Learn how Viacom’s digital media team experimented with new ways of engaging fans

Experts from Viacom’s VH1, MTV International, and Marketing and Partner Solutions will explore how they have fearlessly experimented and found success creating new ways to engage fans using innovative tactics around social, bots, and more.

Lydia Daly (SVP, Social Media and Branded Content Strategy, Viacom Velocity), Jon Mallow (SVP of Digital, VH1 & Logo Online – Production, Viacom), and Karmelina Parouka (Vice President of Digital Production, MTV International / Viacom International Media Networks) will take the #SMWNYC stage (Stage One at The TimesCenter) for a discussion on their recent findings.

This session, “Dear Social, What Have You Done for Me Lately? How Viacom Gets Maximum Fan Impact from Innovations in Social, Bots, and Beyond,” takes place Tuesday, February 28 at 11:00am.

In addition to this session, MTV is also hosting a masterclass event this year at #SMWNYC titled, “musical.ly and MTV: A Master Class in Mobilizing Musers,” which will explain the power of musical.ly, a growing music video social network, and its influential group of “musers.”

Social Media Week returns to New York this February 28 at The TimesCenter. Register to attend here before passes sell out, and view more events on our official schedule here.

Millennials, LOLs, and Snapchat: Hear from Viacom’s Leaders at #SMWNYC

Viacom and its many global media brands specialize in television programming, motion pictures and other entertainment content. It’s one of the world’s largest media companies reaching audiences in 180 countries. Like everyone else, they face the many challenges of an evolving digital and media landscape, with new audiences and consumers using technology in new and entirely different ways.

How does Viacom ensure that they’re engaging fans, viewers, customers, advertisers, and future generations as effectively as they’ve done year after year?

At SMW New York, leaders from Viacom, Comedy Central, and MTV will participate in a variety of sessions and conversations, ranging from the future generation after Millennials, to the best brands on Snapchat. Here are the four sessions featuring Viacom executives:

1. The Best Brands On Snapchat

Tuesday, February 23rd • 12:30pm • TimesCenter
Snapchat is the new battleground for the most innovative brands, and attendees will meet the marketers behind the ghost that are already crushing it on this emerging platform. Sarah Epler (Senior Director, Social Media & Fan Engagement, MTV) will participate in this session alongside leaders from VaynerMedia, Nasdaq, American Airlines, and The Wall Street Journal.

2. Keynote with Comedy Central’s Chief Marketing Officer, Walter Levitt

Wednesday, February 24th • 1:30pm • TimesCenter
Comedy Central’s CMO will give an overview of the brand’s social media and on-the-ground tactics and strategy. Attendees will learn key insights into what makes Comedy Central successful at engaging fans and driving conversations.

Walter will help answer the question, “What are the steps to get your own audience and fan-base to actively talk about your brand?” with examples from Comedy Central’s roster of award-winning franchises and multi-platform programming.

3. How marketers can be successful with Facebook and Instagram coexisting

Thursday, February 25th • 1:00pm • SVA Theatre
Facebook is a highly effective channel for driving advertising performance at scale, and Instagram is a creatively inspiring platform, great at generating engagement – especially among Millennials. Hear from Kristin Rolla Mirek (VP, Multi-Platform Development & Marketing, TV Land at Viacom) during this session, as she and other media industry leaders will share how advertisers can complement the strengths of each platform to achieve unprecedented levels of success.

4. Hello “Founders” – Meet the Generation after Millennials, presented by MTV

Friday, February 26th • 2:30pm • The TimesCenter
When MTV first began researching post-Millennials, none of the generational names currently in play seemed to sum up the essence of the kids themselves. So they asked, “why not go straight to the source?” The MTV Insights spoke to 13-14-year-olds in-person and via virtual focus groups, and discovered the name most of them wanted for their generation. The result?… “The Founders”. Yes, seriously, The Founders.

Along with this new name came instructive insights into what drives this generation on-the-rise and the responsibility they feel to build upon the societal blocks that Millennials are famous for disrupting.

Hear from Tom Fishman (SVP of Audience Growth and Engagement, MTV), Jane Gould (SVP of Consumer Insights and Research, MTV), Alison Hillhouse (VP of MTV Insights) and Taylor Trudon (Voices Editor, MTV News) for a discussion on what sets The Founders apart from Millennials, and what principles brands will need to consider for future marketing efforts.

