incredible. Once users opt-in via Facebook, connected stores, restaurants, bars – anywhere really – check consumers in upon entering, simply by a quick face scan. Then, individually tailored deals can be presented based on that specific person’s interests and likes.
Brands are embracing video to become even more authentic. “People are freaky about video,” says Shing. We’re the “show-me” culture! Brands are showing value and holding interest in as little as six seconds these days, and they’re no longer living in the world of 30’s and 60’s. Example? Lowe’s “Fix in Six” Vines, the brainchild of BBDO. What’s coming next…?
- CREATIVITY HAS TO BE REDEFINED.
Think about how you interact with your consumers and how you can become digitally native. LEGO made a 3-D app that shows what the finished piece looks like; it’s interactive. Kids (and kids at heart!) LOVE it.
Band-Aid makes cartoon characters come to life when the mobile app hovers over a child’s bandage. “We need to go from advertising to influencer marketing,” Shing demands, “in an age where attention span is the new currency.” Can you hold the presence of someone who’s checking her phone every six seconds?
- YOUR AUDIENCES HAVE AUDIENCES NOW – THE REAL HUMAN NETWORK EFFECT.
The new generation is both the critic and the curator. Brands are curators of conversation because brands now have to talk back (and context matters). Consumers make decisions emotionally and then they justify their choices rationally. Behaviors are being influenced by peers (think about those ridiculously long cronut lines in New York City). The good news is there are more and more opportunities to brag about your brand and win consumers’ hearts!
- BRANDS NOW HAVE TO TALK BACK.
How do you want to be verbalized? Do you want to be shared? Liked? Loved? Experienced? Figure it out and get chatty with your digital consumers.
What happens when your consumer leaves the app before making a purchase? Digitally native brands like Adidas are using location-based tactics to keep the experience live by presenting push notifications when local, real life opportunities become available at brick and mortar stores, based on past consumer activity. They’re starting conversation. Brilliant.
- BE THERE AT THE RIGHT TIME IN THE RIGHT PLACE AS A BRAND.
You don’t have to invent the news you just need to be there at the right time in the right place. It’s called the brand attention curve. The calm and the chaos – it allows you to capture the hearts and minds of the consumer if your timing is perfect.
Think about Pharrell at the Grammys earlier this year. The oversized brown Vivienne Westwood hat he donned was never meant to be a marketing setup for Arby’s, but the brand seized the moment and sent out this memorable tweet: “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs.” Even other brands, like Pepsi, gave Arby’s a virtual high five (in the form of a retweet) for its impeccable timing.
Tell a story and find a way to be clever and interactive.
- PEOPLE ARE DOWNLOADING LESS APPS AND SPENDING MORE TIME ON THE FEW THEY HAVE.
Consumers will only try your mobile experience once. ONE TIME. Eighty percent will become devoted if you can surprise and delight them as a brand. Sixty percent of mobile apps are used in the home, and tablet users spend more with higher conversion than desktop or phone (and men are the most frequent tablet users – FYI). Keep your apps simple, relevant and location-based. Brands need to be thinking, “I’m aware of what you’re doing in the context you’re doing it in, consumer….”
- LEARN TO FAIL.
Shing left us with a terrific quote from Katharine Hepburn, “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” How does this relate to being a digital native? It’s simple: learn to fail, and then fail quickly and often! Don’t be afraid of failure and success will come sooner. Those that allow themselves to fail are the true pioneers and will succeed immensely.
Freelance Writer & Creator, (a)Musing Foodie; Field Marketing Analyst, State Farm Insurance Companies, Inc.; Board Member & Communications Co-Chair, AAF-Greater Frederick
Liza Hawkins currently serves on the AAF-Greater Frederick board, while also managing the AAF-GF newsletters, daily social media blurbs and website maintenance as Communications Co-Chair. By day, she’s a field marketing analyst in the Mid-Atlantic region with State Farm Insurance Companies, Inc., focused on local marketing tactics and analysis in Maryland, Delaware, Southern Pennsylvania and the West Virginia Panhandle. By night, Liza’s a writer, cultivating her 4-year old food blog (a)Musing Foodie and eating ALL the things. When Liza’s not posting recipes and talking about local food and farm-to-table eats, you’ll find her writing for a variety of online and offline publications about… you guessed it… food! Liza, her husband and two kids live in beautiful, historic and foodie-friendly Frederick, Md., about an hour west of both Baltimore and Washington D.C. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @aMusingFoodie, or check out her blog at aMusingFoodie.com.