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This Week On SMW Insider: Best of Social Media Week Chicago 2017

Social Media Week




Miss out on Social Media Week Chicago? You can now watch all the Stage One and Stage Two sessions from November’s conference on SMW Insider!

Highlighted on the platform this week we have sessions from RXBAR, The Knot, National Geographic, Pinterest, and Crowdtap.

Check out these, plus over 600+ educational talks, workshops, and interviews only on SMW Insider.

The Inevitable Extinction of Branding (Hosted by Crowdtap)

In this #SMWCHICAGO session, Matt Britton (Chief Executive Officer of Crowdtap) discusses the growing domination of Facebook, Google, and Amazon and how the new digital dynamic is redefining the role and importance of brands in American culture.

The RXBAR Story: In Conversation with CEO & Co-Founder Peter Rahal (Hosted by Social Media Week)

RXBAR CEO and Co-Founder Peter Rahal joins Toby Daniels (Founder & Executive Director, Social Media Week) and shares his story and what’s next for RXBAR.

Masters of Storytelling: How NatGeo Engages 350 Million Fans on Social

Adam Quinn, VP of Digital shares insights and perspectives on how National Geographic are leveraging innovative thinking, and consumer insights to maintain their position as one of the most relevant and inspiring brands in social media.

Instant Success on Instagram (Hosted by The Knot)

Kristen Maxwell Cooper (Executive Editor, Digital & Social Media, The Knot) shares how brands can create instant success on Instagram through everyday best practices, strategies to grow your audience and increase engagement and tactics for taking your images from good to great.

Give The People What They Didn’t Know They Wanted (Hosted by Pinterest)

In this workshop, Pinterest Creative Strategist Jason Wire shows unique and effective ways to reach audiences through smart advertising on the visually driven platform. We will share insider tips and tactics to help you understand Pinterest and develop full-funnel campaigns that drive results.

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.

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.



GoPro, Food52, And Crowdtap Added To SMWLA Lineup

Social Media Week




From brand futurists and food innovators to the camera company that changed the face of user-generated content, our next wave of SMWLA speakers represent some of the most forward-thinking players in lifestyle media, technology, and consumer insights.

Here are the newest additions to the lineup:

  • World-renowned youth marketing expert and Crowdtap CEO Matt Britton will discuss the evolution of brand marketing and provide insights on how brands can tap into the voice of consumers in real-time to inform their marketing, product, and business decisions.
  • Katie Babineau, Senior Manager of Global Social & Influencer Marketing at GoPro, joins SMWLA to share actionable learnings from partnering with some of the most authentic and adventurous influencers in the world.
  • Kaitlin Bray, Director of Social Media at Food52, will explore best practices learned from growing an Instagram following from 0 to nearly 2 million, including how to create breakthrough visual content that creates community around your brand.

Join us at The Broad Stage from June 12-14 to see these speakers and dozens more, including:

  • Rosette Pambakian, Head of Marketing, Tinder
  • Joel Flory, CEO & Founder, VSCO
  • Dea Lawrence, Chief Marketing Officer, Variety
  • Josh Rose Chief Creative Officer, Weber Shandwick
  • Bing Chen, Creator, Investor & Entrepreneur (formerly YouTube/Google)
  • Jean Freeman, Principal & CEO, Zambezi
  • Marcus Collins, Head of Social Engagement, Doner
  • TL Stanley, Senior Contributor, Adweek
  • Lars Bastholm, Chief Creative Officer, The Exploratory at Google
  • Tom Jauncey, CEO, Beautiful Destinations

Secure your pass by Feb. 16 to take advantage of our early bird pricing, which saves you 40%!

P.S. Want to join us on stage? Our Call for Speakers closes in less than one month.

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The Punishing End Of Net Neutrality

Social Media Week




This article was originally published on Medium and written by Matt Britton (CEO, Crowdtap). Britton will join Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons (musician, producer, entrepreneur) for a fireside keynote at Social Media Week New York on April 24, 2018.