Hear from Tom Fishman (SVP of Audience Growth and Engagement, MTV), Jane Gould (SVP of Consumer Insights and Research, MTV), and Taylor Trudon (Voices Editor, MTV News) for a discussion on what sets The Founders apart from Millennials, and what principles brands will need to consider for future marketing efforts.

Jane Gould, SVP of Consumer Insights and Research at MTV, Will Explore The Post-Millennial Generation at #SMWNYC

Jane Gould is responsible for connecting MTV’s internal and external clients to the heartbeat of its constantly evolving young audience.

She’s in charge of all consumer studies and trend forecasts – including quantitative and innovative qualitative analyses – conducted to guide MTV’s creative and business operations, including programming, development, marketing, digital and more.

A one-of-a-kind generational expert, she has studied the Millennial Generation for the past 15 years, having served most recently as Senior Vice President of Consumer Insights for Nickelodeon.

Register to attend SMW New York, and explore MTV’s findings and research of the post-Millennial generation. The MTV Insights team went to work with a group of 13-14-year-olds in-person and via virtual focus groups who identified more than 500 potential generation names that were ultimately tested in a nationwide, quantitative survey. The top choice… “The Founders”. Yes, seriously. The Founders

Along with a new name, Jane and her team discovered some fascinating insights into what drives this generation on-the-rise, and the responsibility they feel to build upon the societal blocks that Millennials are famous for disrupting. This session, “‘Hello “Founders’ – Meet The Generation After Millennials” takes place Friday, February 26 at The TimesCenter (FWD Stage).

EVENT SPOTLIGHT: Don’t Call Them Gen-Z, They Call Themselves “The Founders”

When MTV first began researching post-Millennials, none of the generational names currently in play seemed to sum up the essence of the kids themselves. So MTV asked, why not go straight to the source?

The MTV Insights team went to work with a group of 13-14-year-olds in-person and via virtual focus groups who identified more than 500 potential generation names that were ultimately tested in a nationwide, quantitative survey. The top choice? “The Founders”. Yes, seriously… The Founders.

If you’re eager to hear more about what MTV learned and discovered after their conversations with these 13 and 14-year-olds, register for SMW New York, and attend their session on Friday, February 26 at 2:30PM at The TimesCenter (FWD Stage).

Along with this new name comes instructive insights into what drives this generation on-the-horizon, and the responsibility they feel is required to build upon the societal blocks that Millennials are famous for disrupting.

MTV Continues to Pioneer Content and Talent with Millennials

Natan Edelsberg, the Senior Vice President at Sawhorse Media and Senior Supervising Producer at the Shorty Awards, moderated a strong session including panelists from MTV and entertainer and director, Todrick Hall. These specialists discussed MTV’s success with engaging audiences through deeper, personal connections, rather than lumping them together as “influencers” in a specific vertical. MTV recently started working with Todrick Hall on his new unscripted show “Todrick,” which takes viewers through a completely new type of reality program, intended for the Gen-Y audience.

Todrick Hall’s previous experience includes performing on Broadway shows, reaching the semi-finals on American Idol, and establishing himself as a prominent YouTube creator. With his fame and recognition, both on television and the digital world, Todrick has developed his community of fans and followers into devoted “Toddlerz” as he calls them, and for Todrick, he’s confident the hard work and years of growth won’t be forgotten. In his show, viewers experience a documentary-style perspective into the production and build-up behind each of his videos, where Todrick and his troupe connect with fans beyond the surface of the videos themselves.

Todrick told one of his favorite moments in his career during the session:

“When I got the chance to work for Beyoncé, I received a call from a blocked number. Now, normally I don’t answer blocked numbers, but for some reason I answered this one, and on the other line was Beyoncé asking me to be her choreographer for the ‘Blow’ music video. That’s when you know you’ve made it. It was a moment that proved to me all of this hard work, dedication and financial struggle was worth it, and this opportunity could make my passion a reality.”

