Set against a backdrop of manicured gardens and the Sydney cityscape, Gruden stepped away from the digital space for a few hours on Thursday the 1st of December to attend the MediaSocial 09 event. Observing the afternoon sun setting from one of the many windows of the Ambush Gallery, the room was filled with some of the most influential names in media and technology. Speakers ranged from InStyle Australia, Westpac, Hootsuite, Mumbrella, Foxtel, Gruden and more, all sharing their valuable insights into current digital and technology trends.

Create bespoke content for each channel

Kicking things off, InStyle Australia Editor Emily Taylor discussed the need for a multi-channel method to content creation. “Don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach for your content. Ensure all content is bespoke,” said Taylor. She urged attendees to “be brave with change”, to understand what your audience needs to ensure you can make them feel something. At the heart of all content is a story and if you get that storytelling right, the results will speak for themselves.

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InStyle Australia Editor, Emily Taylor

Ideas are the currency but execution is key

Next up was Westpac’s Head of Public Relations, Sarah Scott who described the current state of the cluttered media landscape, in which everyone is a journalist and speed often trumps authenticity when producing content. It’s no longer about mass communication, but rather a multi-content strategy whereby “ideas are the currency but execution is key.” Knowing your audience inside out – what they had for breakfast, what media they consumed while doing so and which screen they used to view it – is key to building trust with your audience. Also, visual content with context will increase brand recognition by up to 80% and is more likely to be shared.

Sarah Scott from Westpac talks to the audience

Sarah Scott from Westpac talks to the audience

Get executives on board to drive impact on social media

Benjamin Mulligan from Hootsuite took to the stage to explain the importance of shifting our focus to Baby Boomers, as Australians aged 55 and over are the fastest growing users on social networking channels. Baby Boomers make up 30% of the national Facebook population yet there are “more Australian grandparents on Facebook than there are executives on LinkedIn.” Highlighting that there is a massive gap where generations have fallen through the cracks, Mulligan posed the question: how can you build trust with your brand on social media if your CEO or executive isn’t an active social media user themselves? The answer lies in getting them on board to lead the company. Once they establish a presence, the brand will flourish.

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Hootsuite’s Benjamin Mulligan talks Baby Boomers on social media

Optimise your videos for social media

Opening with a quote from Facebook: “Creative can influence the CTR and the CVR just as much as targeting,” Foxtel’s David Higgins took the audience back to the 1950s, where families would converse about what they’d seen on the television. The discussion often began with the phrase “hey honey,” which is why he called it the “hey honey moment” and it’s this kind of ad recall that all content producers should aim for within the first 3 to 4 seconds they have to get their story across. Not only this, but a mere 4% of users tap on your ad when scrolling through their news feed, so design your video for no sound and remember that the “true value of social is in the retargeting.”

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Mr Bean helps Foxtel’s David Higgins to discuss social video ads

Keep the human in marketing

All eyes were on the stage by the time the expert panel took their seats for a true meeting of the minds. Gruden’s Head of Digital Services, John Butterworth, sat alongside ServantOfChaos.com’s Gavin Heaton, Small Business Marketing’s Sarah Denby-Jones and Mumbrella’s Alex Hayes to debate marketing disruptions and offer advice for both businesses and marketers. Sarah Denby-Jones explained that we must “keep the human in marketing” and remember that there is a heart in a brand. Just because you can do something – whether it is social video ads or blogging – doesn’t mean that it’s right for your business, be smart in your approach.

From left to right: Alex Hayes, Gavin Heaton, Sarah Hayes & John Butterworth

From left to right: Alex Hayes, Gavin Heaton, Sarah Denby-Jones & John Butterworth

Be creative and purposeful in your messaging

Gruden’s John Butterworth turned his question of whether marketing is still relevant to millennials (given increased apathy) on its head, by saying that marketing still works for millennials by way of rewards programs. Referring a friend to save money is a great way to do this, as well as optimising your website for mobile. Using one of Gruden’s client’s as an example, John said that the online home appliance store saw a 21% lift in millennial customers, who had a higher number of transactions on mobile than anyone else. Young people are ready and willing to absorb media, so it’s not a matter of whether they’re apathetic as much as it’s about marketers being more creative and purposeful in their messaging. Your audience will only care if you’re offering something that is of relevance to them.

Know your brand and your audience

According to Mumbrella Editor Alex Hayes, agencies and brands looking to cut through the media noise need to first understand who they are trying to target in order to inspire shares and organic brand reach. Citing the success of Air New Zealand’s video advertisements, he said it’s all about “setting up the expectation. It’s an event when they release an advert.” Sarah Denby-Jones agreed with this sentiment, adding: “Brands need to go back to the one thing they want to own in somebody’s mind.” Once businesses identify the words they want to own in their audience’s mind “you’ll then become a lighthouse for those words.”

There was a wealth of knowledge and invaluable insights shared at the MediaSocial 09 event, but perhaps the most important takeaway is that businesses need to get the content right for each channel. A multi-channel strategy is the best way to ensure increased revenue, and authenticity is imperative for gaining customer loyalty. If you remain true to the heart of your brand, you will connect with your audience and drive results.

For businesses looking to improve brand awareness and customer loyalty, contact Gruden today. We can help you to stand out amidst the cluttered digital landscape and form truly meaningful relationships with your customers.