It happened. Today the FCC marked the end of Net Neutrality. Many do not understand what this means, or even think it matters. Make no mistake though, today’s decision is going to affect you in more ways than you can imagine both personally and professionally. In many ways the world has changed in an instant…

What does it mean? Quite simply it now means that Internet and Wireless service providers can choose what content they will and will not stream to consumers and at what speed. For example, Verizon may charge subscribers an extra fee to access Amazon, decide to block Fox programming, and speed up Yahoo! (which they now own). With Net Neutrality said restrictions were not allowed, all content on the Internet was to be treated equally regardless of source. Those days are now sadly over.

The impacts of Net Neutrality’s demise are as scary as they are wide reaching.

We have now seemingly moved one step closer towards Internet censored nations like China.

Now if one of a handful of internet or wireless service providers disagree with a political belief or stance they can make it more difficult if not impossible to to access all the information you need on a daily basis. In these troubling times unbiased and open access to information is critical to understanding the truth. Now you are potentially limited to how your ISP views the truth. Or even scarier, (and I’ll just go ahead and write it before it could get censored), what if special interest groups now get involved with ISPs and stamp out online publishers who distribute news they deem to be Fake?

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in North Korea which only distributes state-run news? Let’s hope we never need to find out the hard way.

Competing business interests may come at the expense of the consumer.

Why would Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, which owns Hulu, make it easier for you to access Netflix when they are competing directly against them? Are you subjected to dial-up streaming speeds? Forced to pay more? In either scenario the consumer loses. Why would Google’s new streaming service allow any online video property besides YouTube to flourish? Can ABC which is a major advertiser use its spending leverage to stamp out upstarts like Bleacher Report which compete with ESPN? Will Wikipedia just vanish because they have intentionally not created a commercial model?

The democratization of opportunity has taken a major step backwards.

Right now we live in a world where an 11 year old can earn $6 million a year reviewing toys on YouTube and that is an amazing thing. The dissemination of the social web decidedly shifted the power away from major networks and into the hands of consumers. With the end of Net Neutrality has now been reclaimed by corporations. ISPs now have the ability to pick and choose the platforms which showcase stars that they have a vested stake in.

Fame and achievement is no longer a meritocracy, but a bureaucracy which means more BackStreet Boys and less Ed Sheeran’s.

Goliath now has the permission to stomp out David once again

Say a powerful bank is a major investor in an ISP. That bank earns fees through facilitating institutional investments. Will they now try to mute platforms like Kickstarter which has given people hope when they had nowhere else to turn? One of the great things about the Internet is it was the great equalizer, the future was determined on the sidewalks and not the boardrooms. Well today that has all changed, and while it may not be today or even in 2018, sooner or later we will be taking a major step backwards.

It will be up to the David’s that have triumphed to fix this.

It’s time for Zuckerberg, Bezos, Larry, Sergey, Gates, and all the tech billionaires to preserve the Internet freedoms which enriched them. They need to band together to provide lightning fast uncensored Internet to all Americans for the continual advance of American society. Unlike many other issues this can be fixed with money but it will not come easy.

Oh and one more thing…can we please move on to 2018 already :)?

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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Overheard At Social Media Week Chicago: Day 2

Social Media Week




Our second day of Social Media Week Chicago welcomed speakers from some of the most influential brands, agencies, and publishers around. Below is a roundup based on our exclusive interviews with some of our esteemed speakers.

For full access to their interviews, and all Stage 1 sessions, join SMW Insider.

Obele Brown-West, SVP, Digital Account & Engagement Lead, Weber-Shandwick

On how social media has fundamentally changed commerce:

“Commerce is a lot easier thanks to the technological advances that have happened within digital and social platforms. It’s a lot easier for someone to be browsing Facebook, for example, see something, click, and buy. The ease of purchase has truncated the entire purchase funnel.”

