Last night’s keynote dinner at Digital Hollywood (http://digitalhollywood.com/LAFall07Agenda.html), Web 2.0: Technology with a Human Dimension was an impactful discussion on online brand marketing-specifically in consumer engagement.
It got lively as HBO SVP Steve Pamon sparred with the rest of the panel. The debate pitted his view, the digital space as a stand alone distribution platform against the rest of the group’s stance, recognizing that the brand needs to reach the audience wherever the consumer wants to watch it. Nada Stirratt, MTV’s executive vice president of digital advertising, summed it up nicely by saying MTV wants to let the consumer interact with the brand on whatever platform they are using, e.g., T.V., broadband, mobile.
Dwight Caines, Columbia Tristar Marketing Group’s executive vice president for worldwide digital marketing, hosted and emceed the discussion. Right out of the gate he stated the most profitable customer that he reaches is tech savvy. Matt Cohler, Facebook’s vice president of strategy & operations, discussed how these consumers now have the distribution network for sharing information and content with friends more effectively than ever before. When consumers share the content, then that content is deemed good by that sphere of friends and is then watched. Most of the content being shared is professional but if it is UGC, then it is accepted.
When it came to advertising, there was agreement that advertising needs to be relevant to the content environment and ideally would be viewed as additional programming versus an ad. Aaron Earls, co-founder of New Media Strategies, said that the consumer needs to find value in both the content and the advertising and if you can deliver that combination, consumers will engage with your brand online.
From the reaction of the 240 people in attendance both during and at the conclusion of the discussion, the panel’s viewpoints were well received.