The Evolving Roles Of Data, Trust And Transparency In Advertising And Publishing


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Social Media Week

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With the development of social media, millions in this new digital audience are forming an interactive community that brands, publishers, and advertisers are now forced to realize. There are many dynamics and trends stemming from this upheaval, but the most fundamental change is an amplification of sensitivities.

We heard from five major thought leaders in the industry: Barbara Basney (VP Global Advertising, Brand Content & Media at Xerox Corporation), Mary Gail Pezzimenti (VP of Content Creation at Huffington Post Creative Labs), Tonia Ries (SVP and EP at Edelman Square), Amanda Rubin (Global Co-Head, Brand and Content Strategy at Goldman Sachs) and Mina Seetharaman (Global Director, Content Strategy at The Economist Group).

Defined by Barbara Basney, the common expectation of organizations is transparency, yet that expectation drives a greater need to address the sensitivities of the public audience to the stance and actions of the organization.

Even more, the digital audience is more plugged in and more reactive to the public entity, which necessitates that branded content is created with much greater awareness.

One of the branches of this dynamic is the increasing popularity of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) for large content campaigns. Mary illustrates examples of Chipotle’s Food for Thought movement as such an instance-truly though, these motions are quite simply attempts to be transparent, and to avoid stepping on any toes in the now expanded audience.

Whether it actually is causation, the end result is a higher frequency of CSR marketing content from large organizations, which are directly related to higher sales and a stickier customer base.

Returning to the core of this sensitivity, a direct effect is the need for integrity overall, and a careful search for content that is digitally validated. Amanda focuses on engagement at Goldman, to garner individual feedback, while Barbara focuses on providing top-rated content.

Mary takes a more complex approach, driving viewership and retention by experimenting with content that lights the path to the viewer’s desires, yet does not just start at that endpoint. The common theme throughout these endeavors is the creation of authentic brand value and being increasingly careful with the appropriate content for the audience.

The implication for this corporate sentiment driven by the rise of the Internet native is that trust from the customer is rising in value and increasing in scarcity. With the rise in scarcity, the process of buying and retaining that trust is becoming more expensive, and the market for appropriate, transparent brand content delivered over the most suitable channels is blooming.

The B2B environment for startups that will enable the cycle of custom content outflow and rapid response is ripe for innovation, and we will see unprecedented growth within this space in the next 5 years.

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James Liao

Student, Columbia Business School

I am a second year at Columbia Business School, focusing on Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. I am a graduate mentor for the Founders Institute, and work at Bowery Capital and 37 Angels. I love startups and have been a founder, and am still searching for the next builders opportunity.



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