...Now imagine asking them what it means to be human, where the future of tech is going to take brands, and what one innovation they’d desperately wish for.
What you have ahead of you is an hour of such intensely mind-stimulating conversation that even a hoard of micro-pigs wandering around won’t be enough to drag you away. The key takeaway for brands is the knowledge that audiences today trust no one.
Apparently a very real conversation with a brand can include the sentence: "How can we make this seem really authentic?" This perception that consumers can be tricked needs to stop.
From the NME publishing a Microsoft-sponsored listicle without clarifying they’d been paid for it to McDonalds capitalising on the Christmas spirit to create emotional videos which have nothing to do with their food, companies need to realise that users are becoming savvier about this type of advertising.
‘Native’ is the inevitable buzzword that everyone would rather not utter, but all it really means is that users will interact with content without it being interruptive. Companies like Paddy Power notoriously harness the power of Twitter to create engaging content that they become known for.
But it’s important to remember that "it’s better to be bought than liked". The Go Compare opera singer TV ad was almost unanimously hated, yet increased their user base by over 400%. This mentality can be easily translated to digital marketing.
So what’s the next step in innovation and how will it affect interaction with brands? Improving targeting is key: the dream for journalists and brands alike is to be able to serve the perfect content to the perfect user at the perfect time, in exactly the right space, but we mustn’t overestimate the importance of data in order to achieve this.
VICE content doesn’t do well because its journalists are glued to analytics, but because they are genuinely cool people. That’s intrinsic to humanity and crucial to reach users in a valuable way.