While technology can be daunting, brands need to keep up with it and the potential it offers to remain at the forefront of customer service.
This was the underlying theme of all the speakers at The SpaceStation’s Digital SALT conference, held last week.
The SpaceStation offered some great insights to kick off the conference. “Technology works at its best when it is meeting a consumer need and doing so in a discreet manner”, they said, and “If digital platforms are the vehicle, then big data is the navigator and content is the fuel.” Another gem was, “People are consuming more content on smaller screens in less time”.
“The future of digital,” The SpaceStation opined, “is utilising technology to find out more about personalised experiences and to help tailor them.”
Trends to note
Something that brands need to keep in mind is being able to scale up the technology is a major focus. Another factor is technology that automatically develops through machine learning. Not only does this improve the tech, but its efficiency also allows for greater consumer insights, leading to better tailoring of products and services for the target market.
A key technology mentioned by many of the presenters was artificial intelligence (AI). It is fairly new to the South African market so there is still a lot of room for experimentation and development. But all the speakers stressed that if a brand is not working on at least some form of AI, then they are going to be left behind by their competitors. The SpaceStation summed it up best: “AI will shape the future more than the internet did”.
Highlights from the speakers
The event boasted an impressive line-up of presenters including two panel discussions. While loads of information was given during the proceedings, here are the key highlights from each speaker:
Brett StClair, partner, What’s the Future
Consumers have micro moments shaped by data gathered from technology … Consumers are changing on the fly based on contexts. Listen to the customer.
The end state is being hyper personalised, having a personal relationship.
Build delightful experiences and straight through processing.
Dina Amin, head: publisher partnerships, MENA, Google
Use technology to pinpoint consumer moments amongst all the tech clutter.
Programmatic reaches the right consumer with the right message in the right place in real time.
Programmatic brings effective reach, increased impact and measurable results.
Panel discussion around fake news: The panellists were Mondli Makhanya, editor-in-chief, City Press; Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief, News24; and Ferial Haffajee, editor-at-large, HuffPost SA.
People have fallen for fake news because of the feeling of the need to get things out first – Makhanya.
Fact checking and fairness will never not be a part of journalism … We needed to learn to work quicker without compromising the brand – Basson.
Propaganda is as old as the mountains. It has just found a new friend in technology – Basson.
The audience has become your fact checkers. They’ll tell you of mistakes – Haffajee.
Social media is a frenemy to us. We use it to get information, but with caution – Basson.
The coverage of the Bell Pottinger story was a partnership between investigative media and social media – Haffajee.
Conversations on social media are around what media has already reported … Social media is really only an enhancement of the work of journalists – Makhanya.
Fake news is here to stay and it will become more rampant, but the truth always prevails – Makhanya.
Nic Robertson, GM, UberEATS
Growing a brand is about trial and error, making mistakes and keep trying … But ideas need to be supported by data.
Remove the human element and look at data points to plot growth … But innovation has to speak to consumer experiences.
Technology and data creates a better, richer, personalised consumer experience.
Partner with other businesses to benefit both them and your business… Build partnerships now for the long term.
Vicki Myburgh, director, PwC
Move over content and distribution, user experience is now king … Advances in technology, big data and great content is the formula for success.
Being a fan-centric company will help a brand win … Understanding the consumer and what they are about will drive fandom.
Brands growing will be about taking market share, rather than market expansion … Focus on localising content and its distribution.
Panel discussion around ad fraud and click bait: The panellists were Gustav Goosen, CEO, The SpaceStation; Jaco Lintvelt, MD Amnet SSA & iProspect SA, Dentsu Aegis Network; and Dina Amin, head: publisher partnerships, MENA, Google.
People hide behind technology and think it will protect them and do everything for them – Goosen.
You need to put the right people behind the technology, otherwise it won’t work for you – Lintvelt.
The industry still has to decide how important ad fraud and click bait are for SA … We haven’t even determined if these are a problem for SA – Lintvelt.
Local publishers stand to lose if a fear comes out around programmatic – Amin.
Ad fraud and click bait don’t necessarily have to do with programmatic – Lintvelt.
There is no common standard for viewability standards in SA. Why not build viewability measures into technology? – Goosen.
We need to ask ourselves how can we stop people feeling they need adblockers, not how we can stop people adblocking – Goosen.
We need in-depth conversations in our industry around these risks – Amin.
Here are some pictures from the event:
To see the live tweets that were posted during the event, follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8 and check out his timeline.