Todrick even has an international following, which, in a way, is more feasible for internet-celebs than it is for traditional ones. Recently, Todrick had a “Twerk Du Soleil” event in London. There, in addition to everywhere he goes, Todrick continues to engage face-to-face with his fans. He will always take time with a fan for a selfie, and continues to give credit to his “Toddlerz” for helping him get to where he is today.

YouTube creators can become just as successful, if not more, than traditional celebrities, and those lines blur more and more every day. There’s a difference between celebrities and YouTube stars. Today, you don’t need a record label or television network to get started because digital creators are doing this on their own. The social platforms, and even YouTube multi-channel networks (MCNs) allow creators to establish a direct relationship with audiences around the world.

People want to see their favorite creators succeed, especially Millennials and Gen-Z, and there “selling out” to these individuals is not as common, if at all, compared to household names, celebrities and performers. It’s the power of the Internet that’s changing this ecosystem, and regardless of the channel or platform, content creators should strive to be the best you can be in as many different ways.

6 Ways for Marketers to Understand Millennials this Social Media Week

Ok, New York, you’re stuck indoors with yet another snowstorm this winter, and we know what you’re up to. You’re feeding those guilty pleasures: those preferences on Netflix you never want anyone to see. Well, as much as we might hate to admit it, what we’re seeing on Hulu and other platforms is largely shaped by the generation coming behind us. There’s a reason Party in the South is debuting. And this is exciting.

Millennials are shaping our future, and we need to understand this. Everything from our recreational options to innovation in industries like health, you either gotta keep up or get out of the way. And we want to help you keep up:

  1. 5 Ways Millennials’ Habits Are Changing How Content is Made and Shared
    The first step is to admit you need a deeper understanding. So, we recommend starting out SMW14 with Complex Media and their friends to learn how the Millennial generation’s habits are causing a speedy shift in how content is created and distributed. From the discovery of new talent and Vine stars to the ever present listicle, you’ll need a deeper understanding of this generation to get your marketing on track.
  2. How To Build a Brand That People Don’t Buy, They Join
    The millennial generation is the most cause-oriented generation since World War II. So, how do you get them to buy into your brand with a movement? That’s exactly what Zady, charity: water, and Whole Foods have managed to master. Join them to hear more and take away from their case studies ways your brand can become more connected to our passionate generation.
  3. Fueling Social Fandom at MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central
    Once you understand millennials better, it’s time to look to those who serve them best. Comedy Central has the market cornered currently, and MTV was once king of youth. But for both, this demographic is key. The two have quite a bit they can share and learn from each. So, we’re putting them together with VH1 to highlight how you can keep your fan base engaged, drawing from their own examples in everything from online to apps. You can’t miss this session. (Don’t believe us? Comedy Central’s past event on How To Be Funny in 140 Characters was in such high demand that we had to repeat it last year!)

  4. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, a Conversation with Author danah boyd and Andrew Rasiej
    Now, it’s time to get advanced. Without contest, few understand youth better than Microsoft Researcher danah boyd. She’s written about what’s new in how teenagers communicate through platforms, and specifically how social media affects the quality of teens’ lives. And at SMW14, she’ll be sharing her findings on identity, privacy, safety, danger, and bullying. Anyone working with youth and millennials will need to stop in and check on danah.
  5. Reading Is No Longer Fundamental: The Shift to Visual Vocabulary
    Our streams are flooded with gifs, Instagram, emojis, and bitstrips. We’re moving to a very visual marketing period, and it’s driven by millennials. “Visual” is a new language that needs to be mastered. As we look to the future, we have to ask: Is this a new era for cross-cultural communication, or is it changing the way we think – and not for the better? JWT leads a group of experts to really look at this impact, particularly in commerce.
  6. The Future of Now: Health Innovation Track, Sponsored by Merck
    And while we’re talking about movements, no generation was more supportive of health innovation than millennials. They are now turning away from politics to find other ways they can create innovation in the healthcare industry. That’s something Merck knows a thing or two about. Value-creation in the healthcare arena is now inextricably connected to digital and social technology. In this special three-hour track, we’ll explore how health is innovating and what’s to come in the future.

Registration is open! Get your pass today here, and join us and our partners, Nokia for what will be an extraordinary week of exploring our always on, always connected world.

