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The Startups That Will Redefine Marketing

The Startups That Will Redefine Marketing

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Digitas' Alex Jacobs, VP/Director, Social Marketing, discusses the nine startups that break down the silos between social, content and mobile to stand out in today's consumer tech ecosystem.
Digitas' Alex Jacobs, VP/Director, Social Marketing, discusses the nine startups that break down the silos between social, content and mobile to stand out in today's consumer tech ecosystem.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: DigitasLBiPerspectives on Jul 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Startups That will Redefine Marketing
A few years back
was all the rage. Then
mobile first
had its moment. Now
and the
brand aspublisher 
models are the "it" trends in brand marketing. Each of these has merit, and expertise in eachdiscipline is valuable. But none of these ideas live on their own. They're all different facets of the samegem.Social is just a behavior, a way that people share and communicate. And mobile without content is just ablank screen. Content flows through the system; it is created and distributed through social channels andultimately surfaces across a wide variety of devices and screens, increasingly mobile ones.Are the newest consumer and ad tech innovations social? Mobile? Content? It's becoming more difficultto neatly place the emerging products into these buckets.But one theme is consistent across each of these intertwined disciplines: speed. The pace at whichcontent is created, shared, and consumed is constantly increasing, with consumer creation andconsumption behavior usually outpacing a brand marketer's ability to keep up. And so with this lens, anew generation of startups rise in a self-perpetuating cycle that enable more seamless, rapiddevelopment and delivery of content, as well as solutions to organize, manage, and digest this ever-expanding and accelerating stream.Here are nine startups that break down the silos between social, content, and mobile to stand out intoday's cluttered consumer tech ecosystem. I've broken them down into four sections, by the mostprevalent trends and opportunities that I see emerging in our industry.
Collaborative Creation
VycloneandStringwireare taking on a serious challenge: enabling seamless, real-time collaborative
content creation. Both companies use cloud-based online interfaces to sync video coming from a varietyof devices to a seamless multi-camera narrative; they combine multiple perspectives to tell the wholestory of a shared moment. They're slick. They're simple. They're making sophisticated synchronizationtechnology invisible in the background while intuitive interfaces empower us to merge content into asingle awesome piece of reporting in real-time.Stringwire is more journalistic, with a network of verified, quality content creators baked into the coreproduct. These content creators can be mobilized to cover breaking events at any moment, anywhereacross the globe. Imagine what this means for law enforcement. If widely adopted, civilian eyewitnessreporting takes on an entirely new meaning. What if every single person with a smartphone virtuallybecame a security cam to capture every perspective of any event, criminal or otherwise, that happensaround the world, all in real-time? Omnipresent transparency. Forget PRISM. We're becoming our ownBig Brother. But in this case, transparency feels like a good thing.Vyclone, backed by concert powerhouse Live Nation, focuses more on unique entertainment experiencesby enabling attendees to work together and let the world in on the shared experience of live events -- aconcert, a sporting event, a wedding, anything. To date, those who watched live events online have hadtwo options: They could watch the "official" produced livestream or piece together clips and commentarybroadcast over the social airwaves. But the professional stream can't capture all the nuances of being inthe crowd, and fan clips are disparate fragments of the experience.Now Vyclone powers a whole new level of access, with a cohesive stream from the vantage point of anyone there in person. A recent partnership with Jason Mraz and Madison Square Gardenshowcased
the power of the tool, capturing the entire concert experience from the inside out. Expect more enhancedentertainment experiences like these to come.
New Content Media
Zeegais a new storytelling platform that empowers people to use various forms of media to easily weavetogether photos, videos, images, gifs, and music to create content. Think PowerPoint meets iMovie meetsPro Tools meets Tumblr meets Gifbin, built on a cloud-based web interface that enables users to createan entirely new medium of content. It's such a literal embodiment of mash-up culture that it transcendsparody and becomes something truly awe-inspiring. The end product hardly resembles any medium of content that we have seen to date, but somehow it still tells a cohesive story and churns out a captivatingviewing experience.And these stories are easy to make. Zeega recently showed off what the tool is capable of at aSan Francisco Museum of Modern Artevent. The event gathered content creators with real chops to put together a series of vignettes around themes of their choice. But as a novice, it's not that much moredifficult to take cultural references, personal and collective, and weave them into a narrative that both tellsa compelling story and is captivating in its novelty.
Free Market Content and The Influencer Economy
 YouTube is far from a startup, but it has paved the way for a new category of content creators who arebecoming a trend with momentum that cannot be ignored. The platform empowers content creators todevelop their own built-in audiences without any intermediary. But more so than the direct-to-consumerdelivery model, the paradigm shift to note here is the diversity of the type of content and "star" that isgaining traction. Whereas the creative industries have historically monetized actors and musicians, the YouTube star has blown the doors off what constitutes celebrity. Today some of the biggest names arereally just popular personalities, quite literally cashing in on social currency.One new social content startup to watch isPheed, which has recognized this trend and is creating aplatform for this new influencer economy. Creators have embraced a model of giving away content thatcan be ripped, shared, blogged, and tweeted to develop audience. Then, once the fan base is amassed,they then monetize that audience. Currently they build their fan bases on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, andso on, and then monetize off these platforms elsewhere, via touring, record sales, or in—the case of thenew creator—with brand subsidy.Pheed gives creators of any kind -- from photographers to comedians, musicians, or even just popularpersonalities—the ability to build audiences and monetize them right within that very platform. The betterthe content they give away, the more it is shared and the more their followerships grow. And onceaudience and demand has been built, creators can choose to put up a pay wall for specific releases (analbum, a single, a piece of photography, or even just a well-timed vlog post) and choose the price point.At the end of the day, free market principles apply: If the content is compelling enough and pricedproperly, people will pay for it. A new-age content marketplace, Pheed gives a new era of creators aplatform to build audiences and their careers.And for brands to get involved in this ecosystem, startups like Outrigger are forming products likeOpenSlatethat help identify up-and-comers in the creators space. Such solutions enable brands to tapinto their potential and find undervalued talent before they're "discovered." Along these lines, inpartnership with Outrigger, Digitas is now co-developing theEmerging Talent Trackerto help brandsidentify, engage, and partner with emerging talent on YouTube before they are discovered by themasses.

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