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7 Ways to Master the Future of Marketing at SMWNYC

Social Media Week





As a marketer, keeping up with the tides of innovation is no small feat. Just when we think we’re beginning to understand one emerging topic, another comes along and we again must face the unanswered questions and lingering uncertainties around buzzwords that only seem to grow in complexity.

That’s why we’ve programmed this year’s SMWNYC to help you navigate the nuances of topics spanning AI, AR, voice, blockchain, and more. Join us in April for actionable talks that are designed to educate you on the fundamentals of each topic, as well as what they mean for your business today and tomorrow.

Here’s just a few of the sessions we’ve curated:

1. The Trust Protocol: How Blockchain will Revolutionize Social Media, Business and the World

Join Alex Tapscott, Co-Author of “The Blockchain Revolution,” as he helps you navigate the fundamentals of blockchain and why this transformative technology should be on marketers’ radars. In particular, he’ll offer his prediction of how blockchain can result in an entirely new internet than we see today; one that is decentralized, resistant to censorship, and offers enhanced security and privacy.

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2. AI X Brands: Balancing the Promise with the Pitfalls

In this track, Clara de Soto, Co-Founder of; Andrea Isoni, Director, AI Technologies; Claire Mitchell, Director, Innovations at VaynerMedia; Adelyn Zhou, Founder & CMO of TopBots, will share their perspectives on how marketers can balance AI’s promise with its pitfalls.

To what extent should brands be integrating AI technology into their current strategies? What controls are appropriate so as the technology evolves it can be reasonably managed and responsibly used? What situations and scenarios warrant investment in AI and which don’t? Find out the answers to these important questions at more in April.

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3. Building an Effective AR Campaign: Lessons Learned from Social Media

Brian Wong, Forbes’ 30 Under 30 honoree and CEO of Kiip, joins the SMWNYC lineup where he’ll breaks down the basics of building a successful AR campaign.

Using a variety of compelling case studies, he’ll demonstrate how to not only integrate the tech into your strategies and launch an AR campaign, but how to do so in a way that strengthens your brand’s story by resonating your audience and creating lasting impact.

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4. The Future of Mobile Messaging: AI and Conversational Content

In this session, Travis Montaque, CEO & Founder of Emogi, shares his perspective on the future of intelligent messaging, which includes GIFs, emojis, and stickers.

Attend this session to understand the key trends shaping the mobile messaging landscape and how brands can tap into these to better engage with their audiences. Montaque will discuss how intelligent messaging plays a critical role in how consumers—predominately millennials and Gen Z-ers—express themselves and how this behavior is shaping the future of communication.

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5. Welcome to the Age of the Digital Assistant

Victoria Fabiano, Strategic Partner Manager at Google, explores how connected devices and digital assistants will fundamentally change the ways in which people find information about brands and products.

First, she’ll define the term “digital assistant” and offer examples of some currently in existence. She’ll then discuss the integration of such technologies and the impact we can expect to see as adoption by the part of brands and consumers continues to increase. Perhaps most importantly, Fabiano will also walk through the ways in which how data is gathered and protected will shift and outline the responsibilities we need to take to ensure it is safeguarded responsibly.

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6. Blockchain and The Decentralized Web

Decoded’s Product Lead Jeffrey Lancaster hosts a session during which he shares his thoughts on Web 3.0, the “decentralized web,” and where it fits into corporate data silos.

Specifically, Lancaster will shed light on the rise of popularity bitcoin has afforded blockchain and the demand for digital decentralization. He’ll also analyze the role of hacking in the context of the “decentralized web,” offering the argument that decentralization of digital data can deliver noticeable improvements with regards to privacy and security.

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7. Why Chatbots are the Next Big Thing in Sales and Marketing: A Case Study Into National Geographic’s Albert Einstein Chatbot

In this session, Seth Greenfield, CEO & Founder of Imperson, shares the compelling story of how National Geographic and 360i used a chatbot to generate buzz for the show “Genius,” a celebration of the life and times of Albert Einstein.

Beyond the case study, Greenfield will walk attendees through general important trends in the chatbot space and the various ways brands are integrating them to fuel their marketing and sales efforts. In doing so, a more streamlined approach to setting and working towards chatbot goals will be offered. This is particularly important for brands as ensuring the chatbot is consistent and authentic with their story and voice is critical to ensure ideal reception and engagement by the part of the consumer.