What Senior Ad Marketers Need to Attend During SMW

It’s not about gimmicks or the latest buzzwords. Advertising goes deeper than just slick tricks to get your click. The dominance of social media has changed not only the ways in which advertising and marketing executives present a brand to an audience, but also what the audience can offer back. So, this year, we’re stepping up what’s available for senior marketers. We’ll be looking at human behavior, creating sustainable retail models, and more with these events:

Brand New World: The Expanding Role of the Digital CMO
The role of the CMO is evolving rapidly through the influence of technology and digital, as we must extract insights from big data, learn from disruptors, and adjust approaches to product design. That’s why we’ve dedicated an entire half-day to helping senior level marketers understand the tectonic shift that is taking place today. Join fellow CMOs offsite at Bloomberg as experts, including Jill Nussbaum from The Barbarian Group; author Douglas Rushkoff; Lisa Shallet, Goldman Sachs, James Cooper from betaworks.

Before you head to Thursday’s CMO summit at Bloomberg, whet your appetite for advertising and marketing insight at these idea-spiking, success-spurring events happening earlier in the week at Campus:

  1. Fueling Social Fandom at MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central
    Millennials and Gen-Xers are passionate about the TV shows, movies, and songs they love—and they aren’t afraid to tell you how they really feel through their tweets, shares, likes, posts, hashtags, and more. Learn from the networks that do it best on how to excite your audience enough that they take their opinions to the web.
  2. PSFK Labs’ Future of Retail Showcase: Creating a Sustainable Instant Retail Model
    Piers Fawkes, Editor-in-Chief of PSFK.com, and the team behind PSFK’s much buzzed about 2014 “Future of Retail” report invite you on a riveting exploration of the ideas and innovations shaping tomorrow’s retail landscape. He’ll be joined by a thrilling lineup of guest speakers from leading brands and cutting edge innovation incubators, including Tim Queenan, Director of Strategy, Google Creative Lab, Lee Hnetinka, CEO & Co-Founder, WunWun and Rachel Shechtman, Founder, Cube Ventures and STORY.
  3. Grow Your Audience with Google, Hosted by Google+
    More eyeballs on your content are never a bad thing—they equal more logins and registrations, more app downloads, and more user engagement. The innovators at Google and the companies that have utilized their innovations share how you can, too.

    And if you want more from Google, Make Your Brand Social Across The Web brings Diya Jolly, Senior Product Manager at Google, to share how Google+ helps you express your brand, create deeper connections with your audience, and get discovered across Google and the web.

  4. The State of Real-Time Vs. Predictive Marketing in 2014
    Spontaneity and diligent planning: They both have their benefits, so which should your marketing team use to get the ultimate response from your target audience? Proponents of both real-time marketing and predictive marketing, uberVU’s CEO Mark Pascarella and MYR’s Chief Distribution Officer Jeff Melton, respectively, argue their case then open the discussion to determine the best ways and the best times to use both strategies.
  5. The UnQuiz: Test Your Knowledge of the Biggest Brand Surprises on Social
    Think you know social media? It might be time to think again. Author, former digital editor of The Onion, and comedian, Baratunde Thurston, will do his best Alex Trebek as he hosts this sure-to-be side-splitting quiz show to showcase what Unmetric already knows — which brands are succeeding online, and how.

Have you registered yet? No? Get your pass today here, enjoy tons of amazing free perks from Citibike, Naked Wines and the New York Times, and join us and our partners, Nokia, for what will be an extraordinary week of exploring our always on, always connected world.

Your First Look: The Initial Official SMW NYC Schedule

SMW NYC is just around the corner, and we want to give you the first look at what’s to come! Today we unveil our initial Official Schedule.

We told you Cindy was blowing shit up this year, and we weren’t lying. Leading a special series on Changing the World through Sex, she will explore what the marketing and advertising industry is missing by not acknowledging, targeting and leveraging consumer behavior around sex and porn, from pioneering brands who are. And she’s just the beginning.

SMW14 will also feature social media heads from MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central highlighting how social media is ushering in new rules for developing fan bases and keeping them engaged. The Dachis Group and socialdeviant will gaze into the future to explore what our daily lives will look like in 2020, where wearable tech is heading, and what we can expect from dating.

