Innovation Week Day 1: Brand Storytelling

By Richard Evans & Lauren Chandler

So OMD UK’s Innovation Week is finally here after weeks of anticipation; ahead of us are five days of energy, new thinking and featuring some of the smartest minds in global media and technology.

It all kicked off with a brief intro from Toby Gunton, our resident Head of Innovation who got everyone even more excited about the week to come.

We launched right in to the spirit of innovation when Sophie Hackford, Director of  Wired Consulting, took the stage and gave us an insight into the Silicon Valley lifestyle and the next big things in technology and innovation. She covered everything from self-driving cars to asteroid mining, and even roaming 3D printers (although, she admits, she has yet to think of a practical use for that last one).

Once Sophie had finished wowing us all, OMG Partner agency Drum then presented their view of the future for content and storytelling. They presented a great Q&A with an expert panel featuring Mike Soutar of Shortlist and The Apprentice fame, Tiffanie Darke from News UK, and Wayne Garvie from Sony Pictures. James Larman & Luke Southern brought to life the 5 I’s: Individual, Interactive, Immersive, Integrated and Immediate – the key things that brands need in order to produce successful content.

Speaking of successful content… YouTube then took the chair and treated us to a YouTube celebrity: Marcus Butler. He spoke about how he developed a 3m+ YouTube community that continues to grow, inspiring some great discussion amongst the audience and panel alike. Understanding your audience through analytics and having an obsessive approach to seeding your content came across as high on all the panel’s list of opinions. Brands also need to radically change their thinking when dealing with the “stars” of these new platforms; the rules have changed! The panel made it really clear that for brands to trust these creators is the most important thing – so just handing over a script for talent to recite or flashing up a product is not the route to success!

For our lunchtime session Scoopshot’s founder Petri Rahja travelled from Finland to talk about the new democratic wave of photo sharing. With the public capturing raw content from the street, and brands looking for easy-to-access and relevant content, Scoopshot bridges the gap between a prolific set of content-sharers and a market hungry for great images. It was amazing to see the lengths that people will go to in order to capture the perfect photo for a SS task!

How could you have a brand storytelling day without Facebook? In the afternoon we were all privileged to have 30 minutes with Philip Su, Head of Engineering at Facebook UK. Philip gave us a great understanding of how Facebook’s innovative culture is set up, with the concept of failing fast established in order to keep improving and producing something great. Philip also gave us an insight into the ways that Facebook differs from the older digital monoliths and how the difference between success and failure can be marginal – reinforcing the importance of testing and trying, and constantly fine-tuning.

Unruly and Buzzfeed both gave their perspectives on how content finds its audience. Both drew very similar conclusions, but Unruly took a more data-drive approach which they demonstrated visually as the periodic table of ShareRank elements. Buzzfeed’s Creative Director Philly Byrne talked more generally, covering the general principles that content must adhere to in order to be considered shareable.

A fantastic start to the inaugural OMD UK Innovation Week, we can’t wait to see the rest of the line-up!



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