Balancing old and new at Advertising Week

The recent Advertising Week conference (now in its 12th year in New York) didn’t disappoint in providing a wealth of thought-provoking discussions about the media, brands, tactics and technologies that make the advertising realm such a fascinating place. What’s particularly interesting about this conference is the talk about the “latest and greatest” - technology, trends, innovations, fresh ideas. At the same time, we couldn’t help but notice some “classic” themes of marketing coming up again and again. It’s clear that behind the new technologies and the digital revolution are some very tried-and-true marketing principles.

Here are a few programs where the theme of balancing old and new came into play: 

“The On Demand and Podcast Revolution: Building Passionate Audiences and Great Resonance for Brands”
How is it that amidst the Orange is the New Blacks, the Empires and the over-the-top Game of Thrones, millions of Americans are equally enthralled with the gentle, erudite voices of NPR’s This American Life, the highbrow topics of TED Radio Hour, or the nerdy tech talk of Marketplace? And in the era of the 140 character tweet, why are they downloading 60+ minutes of discourse? The answer is as old as they come—great storytelling in an intimate medium. But the ability to download these stories whenever and where ever it’s convenient, and the instant gratification of binge-listening is decidedly new.  Also with the new scale that podcasts are achieving—over 8 million downloads per episode for NPR’s Serial—brands would be remiss NOT to think about how they could harness the passion for podcasts in their multi-channel strategies.  And all of us would be remiss NOT to recognize the power of a great story, simply told. 

“Programmatic 3.0 The Data Awakens”
In the world of programmatic, you’d almost think it wouldn’t be possible to have a balance between old and new—isn’t it all about new and new in this dynamic field? Yet one of the conversation threads in the Programmatic 3.0 panel had a refreshingly retro feel to it. Now that programmatic is coming of age and getting beyond being just about buying scale, optimizing for efficiency, and getting quality reach, it seems it’s time to get back to talking about the creative. The question now is: How do you create customized creative that really has resonance and emotional impact with the consumer? The better the data behind the content, the more potential there is for this. The key is using the data to develop the insight that drives the creative. So the data we have access to may be new, but the need for the insight behind the creative is decidedly old school.
“CEO Connectors”
These days we often see that non-traditional brand building is helping brands to stand out - when brands seem to “go rogue” and do the unexpected, they get noticed. But despite the new and non-traditional, great connections are still driven by powerful creative based on an authentic brand or idea. Consumers are smarter and more aware than ever before. They can sniff out artificiality, and they certainly won’t share or socialize ideas or brands that don’t ring true. So while we as digital marketers need to master the new, we must also not forget that authenticity is critical if we want our message to scale in the social world.

It’s clear from listening to these Advertising Week conversations, that marketers need to be aware of the latest and greatest in media and technology. But equally important is an awareness that storytelling, consumer-driven insights, and authenticity are the foundation upon which good marketing is built. Check out Brand Learning's 4S Marketers Model for more key principles and skills that drive great marketing.

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