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A Visit to SxSw

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Last week, I made the trek to SxSw to take in all it had to offer and there was a lot. This innovative forward-thinking conference helps us rethink our reality and reimagine our future—opening our eyes to not just new tech but also how to rethink traditional advertising to fit into the world of today’s consumers and shoppers.

A few speakers challenged the notion of typical “advertising” by taking into account human needs, habits and desires. In the end, the message was to not focus on advertising, but to focus on a solution and let the solution advertise for you.

Example 1: Don’t advertise, create products that solve problems

Tokyo based ad agency (Hakuhodo i-studio) has transformed their business model for their clients (really the consumers). Changing the mindset of what ‘advertising’ is, they now ‘ferment’ ideas with a focus on user lifestyles and social issues, to create utility and products first – and advertise second. They call it P2B (Prototype to Business).

For example:

  • PROBLEM: Did you know the snowiest city on earth is in Japan? Massive amount of this city’s time goes into snow shoveling.
  • IDEA: Transition the burden of snow shoveling into entertainment, creating more value out of the required activity.
  • PRODUCT: IoT handle grip device, that can attach to any shovel, that weighs the snow in each scoop. It then calculates calories burned, shows total weight shoveled, creates goals, etc.
  • VALUE: Like Fitbit – it gamifies a task, allows you to challenge friends and neighbors, and creates a drive for what would normally be a mundane or ‘hard to find motivation’ type task. Don’t forget about the safety aspect of getting those sidewalks cleared faster!
  • RESULTS: Increased snow shoveling productivity in the city by 125%!

Example 2: Marketing for good, a new perspective on cause marketing

TBWA/Istanbul presented some examples of how to make ad money work harder. The change in approach being to flip priorities and primarily focus on human values to create social awareness and then let the brand benefit come through in the form of the good they are behind.

For example:

  • IKEA’s Adopt a Dog cause program put IKEA’s products aside and tapped into shoppers emotions about what a home really means and really needs. It’s not just furniture. With the message that every home should have a dog, IKEA supported animal shelters by using their showrooms as awareness drivers for adoptable pets.

These two examples showcase how innovative thinking can transform not just advertising but shoppers’ experiences with brands by not focusing on advertising but rather what value you offer (e.g. problem solving, social issues). As we advance into a more integrated and tech driven world, shoppers will expect brands to do more for them socially and emotionally but without all the advertising. Could these be ways to deliver that request?

Contributed by: Seth Reid, Integer Denver

Image Source: Huffington Post

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