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Our 10th annual flagship conference returns this April 24-27 at the Sheraton Times Square. Claim your pass before this Friday, Feb. 16 to save 20%.

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.



Why VR Will Make Social Media Become More Social

Social Media Week



“VR is not cool anymore.”

What seemed like a strange way to start a discussion dedicated to the immersive technology, Henry Cowling, Creative Director of UNIT9, followed this claim by reassuring audiences that VR is still new and that we are just starting to get good at.

The current way that consumers view VR, through large, clunky, and unappealing product like the Samsung Gear VR, is what Cowling believes is stopping VR from becoming the most social of all medias.

Virtual FOMO

Right now the potential for VR is massive. Musicians like Björk and Run The Jewels are creating music videos made exclusively for VR. Brands are using the technology to give consumers a chance to see products virtually.

But VR is not just for brands and public figures, tech giants like Facebook, who bought Oculus Rift for $2B three years ago, has created their version of social VR.

VR provides the following social canvasses:

  1. The Virtual World – With Facebook Spaces, you can connect with your friends in virtual space. While video games developers are using VR to build lifelike interactive worlds for users.
  2. The Physical World – AR technology (like Pokemon Go) are giving users the ability to see and interact with virtual objects in the physical world.
  3. The User – The recent announcement of the Apple iPhone X and Animojis gives a glimpse of what VR and AR will look like for users in the very near future.

Advice To Brands

Before ending his session, Cowling gave three pieces of advice to brands who are looking to make 3D content and experiment with VR and AR.

  1. Jump on the bandwagon with the latest trends in VR and AR.
  2. Or…don’t jump on the bandwagon and wait and see if the trend has lasting appeal.
  3. Make Animojis of your logo/product/mascot as quickly as possible.

Further analysis and commentary from the “Why VR Will Be the Most Social of All Media” session:

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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Here’s How Diageo Vets Emerging Formats Like Voice, VR & More

Social Media Week



Voice, VR, AR. There’s a dizzying number of emerging technologies on the minds of marketers today—so how are brands supposed to know where to test, and where to invest?

Jason Acker, Digital Director at Diageo joined VaynerMedia’s Patrick Givens at SMWLA to discuss how brands and agency partners should be assessing the role of emerging formats in their marketing mix. The talk was moderated by Mashable business reporter Kerry Flynn.

Start with your objectives

Acker and Givens agreed that brands shouldn’t dabble in emerging formats unless it makes sense for their objectives. In other words, marketers should not be asking, “What can I be doing with Amazon Alexa Skills?” Rather, they should be thinking of what business or marketing objectives, if any, could be uniquely brought to life via voice search.

Acker shared an example from Diageo, in which the spirits brand used VR to emphasize its social responsibility objective of raising awareness around the risks of impaired driving. The brand created an immersive VR experience in which participants could experience what it’s like to be involved in a tragic car accident, both as a passenger and as a driver. In this instance, the impact of VR on moving people to emotion in jarring and realistic ways served the brand’s mission to educate consumers about drunk driving.

The immediate opportunity: AR

Among the emerging formats discussed, panelists agreed that AR is currently the most accessible for brands—though, it’s also something that brands have been talking about for some time with little action. “I think I have a slide from 2008 that talks about VR,” said Givens.

Since AR is such a broad umbrella, knowing what you want to achieve is necessary to honing in on the right opportunities. AR could mean a custom app designed to improve consumer experience (e.g. a paint company that uses AR to help match colors) or it could be something as frictionless as a turnkey Snapchat geofilter that’s designed to connect with people at a specific place and time.

Are these formats even scalable?

Kerry raised an interesting question during the talk, which was, given the limited scale of many of these formats—there are only about 10 million Amazon Alexa devices in the U.S., for example—should they even be a priority for brands?

“I tell my team to consider how challenging it is to create a social ad that stops someone from scrolling,” said Givens. “Then, consider something like VR, where a user has to stop what they’re doing and strap on a headset. There’s a lot of friction there.”

Still, there’s value in experimentation. While voice search hasn’t reached mass adoption, it’s certainly growing. Givens said people using voice search at least once per month is up 130 percent year-over-year. People are trying for the first time, and they are coming back.

In addition to the value inherent in capturing learnings before these technologies take a stronger foothold, Acker says that marketers can think of emerging campaigns as part of their communications planning. A first-to-market campaign can be PR-able, and the buzz generated from reaching a small, yet influential, audience can be significant.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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