If Adobe Summit day one was about practicalities—tips, tricks, launches and innovations to help businesses become experience makers—then day two was all about inspiration from some of the world’s finest entrepreneurs and leaders.
The Sands Expo at The Venetian was abuzz from the moment the coffee stands rolled into place, through to when the last beer was served at the incredible Summit Bash featuring Grammy-award winning singer, Beck.
“Think about what change you want to make in your organisation and in yourself to become an experience maker.” That was the idea mooted by John Mellor, Adobe’s Vice President Strategy, Marketing & Alliances at the start of the day. By nightfall almost everyone in the audience had at least the beginning of an idea about how to answer this.
JJ Watt, an American football player and former winner of the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award, discussed his use of social media for global good, specifically his campaign to help fundraise millions of dollars following the devastating hurricanes that affected Houston in 2017. Watt is a huge fan of goal setting: daily, weekly, monthly and lifetime goals to make dreams come true.
Social has been under attack recently due to issues around safety and security, making the next discussion on the agenda a timely one. Adobe’s CMO, Ann Lewnes, led a fascinating panel discussion with representatives from LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, in which they discussed the future of social media and how platforms are evolving. What did they tell us?
Twitter “serves the public conversation by keeping users informed in public dialogue and empowering them to take part in that dialogue,” said Kay Madati, Twitter’s VP and Global Head of Comms & Partnerships.
“Twitter is naturally a public platform. Our issues around privacy diminish as most info we publish is public. I have no business if I can’t provide a brand safe environment for advertisers (and users). Our focus now and into the future is around storytelling and empowering it across our platform. Video at the centre of this. Conversation around video is key and we are the perfect platform to lead charge in that opportunity.
Linkedin “creates economic opportunity for everyone on the platform,” said Melissa Selcher, VP for Brand & Communications. “When it comes to content, we focus on context. Members tend to police what content they want. Our exec team are very determined to provide a great member experience, but it’s not just down to them, it’s up to every employee to strive for this. In fact, it’s codified in our values.
“At LinkedIn we regularly talk about the three C’s: clarity, choice and control. Clarity means total transparency in data—where we share it and how we use it. Choice is giving members the ability to choose how they work with LinkedIn and the way in which they engage with us. And control, meaning total control over their profile, where it can be seen and by whom.”
As for the future, LinkedIn believes that “CMOs see themselves as editor-in-chiefs’ of content. Marketing departments are more responsible than ever before for curating, creating and delivering huge volumes of content. Marketers are also recognising that they aren’t always the best at creating the content, often receiving the best benefits from engaged consumers, with video performing incredibly well. What excites me is that by 2025, 75 percent of the American workforce will be millennial. This will change the everything we do across our platforms. Adjusting to that demographic shift is a must to ensure we have environments and ways to match the needs of our users.”
Facebook’s VP of Marketing Partnerships, Gene Alston, was arguably in the hottest seat, and immediately addressed the elephant in the room: “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to create community and bring people together. Our role is to protect the privacy of users on Facebook, and we take our commitment really seriously. If we can’t protect your information, then we don’t deserve it. I’ve never seen the leadership team more focused or committed to tackling challenges head on.”
According to Alston, Facebook is “trying to find solutions in how marketers measure across platform. We want to help advertisers better understand cross-channel and determine ROI. We believe Facebook stories are going to be a huge trend across the industry. There is a huge opportunity to tap into energy of content creators.
“We have zero tolerance for hate speech and violent content and are investing in machine learning technology to monitor content in real time, giving advertisers control where context matters. We aim to give full transparency on where ads ran in our network.”
In the opinion of this writer, these measures will be absolutely critical if leveraging Stories and the energy of content creators is the future direction of the platform. Advertisers will need to be completely confident that their ads are appearing in brand safe environments.
Finally, the morning session concluded with the wise words of Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson—a great example of European know-how telling the world how it’s done. “My primary goal has always been to figure out ways to make peoples’ lives better,” said Branson. “Understanding people’s experiences lies at the heart of that process and at the heart of Virgin.
“Virgin transformed the experience around airline travel. We re-imagined the check-in experience, we introduced in-flight massages and we were the first airline to introduce seat-back videos. All other airlines try to follow in our flight path. Attention to detail matters.
“I keep a notebook in my pocket, whenever I fly. I listen to passengers and crew. Listening keeps airline travel fun, friendly and entertaining. As expectations change, so must the experience.”
With those words ringing in my head, my thoughts turn to a few weeks down the road, and Adobe’s EMEA Summit in London. What experience will we deliver to you on May 3 and 4? With expectations raised so high here in Vegas, Adobe must follow Branson’s advice and deliver an experience at London’s Excel Centre that meets the needs of today’s European marketer and business decision maker. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store.