On the diminishing influence of organic social media:

“Organic [social media] has a place from a channel hygiene standpoint, especially if you’re a new brand and you’re trying to build authenticity and awareness for your product. In those cases, you do need a Facebook page and cultivating a community is helpful. On the flipside, you don’t want to just talk to yourself, which is where the paid component comes in. Marketers today need to spend money in order to not only amplify their message, but also create the message itself. These days, you really can’t create a piece of static content; you have to have dynamic content and that costs money. There’s money on all sides, including the measurement piece. In order to see if you’re effective, you need to measure your efforts—and measurement isn’t free. You need sophisticated tools in order to make sure you’re measuring from the top of awareness all the way down from conversion to retention.”

Brendan Bilko, Co-Founder & Head of Product, Dexter

On the ‘mainstreamification’ of chatbots:

“When it comes to chatbot adoption, I think we’re still in early days. That said, the growth of the technology on specific platforms has been tremendous. Slack on the business or corporate side comes to mind. On the consumer side, adoption has been slower, but it’s gaining traction as businesses start to offer things that are less splashy and campaign-y and more centered around solving a consumer pain-point. One example: Basic FAQs. For most business, 90 percent of questions they get asked are the same. So, if you can go ahead and hand that stuff to a piece of software and allow your customer service team to triage things that are out of the blue, that’s where we’re seeing tons of success … Artificial intelligence and chat tech aren’t replacing humans anytime soon.”

On the No. 1 tip for brands approaching chatbots for the first time:

“When it comes to getting started, the most important thing to keep in mind is that people are going to mess with the bot you put out into the world. Knowing the personality of what I’m releasing and knowing the use case of what I’m releasing into the world gives me a general understanding of what people might ask of it. You might then consider those responses in advance and let the user know you’ve thought about their reactions and respond accordingly. It’s important to let the user know you’ve put the time and thought into what it is you’ve released.”

Nazanin Rafsanjani, Creative Director, Gimlet

On the unique benefits of storytelling via audio:

“I’ve had the lucky experience of working in network and cable television and I truly believe that audio is the least limiting way of telling a story. It’s the way that allows you to really put the story first without a lot of distractions. Visual storytelling can be kind of distracting because you’re reacting to so many things you’re seeing at the same time. Audio allows you to tell a narrative and create an intimate connection that is a one-on-one experience: you and the story. It’s the most exciting kind of storytelling.”

On which brands are right for podcasting:

“I think that any brand can have a podcast. It comes down to if you want to engage in long-form storytelling—branded podcasts like what we’ve made for eBay, Tinder, and Microsoft—need to be approached from a listener-first mindset. The story needs to come before the brand. You can’t enter into a long-form series wanting to sell a product because you’re asking for 20 to 30 minutes of someone’s time and nobody’s going to give you that much time if they feel like they’re listening to an ad.”

On how to produce effective podcasting advertising:

“For mid-roll ads, 45- to 60-second spots, we still want those to be tiny stories. Gimlet was founded on the idea that ads don’t have to be bad. They can be additive and good. They can make you laugh or learn something about a brand, or take you behind the scenes of a brand. Traditional radio ads on commercial and public radio had tended to be viewed of as an after-thought, something that interrupts what the consumer is actually there for. It was important for us from Day 1 to take a different approach.”

Matt Britton, CEO, Crowdtap

On the death of branding:

“In a TV-driven world, brands were able to dictate the way they were perceived because they could communicate their message within a very tight vacuum and do so in a way that talked about their unique selling propositions and the things that made that product important. Today, brands are perceived by consumers however they want to be perceived. On top of that, the power of brands just doesn’t weigh the same as it used to in the past. All products are good and you don’t need a brand name in a lot of categories to get what you need.”