And staying on the trend of the future, Joe Marchese leads a look at where advertising is heading and how we can break the cycle of greed and manipulation in it.

We’ll also explore how millennials are shaping it all, from the discovery of new talent (eg, Vine stars) to the creation of content expressly designed to be shared (eg, listicles).

See our full preview here, grab your pass, and start saving your Favorites.

Zero-Distancing: The Collapsing Distance Between Fan & Celebrity

This is a Guest Post by MTV Insights’ Alison Hillhouse

It’s no longer unusual for the biggest pop star in the world to wish you luck on your math test, or for a reality star to forgo therapy and solicit advice from 8 million teen fans. The pedestal has been dismantled by social media tools in the hands of a generation that loves to flatten hierarchies. We indeed live in a flat world where fans demand not just a VIP pass to celebs, artists and entertainment experiences, but an eye-to-eye view.

This is the age of “Zero-distancing.”

As Julian, 21, says “Today, artists can be your best friends.” So conversations like this between Nicole (@trukardashfan) and Khole Kardashian about Nicole’s upcoming midterms aren’t unusual:

As Nicole says, “Khloé always makes time to talk to all of her fans. Whenever I get a tweet from her it makes me so happy because it feels like we are close since we communicate often.”

Millennials also crave intimate glimpses into the mundane daily activities of their favorite celebrities, such as Taylor’s cat claw clipping:

We hear from Millennials that they click through various social media channels to get different perspectives into a celeb’s life just like different video camera angles at a live performance. Each social media channel serves a distinct & unique purpose:

+ Facebook is the most “formal and official outlet” for tour updates and information
+ Twitter offers a “blow-by-blow feed” and highlights interactions with other celebrities
+ Instagram provides a direct line into their literal world-view, like “seeing the world through their eyes”
+ Tumblr is the most intimate glimpse into an artists’ psyche/spirit. Jessica, 25, explains that it allows fans to get an authentic glimpse into an artist’s creative inspiration and process… it “shows how artists express themselves, the aesthetic that makes them tick.”

@MTVInsights will be speaking more about “zero-distancing” on February 20th during New York’s Social Media Week. We’ll start with a teen panel who will speak about their virtually-intimate relationships with celebs in social media, and then be joined by Viacom stars who will speak about their experience interacting with fans:

+ Nev Schulman from MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show”
+ Drita D’Avanzo from VH1’s “Mob Wives”
+ Cody Alan from CMT’s “Hot 20 Countdown” and nightly syndicated radio show, “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan”
+ Ivy Winters from Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

MTV is just one of over 300 Event Partners taking over SMW to help make SMW NYC a success. Sign up for their event here or for our other events here!

Event Spotlight: Tips to Build Brand Relationships Amidst the Social Media Clutter, Hosted by MTV and Text 100

If you’re in NYC during Social Media Week, don’t miss out on this great panel hosted by MTV and Text 100. Be prepared: the rule books are being thrown out, rewritten, and then thrown out again.

  • What’s this event called? Tips to Build Brand Relationships Amidst the Social Media Clutter
  • Where will this event be held? Art & Culture Hub at Hearst
  • When will this event be held? Thursday, February 10th from 9 AM to 11 AM
  • Who is hosting this event? MTV and TEXT 100
  • Look who’s talking: Moderator: Brenna Ehrlich (Mashable), Speakers: Chris Ficarra, SVP Integrated Marketing (Digital Music Ad Sales, MTV), Tara O’Donnell (Text 100) and Tom Fishman, Social Media Manager (MTV)
  • What’s this event all about? We all know a killer social media strategy and flawless execution can augment a business or personal brand. With social media channels constantly changing the marketing scene, we need to weed through influential tools, online communities and digital footprints to meet the needs of unreliable and unpredictable customers. But what’s driving your customers and influencers? How can you plan for and measure something that is viral by nature? And how do you stand out among the thousands of people who consider themselves “social media experts”?

Grab a coffee and find out what this panel has to say—and catch a glimpse of case studies from around the world that show true ROI! (Oh yea-and don’t forget to register!)

Joanna Firneno is a contributing writer to the Social Media Week blog and is an Associate Communications Manager at Deep Focus.