With new technologies emerging almost daily, how do brands know what hardware to invest in and which new platforms to build? If Facebook’s algorithms are suppressing branded content, and Twitter looks set to follow, how do brands remain relevant on social?

As part of our 2015 season of Lunch and Learns, Tim Partridge and Tom Pursey from Flying Object shared their insights.

Technology and the web offer up huge opportunities for marketers and are far more than merely new ways of interrupting media consumption with advertising messages. But as new behaviours emerge at pace on these platforms, it’s easy for brands to find themselves playing catch-up, and investing in areas that won’t pay back.

So, how do brands remain relevant in 2015? Some thoughts we took away:

  • Creative freedom is key but watch out for regulators:YouTube creators are a huge opportunity for brands, especially those targeting younger people. There’s no silver bullet, yet, on ways of working with the creators – that’s still evolving. But we do know that being open and allowing creative freedom is essential, so is paying strict attention to the creators’ audience. Asda’s Mum’s Eye View channel, for example, seems targeted to a mum demographic, but some videos feature stars like Tanya Burr and Alfie Deyes, whose viewing demographic is a lot younger. Sticking within ASA’s regulations is crucial too. The ASA recently tripped up Oreo. Having hired YouTube creators Dan & Phil to make an “Oreo Lick Race” video, the brand was chastised by the regulator for not making its commercial intent clear enough. The result? The video had to be edited and uploaded.
  • Content is king:Brands that truly commit to content – for example DC Shoes, who create consistent content about skateboarding, snowboarding and other sports – are building large, passionate audiences. Today, DC has almost a million YouTube subscribers. Effective content involves time, investment, and careful audience building. Just look at Red Bull.
  • AI is a game changer:Platforms bringing together technologies to simulate artificial intelligence – think Siri, Google Voice Search – will become increasingly available as powerful computing becomes more accessible. Among many things, this raises fundamental questions for brands and new product development. For instance, do customers want a self-driving car without a steering wheel, or a regular car that happens to be able to perform driving actions on the road to keep you safe? The difference between the two is shrinking fast, but they point to divergent beliefs around customer need. New technologies big data, and automated systems for customer service, are going to make us all have to think about those evolving needs.

Our thanks to Tom and Tim for sharing their experience and stretching our minds on some of the important issues impacting brands today!