On Instagram as a personal branding vehicle:

“Consumers are pursuing experiences not just to enjoy them, but to prove they were there. Instagram is the personal brand-builder in this new world. The new social currency is experiences—it’s not the Toyota Camry, Rolex watch or Nike sneakers that get people to look at you differently. It’s sneaking down to the front row and getting a selfie with a DJ or traveling to a remote place. That’s what’s forming your peers’ perception of you. Because of that, it’s changing and reprioritizing the way people spend their money and their time.”

On how brands can keep on the pulse of culture:

“A lot of brands are struggling with having their finger on the pulse of what’s really going on: the pulse of consumers, culture, and technology. At Crowdtap, we’ve developed a new tool called Suzy, which is a real-time marketing intelligence tool, that allows brands to ask a finite group of consumers any question in a variety of forms and validate their thinking in the same meeting they’re in. This allows them to be data-driven in every decision they make, from the smallest to the largest, and that’s our big focus moving forward.”

Want more highlights? Browse interview snippets from Day 1.

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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Crowdtap CEO: Branding Is Dead And ‘Gramming Killed It

Social Media Week




At #SMWCHICAGO, Matt Britton, Chief Executive Officer of Crowdtap, took the stage to discuss the growing domination of Facebook, Google, and Amazon and how the new digital dynamic is redefining the role and importance of brands in American culture.

Britton opened up his talk by discussing the humble beginnings of television advertising and brand marketing in the 1960s. He spoke about “The TV Industrial Complex” that was coined by author Seth Godin.

As the years went on, the economy grew and consumers bought more products while manufacturing moved overseas, lowering the cost of production while increasing profits. This led to something Britton calls “The Shopping Mall Complex,” which describes the cycle in which consumers buy stuff, pay off their credit card, see some else’s stuff, and buy their stuff, which would then lead to buying more stuff. As the name suggests, The Shopping Mall Complex led to the rise of shopping malls, which became a communal space wherein people spent a significant amount of their time.

“What the shopping mall did in the 80s as it really started to explode was give people a community around shopping.”

Per Britton, consumerism (and brands) hit an all-time peak in the early 2000s. Indeed, The TV Industrial Complex would meet its demise by four defining death blows:

    • The Invention of the Internet
    • The 2008 Stock Market Crash
    • The debut of the iPhone
    • The rise of Instagram

All of these factors have come to head in a way that is redefining what it means to be a brand. In Britton’s words, “the status update became is the new status symbol.” Over the years, the creative class has moved into the cities and millennials are buying less so they can afford to live in small spaces near and around large metropolitan areas. As a result of millennial buying habits, malls and big-box retailers are closing and companies headquarters are relocating to where the millennials are.

Because they are acting younger in life adults are pursuing experiences more. People are so consumed with experiences and “DIFTI” (doing it for the Instagram) not to actually live the experience, but to build their own personal brand. As Britton called out, this has reached a point in which people are actually renting grounded private jets to take Instagram photos. People are going to places like The Museum of Ice Cream and ordering desserts at Black Tap not to learn about or eat ice cream, but to take selfies and food pics for the Instagram.

While millennials are taking selfies, brands are having a hard time evolving. Even companies like Walmart and Target are releasing product lines to compete with the brands that they put on their shelves. The brands on the shelves of those retail locations can’t learn anything about their customers because there is no data to support it.

Utility is defining the everyday brand. Looking at the top ten most valuable brands of 2017 ,you won’t find Hereseys or Nike, but you will find companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Verizon, which provide data, search results, devices and things consumers need to find what they are looking for. Companies like Airbnb, Uber, and Rent the Runway are giving consumers the things they need without having to spend the money to own them.

According to Britton, the medium is becoming the utility that matters. Companies like Amazon using voice technology to sell their Amazon-branded products to consumers without giving them the option of choosing another brand. Britton advises brands to follow in the footsteps of brands like Amazon and Apple and “don’t just make the software, make the hardware,” which means brands need to focus on building an infrastructure.

Further analysis and commentary from ‘The Inevitable Extinction of Branding’ 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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