48 hours of innovation: What we learned at dmexco
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48 hours of innovation: What we learned at dmexco


As dmexco comes to an end, attendees are leaving with new insights and ideas around the digiconomy and how to stay innovative in the ever changing tech landscape. 

After two days of discussions around the latest trends and innovations, these are our key takeaways.

Brands need to be content creators 

Living in the digital world takes a toll on our ability to take in the world around us, so that means brands have to come up with increasingly innovative and truly engaging ways to communicate with their target audiences and break through all the noise. Branded content is hardly new, but now everyone is taking a stab at it — and it’s really paying off for some. 

EndemolShine Germany created a 15-part video series called ‘Auf ein glas mit’ (On a glass with) for ALDI SÜD to showcase their competence in wine selection and to stand out from their competitors. They teamed up with star chef Sybille Schönberger to go on a culinary discovery trip around Germany’s idyllic provinces where she meets prominent wine experts such as Fritz Keller, Raimund Prüm or food blogger Denise Renée and learns new food traditions, all the while carrying the best wines from the ALDI SÜD range. 

Sandra Sibylle Schoofs, director of marketing at ALDI SÜD commented on the campaign, “Through the format, we take our customers on a wonderful and culinary journey, which shows entertaining how easy to combine good food with good wine.” 

The premise is simple, but it’s paying off — the first episode already has more than 350,000 views on YouTube. 

Another example comes from Garmin, a technology company best known for their fitness wearables. Instead of just focusing on marketing the function and features of their products, they created a digital lifestyle magazine called #BeatYesterday that channels their audience’s desire to get out of their comfort zones and test their physical limits. With over 300 pieces of content around their audience’s passion points like running and cycling, #BeatYesterday reinforces Garmin as not only a tech company but also a lifestyle brand. To date, the site has received 1.4 million visits and 70 million ad impressions — demonstrating a demand for active lifestyle content, and a trust in Garmin as an authority in the health and fitness space. 

Customer loyalty is changing, and brands need to keep up 

Customisation and personalisation are key. Customers have more choice than ever before, so brands have to work increasingly hard to not only get consumers’ attention, but to maintain it — and to keep them loyal. 

Be so excited about data that you get lost in it, but never forget to value your customer

In a panel, Nigel Morris, chief digital and strategy officer at Dentsu Aegis Network said, “You have to understand what people genuinely want – that’s where the digital marketing journey is heading. Lead with a purpose to provide more value and relevance to your consumer. Be so excited about data that you get lost in it, but never forget to value your customer.”

Whether it’s through AI or analog marketing strategies, customers are expecting brands to anticipate their needs and provide them with what they want — all without being too pushy or intrusive.

On the flip side, if AI seems beyond your brand’s reach, allowing the consumer to personalise their own experience with your brand is another way to provide the same value. The Mi Adidas campaign is a great example of the demand for personalisation in a way that’s completely native to the brand. 

AI is here to stay

Speaking of personalisation, AI has fully arrived and is ready to bring brands closer to their customers. AI is a transformative power to be reckoned with — and it’s only getting smarter.

Today’s businesses are more in tune with their customers than ever, which only serves to strengthen their position in the digital economy. If one thing’s for sure: Brands must adapt or die when it comes to AI.

“What if we could strengthen a brands value exchange with its customers?” asked Bob Lord, chief digital officer at IBM, as he opened the show on day one of dmexco. “It’s our responsibility as an industry to do that, and with AI I truly believe we are able to do that.” Conversation appears to be the key reason AI is pegged to be a top five investment priority by 2020.

Art and technology are amping up creative capabilities 

While creativity is still, at its core, definitively human, technology is liberating it in many forms. Today’s creative influencers are providing ideas that push the boundaries of marketing and AdTech, allowing brands to get creative in unprecedented ways.

Both emerging and established technologies are integral to the nourishment of creativity — without creatives our businesses are simply numbers on paper.

Dear Angelica is a beautiful VR film about a girl who lost her actress mother at a young age and reconnects with her by watching old films on a VCR. This short exemplifies the possibilities for VR and creative storytelling, and it was also Oculus’ first VR experience created with the company’s Quill tool, which lets illustrators create immersive 3D animations directly within VR.

And if that wasn’t enough, the story is female-led, illustrated by a woman, and tackles the ‘boys’ club’ culture of Silicon Valley and the burgeoning VR industry. Wesley Allsbrook, art director and illustrator of Dear Angelica, said”

Tech is a weird and not necessarily safe space for women, but it doesn’t have to feel like that

“What’s so great about this piece is it’s got two female characters, it’s about women, it’s about mothers. This should be something that’s not tokenism. We should be making a lot of these. Tech is a weird and not necessarily safe space for women, but it doesn’t have to feel like that — and perhaps Dear Angelica can help there.”

IBM is everywhere, collaborating with everyone

Out of all the companies with presences at dmexco, IBM stood out from the crowd — and the near omnipresence of IBM’s Watson is a testament to the vast opportunities for applying artificial intelligence across industries. 

From collaborations with Salesforce, Marchesa, and the film Hidden Figures, there seems to be no end to the ways wildly different brands can partner with the infamous computer system. 

On a panel about narrative disruption and the pervasive connectivity of our digital culture, Ann Rubin spoke to Watson’s ability to connect man and technology to create marketing campaigns that cut through the clutter. 

You don’t go into a store and buy an IBM. 

“Humans can do more and be more creative by partnering with Watson. Storytelling enables brands to be really contextual and relevant. You don’t go into a store and buy an IBM. You need to enable your consumers to engage with your brand.”

In short, dmexco 2017 centered around personalisation, artificial intelligence, and innovating to stay relevant within the vast digiconomy. Innovation is not slowing down, and brands need to keep up and embrace change if they want to stay competitive.


September 15, 2017
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