Knowledge Fosters Authority
In the midst of what is arguably the most interesting presidential campaign in American history, we heard from New York Times Magazine journalists, Emily Bazelon and Jake Silverstein, who discussed how leadership is being redefined this campaign season. Throughout history, the American public has generally accepted that presidential candidates say factual statements and their word can be trusted when addressing the smallest and largest public issues. However, both 2016 candidates have proven these assumptions to be untrue, making the media stand as a larger authority than ever before.
This authority shift to media is a result of what Bazleon and Silverstein referred to as the “Democratization of Sources.” They explained that there is an oversaturation of information and opinions, yet no gatekeeper for what is true. This new landscape has caused candidates to stray from usual campaign tactics and for voters to press for answers on every possible opinion.
Despite the positional and personal power both Trump and Clinton possess, voters have looked to the media as the ultimate authority and jurisdiction in this campaign. This role for the media was born of its collective knowledge regarding the current state of the United States, the history of each of the candidates and their ability to serve up well-researched and sometimes unbiased facts. Understanding their position of power, journalists are using tactics to debunk some of the candidate’s falsities and exaggerating tendencies. Bazelon used the example of Megyn Kelly’s debate strategy in which she pressed Trump immediately to respond to his false statements by playing recordings of his own statements and CNN’s on-air annotations to Trump’s speeches with facts. These “risky” or “edgy” tactics have also been driving the media into an even more respected leadership position this election. Voters are finding trust in the media during this election and establishing themselves as the primary authority because as Bazleon declared, “we live in a world where in which we think the marketplace of ideas is paramount” and that is exactly what the media is currently providing for the American public.
Knowledge Inspires Creativity
On a lighter note, the audience of brand executives also heard from marketing experts like Jason Levine, VP of North America Biscuits at Mondelez International and Stacy Minero, Director of Content Planning & Creative Agencies at Twitter who taught us that knowledge inspires creativity. Levine spoke of Oreo’s Wonderfilled Campaign. A campaign inspired by audience insights that revealed consumers wanted to do more than just taste Oreo flavors, but to they wanted to experience Oreo flavors. So, when Oreo announced their Choco Chip Cookie flavor they connected the flavor to the feeling of childhood wonderment and home with an experiential pop-up Wonder Vault in Los Angeles.
Similarly, Minero spoke to how Bose designed participation with their Super Bowl campaign, Fan Tracks. Having the knowledge that personalized content releases dopamine within a person, Bose promoted their new line of headphones by transforming fan tweets into customized pieces of content. Though Bose only created about a dozen pieces of customized content, the possibility of getting a personalized video designed campaign participation and in turn drove awareness and engagement. Overall, the more data and insights marketers have on their target audience, the better informed their strategy can be to inspire relevant and effective creativity.
Knowing Drives Results
Lastly, Vikram Somaya, SVP Global Data Officer at ESPN discussed the emotional side of data found in ESPN’s HEART engine, a tool that helps the publisher speak to users in real-time with messages that matter. HEART allows ESPN to understand emotional decision making by aggregating team and game data, present and historical geo-location data, interest data, biological data, and data on the level of anticipation fans have while viewing a game. Organizing this data and segmenting it into various different audiences, allows ESPN to understand more about that specific audience’s reaction and the kind of marketing message that would be the most effective in that moment.
After thousands of data segmentations and algorithms, ESPN found that their methodology for ad placement works. Leveraging moments that matter in sports, either positive or negative motivates people to react to the messages served. Reactions include clicking, buying, or engaging—all reactions advertisers are vying for daily. More specifically, ESPN found that if you talk to people during a positive game time moment, they are 29% more likely to go through the full conversion funnel. As apparent in this statistic, the analyzed data ESPN has on their digital audience is directly impacting the return on investment for their advertisers.
Overall, Vikram Somaya summed up “Content Knowledge” perfectly, “Data is like water. It surrounds us, it is incredibly hard to use all of it without a whole lot of processing, and most of us can’t survive a day without it.” When we leverage this “data” or in other words content power, marketers are empowered to lead, innovate, and learn.