Once again I spent the last week of September in New York City. My autumn tradition is to take a part in Advertising Week New York (AW). This was my fifth time at the event, and the best one so far.
AW is a 4-day happening, which covers the latest trends from innovations in tech to data and creative storytelling. This year there were ~250 seminars / workshops, and I attended 39 of them.
AW is an inspiring occasion. On top of new learnings and insights, there is a chance to listen to, and – if you’re quick enough – to meet great leaders. This year some of the “big guns” were:
- Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
- Tim Armstrong, CEO and Chairman of AOL
- Mary Barra, CEO and Chairwoman of General Motors
- Seth Godin, Author, Entrepreneur and Marketer
- Mark Cuban, Businessman and Shark Tank investor
From the 39 sessions I attended, I took 39 pages of notes. On top of my key learnings below, the week included also many other exciting topics, such as smart data and Internet of Things to name a few.
My top three key learnings from Advertising Week 2016 are:
3rd: Content is NOT the king anymore
Today there is just way too much content available, as everyone – individuals and organizations – has a chance to be a media. Because of this, the new king is smartly curated content.
2nd: Virtual Reality will be the next big platform
All the major players seem to be betting big on Virtual Reality (VR). There were few inspiring examples how brands have been experimenting with VR, like Kellogg’s Captain America VR Game.
It was also fascinating to hear visions beyond entertainment. There were hints about the opportunities of VR in medicine. Moreover, players like Google, Facebook, etc. were repeating two mantras:
- “…the next big platform…” without revealing what they mean
- “It’s too early to speak about monetization in VR”
My interpretation is that we are already close to the first serious monetization experiments of VR. One of the big questions still is, how to overcome our short attention span and multi-tasking habits?
1st: Cognitive Computing and Artificial Intelligence in a voice-operated world
Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are already introducing us to the biggest revolution in the human history. Everything will change beyond our imagination.
Moreover, we are not that far away from a voice-operated world. Just look the Chinese way of messaging or think where, for example, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are heading to.
For brands this creates a tough challenge to be solved: how to be “the brand” that our AI assistants will choose for us? I believe that the importance of conversation will become much more significant.
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