Monday, May 7 2018 – Dubai, UAE
Audiences are no longer captive, nor easily fooled.
If your intentions aren’t sincere, the fanciest production or the biggest influencers will make no difference to your marketing.
The need is for real stories, for real people. Connection is key, platforms and metrics are secondary.
Technology can, and will, surprise us in ways that are hard to imagine.
The rise of platform specific content is diminishing the role of transference between them.
These were just some of the fascinating discussion points that came up when leading regional marketers and agencies gathered to listen to and debate with top minds from Google, Fetchr, Mindshare, and MBC on the ‘Future of Content’.
An industry session organized by HUMAN-Film (www.human-film.com), the morning opened with a warm up talk by Alex Brunori, Head of Creative Agencies MENA at Google who not only showed how content has evolved but challenged the audience to re-think their traditional frameworks of decision making and understanding their consumers.
He was joined in a larger panel discussion by Joy Ajlouny, Co-Founder & Creative Director of Fetchr, Hind Abu Alia, Head of Digital Commercial, MBC, Victoria Loesch, Regional Client Leadership, Mindshare and Rakesh Kumar, CEO of HUMAN and HUMAN-Film.
The panelists debated vigorously on what is working and what is not – from infrastructure to influencers – but did agree that connection is key. Authentic content is a definite need, but the meaning of authenticity itself is evolving, and this evolution to real people, real stories is what needs to be amplified.
Even as brands and companies struggle to differentiate themselves, building local relevance remains important, especially in the Middle East. There is also a need to end the concept of ‘big ideas’ as brands see a shift to platform specific content from being platform agnostic.
For Loesch, agility and adaptation were key skills for any content creator – whether it’s a celebrity influencer or an agency – in today’s media and consumer landscape. But one must not forget the end goal of content is to grow the brand. And as Abu Alia put it, a successful content strategy needs frameworks – even if they are discarded for new ones!
And even though there was much difference of opinion about the role of influencers or the need for metrics, what all the panellists did agree on was that the role of technology in content creation is inevitable and bound to grow. Machine learning is gradually taking over human learning, and artificial intelligence might one day have a part in marketing strategies! Whether AR, VR or CGI, technology led content is definitely a part of the future.
However, in this drive to produce new and varied content, it’s important to stay true to the brand purpose. As Ajlouny put it, all brands must always ask themselves ‘why do we exist?’ and ‘what do we want to say?’ Ultimately, according to Brunori, it is not the format or the genre or the production value – it is the story that is the hero.
From debating the nature of content, to debating the very nature of industry practices, the variety and intensity of the opinions reflected the involved nature of the professionals who participated, and their desire to find the best way forward. HUMAN-Film was glad to see the questions and conversations that were generated, as that’s the best indication the things are going the right direction!