In these rapidly changing times, predicting the future is hard. But Ads24, at their recent Food for Thought breakfast, gazed to the future to unpack some of the trends that could shape our world in times to come.
A great way to get a gathering off to a having an interesting conversation is to feed the crowd a weird breakfast of coffee-infused sausages, hard boiled eggs, solar coffee and ‘juice made from ugly fruit and veg’. What was it all about? Aside from the political, economic, tech and lifestyle trends that were explored, the event also touched on food trends. Urban farming, home-made food and repurposed food were mentioned. A unique caterer also delivered weird food options from the already mentioned coffee-infused sausages and solar coffee to sea sponge bread, sea sausages and sea soda.
The purpose of the event and the challenging food was, said general manager of Ads24, Ane Honiball, to “entertain and to interact with our loyal clients, but then also to just open their eyes as to the realities of our world, what the dynamics are are shaping it. I think as newsprint we are often caught in the almost dilemma of ‘newspapers is legacy media and it’s not evolving’, and I think today was about showing we are very much about the future and shaping ourselves accordingly”.
To that end, the two keynote speakers were a futurist and expert in the field of innovation and technology strategy, Pieter Geldenhuys, and Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) founding director Professor Nick Binedell.
Personalising ads to specific personalities
Geldenhuys explored how artificial intelligence can be used by brands to gain more in-depth consumer insights, as well as other tech trends including virtual and alternative reality.
“In a world of abundant processing power, bandwidth and storage space we have seen a new basis formed, and this creates an environment where we have an abundance of artificial intelligence. This means that we can analyse individuals to an extent unbeknown to humanity. We have seen social networks recording information about people on a day-to-day basis and you can use artificial intelligence to look at patterns,” he said.
His message to brands was to stop the mass market communication approach and rather target individuals as advances in tech have made this possible. “Once you have a personality profile and you can link it to an IP address or identity, you can link specific brand advertisements that align to a unique individual’s personality… you get far better multiple touchpoints if you customise your adverts to be aligned to your market,” he said. “So now the message is no longer about you as a company and your archetype or your brand, but how you can convert your brand into sub-messages to speak more directly to something with a specific personality type.”
The map and the mirror
Binedell spoke about evolving brand strategy in the context of an evolving world. “The pace of globalisation has slowed down a little bit and regions are looking a bit more inward… there are evolutions in technology… these are profound life-changing tools, devices and processes that really are infiltrating the way we live,” he said.
“One of the very important issues is the social dynamics. Human progress has never been as rapid as it is now… we have managed to put to work all these resources but it has provoked a restlessness. Maybe what tech does is suck away purpose a little bit”.
The message that he emphasised throughout was the importance of, “How you got into the room and what you’re doing in it, are not how you will get out of it”. He added that brands, in order to succeed, need a map and a mirror to chart their course in the world around them, and to look inward at their own strategy.
He also gave his views on the role of the media in South African society. “A lot of our behaviour depends on the media. How we interpret events and what action we take, a lot of it comes from the media. So the media has a lot of responsibility to do justice to the truth and the facts of things … Information is everything and we make decisions on what information we have”.
He said the South African media industry was, in some ways old fashioned but in other ways advancing rapidly, a situation he described as “typically in transition”.
Here are some pics from the event:
To see the live tweets that were posted during the event, follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8
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