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Friday
Mar142014

DigitasLBi Reveals Snowden Gave Top Talk at SXSW Interactive, with 55,082 Social Media Mentions

Couldn’t make it to SXSW? No worries—we’ve got you covered. For the second consecutive year, DigitasLBi collaborated with the organizers of SXSW Interactive to collect and analyze data from social networks including Twitter, Facebook, and FourSquare to reveal the top talks, tweets, trends and startups of this year’s Festival. The results were unveiled in “The Story of SXSWi 2014: Eye of the Beholder”, a session presented on Tuesday by our very own Jesse Suchmann, Vice President, Creative Director, DigitasLBi.

Whereas last year tech and science themes like 3D printing and space exploration dominated SWSWi, this year politics, surveillance and online privacy took center stage. In a departure from its usual upbeat outlook, the 2014 Festival took on a serious tone, with many sessions focusing on the downside of social media growth and examining the implications of what moving to a world of digitized information means. Check out our press release for the top takeaways and the stats you need to know, and read the rest of our SXSW coverage here.

Wednesday
Mar122014

SXSW: TV Storytelling Adapted For Twitter

This past week, DigitasLBi was on the ground at SXSW! We live-tweeted, snapped photos, and recapped sessions: follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr for more insights.

There’s no argument that Twitter has changed the way we watch, and talk about, television. At “TV Storytelling Adapted for Twitter,” Fred Graves, Twitter’s Head of TV, and Lincoln Lopez, VP of Social Media Strategy for TNT and TBS, explored how the platform has allowed shows to tell a deeper, more engaging story beyond the traditional one-way format of TV.

Last year, the two partnered to use Twitter to release the season premiere of Mob City, days before the episode aired. Each line of the show was carefully adapted for Twitter in the same voice and style of the series, keeping people tuned to the account for days. Only the final details were withheld, ensuring that fans still came back to TV to watch how the story unfolded.

So what makes Twitter such a great place for storytelling, and what are the best ways to make that happen? According to Graver and Lopez, it's all about:

Innovation. Consider new and unique ways that you can extend your message, and don't be afraid to fail, learn, and adapt. When Lopez wanted to engage fans around the second season of TNT’s Falling Skies, he pulled together a team of round-the-clock creatives to draw Twitter followers into scenes from the show, tweeting the images out to fans as a reward for engaging the show on Twitter. Fans were delighted to be recognized in such a way—but he quickly learned that the effort wasn't worth the pay-off, so TNT began to look for new, more efficient ways to honor fans.

Ownership. Allow fans to have ownership in the brand. Lopez has used Twitter to host polls, ask fans about characters, and make them feel as if they had control in a show's outcome.

Dialogue. When brands commit to social, they're committing to a two-way dialogue with their fans. If they’re only broadcasting one-way announcements, then they’re not using the platform correctly. And that breaks the trust of their most loyal fans. Lopez keeps this commitment when developing every tweet and social campaign.

Value. Give followers something they can't get from your brand anywhere else. For Lopez, that means behind-the-scenes cuts, access to characters, and insider information about shows.

All that said, to wrap the panel, the duo acknowledged that even with all of the successes they've seen with Twitter, it's still only a small part of many brands’ overall marketing plans—and budgets. Lopez reluctantly acknowledged that less than 10% of their budget was dedicated to social promotions.
Whether or not that will increase remains to be seen—but nonetheless, it’s become a powerful platform for TV.

Written by Cristin Jordan, Account Director, Social Content

Wednesday
Mar122014

SXSW: Conversation as the New Currency: Breaking Though the Noise in a World of Over-Sharing 

This past week, DigitasLBi was on the ground at SXSW! We live-tweeted, snapped photos, and recapped sessions: follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr for more insights.

Because of social media, conversation is the new currency. And today, the question that every brand seeks to answer is how they can better engage their customers with relevant content—to connect with them in a meaningful way. On Monday, DigitasLBi’s Anne-Marie Kline, SVP of Social Content / Managing Director of BrandLIVE, joined a panel of leading digital marketers and analysts featuring Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, Coca-Cola’s Ashley Brown, Hyatt’s Dan Moriarty, and Spredfast CMO Jim Rudden, to answer that question and more.

Here were some of the key insights and takeaways:

Social is a behavior, not a channel. As explained by Kline, today all channels are social. Social should always be part of the brief—it’s not an afterthought or an add-on to an existing campaign.  And as Rudden put it, social is at its best when it’s being used to connect and engage with people; when it’s being used solely as a broadcast medium, that’s when it’s at its worst.

For example, Hyatt treats tweets at its hotels as if it were someone stopping by the concierge desk in person—Moriarty explained that they try to reply to as many people as possible. While many assume that guests always just want hotel upgrades or free perks, the fact is that often they just want to be heard, and engaged with. In addition, as companies become more humanized, customers expect them to adapt and have more human core values as a company. They expect them to take vocal stands on social media - a very human quality. 

Shared value is a must.  Brown explored how important it is for brands to be honest with themselves. Let’s face it—people don’t want to hear from certain brands every day. Marketers must ask themselves—what is the useful information that our brand can provide? At Coca-Cola, they focus on Purposeful Edutainment. For them, clever has become useful because it makes people laugh—that’s the shared value that they bring to their audience.

The right infrastructure ensures success.
As Brown put it, publishing great content every day requires a muscle that not all marketers have right now.  The growing prominence of real-time marketing has made that very clear. Kline further dove into the importance of having the right team and processes ready in advance. While certain initiatives and opportunities might happen rapidly in the moment, you need to have a solid social infrastructure already in place where you can turn on a dime with real-time marketing.

And it doesn’t need to be limited to just social. Real-time marketing may have started on social platforms, but it’s expanding to other digital platforms as well, such as digital-out-of-home and display. In 2014, it'll get even bigger and better.

Written by Landon Nguyen, Social Content, and Julie Gomstyn, Corporate Communications

Tuesday
Mar112014

SXSW: Social Customer Experience Management

DigitasLBi is on the ground at SXSW! We'll be live-tweeting, snapping photos, and recapping sessions for the next few days: follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr for more insights. Plus check out our own speakers and sessions here.

On Monday morning, Dave Evans, best-selling author and VP of Social Strategy at social software company Lithium, explored how companies can build brand advocacy among consumers with a cohesive customer service model that delivers a consistent experience.

Evans is a firm believer that businesses should encourage customers to engage them in social conversation—but that they must plan in advance and invest in the right tactics to make as much of that chatter as possible about positive encounters. While it takes money to fill the purchase funnel, positive experiences spur beneficial conversations—and sometimes it's the little, personal things that matter most.

Here’s an example: at Austin’s Progress Coffee, customers are given a timer with their self-serve French press so the coffee is extracted at exactly the right moment for optimal flavor. It’s a small detail, he pointed out, but one that ensures a delicious cup of coffee—and hopefully, more satisfied customers who will be encouraged by the extra effort to recount their experience on social media.

Evans also pointed out that all departments within a company should be unified in messaging and strategy to present a cohesive experience. And that all employees should be empowered to support the broader strategy with individual contributions. Regardless of a company’s size, it’s essential to improve the social customer experience as a way to build brand advocacy and ultimately drive sales.

Written by Rachel Barbarotta, Social Media Manager, DigitasLBi

Tuesday
Mar112014

SXSW: Interaction Design for a Post-Screen World

DigitasLBi is on the ground at SXSW! We'll be live-tweeting, snapping photos, and recapping sessions for the next few days: follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr for more insights. Plus check out our own speakers and sessions here.

During “Interactive Design for a Post-Screen World,” Cliff Kuang, senior editor at WIRED, stated that our definition of user experience is often dangerously limited.  He highlighted a truism that is becoming more and more evident: user experience is about achieving simplicity through the reduction of system complexity.  It’s not merely about creating a seamless responsive design – instead, it’s about the seamlessness by which your phone talks to your TV; your TV talks to your tablet; your watch talks to your phone; they all talk to each other – and, ultimately, how they understand how to talk to you at any given moment.

“Experience is not the product itself, but what surrounds it,” Kuang said. “We have to stop thinking of devices as islands.”

Any UX designer can propose a simple and responsive mobile interface.  But its simplicity and responsive design is meaningless if the connecting tissue between that mobile device and other devices- and, most importantly, you – is non-existent or fragmented.

It’s about context of use, not isolated screens and devices. The intent of a smart watch, for instance, isn’t to do all the things a phone can do – it’s to keep your phone in your pocket. 

What’s the inspirational takeaway? We need to develop systems that learn from each other, based on what they already know about us.  We need qualitative input from ethnographers and user researchers so we have observational data to make truly smart devices that know the detailed needs of users.  We need mass specificity, not mass customization.  We need to rethink what responsive design is, from smart watches to absurdly large screens.  

We need to expand the definition of user experience. 

Written by Chris Bransfield, Lead Experience Designer, DigitasLBi