Snapchat Instagram and Slack: Takeaways From DMEXCO 2019

The Two Things That Linked Snapchat, Instagram and Slack 

The three talks from three big names in the tech world Instagram, Snapchat, and Slack at DMEXCO 2019 in Cologne had a shared theme: taking something old and using it to make something completely new, creating a whole new world of connections in the process. Each of these talks also came with a surprise. 

Instagram Gets Help from The Backstreet Boys!

DMEXCO is attended predominantly by tech-savvy millennials and this is precisely what Instagram really honed in on with Ashley Yuki's talk: Instagram & The cultural Conversation. The talk opened with a picture of a teenage Ashley's bedroom - plastered with BackStreet Boys posters and the unnecessary admission, that she, Instagram's Management Director was an avid Backstreet Boys fan growing up. 

Using nostalgia to create engagement was a tactic evident throughout this years DMEXCO with Google's stall letting guests help themselves to a sweetshop filled with classic old style glass jars, and DenkWerk constructing an old video cassette rental shop for 90s obsessives on the tradeshow floor.

Digital marketers are trying to tap into the emotional connection that consumers have with their childhood and physical store locations. These are actual qualities that many SMBs still possess, perhaps the people queuing up for sweets from Google's fake sweetshop would visit the actual shop around the corner if they could find it online.

The lesson for SMBs: digital marketing channels provide companies with a chance to remind consumers of experiences and connections that they have forgotten how much they enjoy.

Social Media for Instilling Brand Values

The Instagram talk then moved onto focusing on the platform's ability to enhance presentations of a brand's core values. For example, businesses that are offering products supported by deeper values like fairtrade, environmental awareness, and artisan craftsmanship, can use social media platforms to highlight these values with engaging visual stories. Ashley pointed to Hamburg based designer JAN N JUNE as a great example of a brand who does this well.

The lesson for SMBs: when we give consumers a visible representation of the values our products stand for; we have a much better chance of getting consumers to understand and engage with them. 

Instagram's Surprise!

Instagram's surprise came at the end of the speech with the shaggy bearded face of Backstreet Boy Alexander James McLean greeting the audience via a video, followed by the bands most famous tune Backstreet's Back blaring out of the PA system. 

Using a 90's boy bands to get the point across may seem kitsch in some people's eyes, but the message was clear: social media is a powerful tool for telling stories and  engaging with our past and present selves, making it possible for a band, brand or product to engage directly with its target audience.

Snapchat Gets Augmented With Venom And Game of Thrones 

The best examples of strategies for building customer engagement in Snapchat's talk on The New Creative also took something that had already been created and put it to a whole new use, creating what Jeff Miller referred to as 'immersive storytelling".  Computer models of dragons from the hit TV series Game of Thrones were combined with augmented reality to make them appear in tourist locations around the world including the Eiffel tower and the Capitol Building.  This allowed people in New York to watch a giant dragon land on the Flatiron building and turn it to ice, which certainly proved to be a good way of promoting the show.

In Hollywood, Snapchat and Sony put existing graphic assets to good use with the Venom app helping to sell an extra million tickets for the Venom blockbuster in the process. Not all of the examples required Hollywood assets and big budgets. It cost just $20 for an American streaming company to make a successful short video in their own offices promoting basketball's March Madness.

The lesson for SMBs: we need to reconsider our existing assets. Through social media, our products spaces and previous videos may have a whole new potential for appeal. 

The surprise from Snapchat

The most interesting revelation from Snapchat was that their augmented reality filters are face veil/ niqab compatible. Snapchat revealed this when telling the story of their partnership with Glade in Saudi Arabia. 

Their selfie augmented reality lenses traditionally works by using full facial recognition. With a niqab this is not possible for obvious reasons; the Snapchat team managed to work around this and created an app which solely focuses on the expression of the user's eyes. The app uses this data to create written predictions of the user's dreams. It then gives them the power to write these dreams across an augmented reality vision of the sky!

Slack Began With A Gameover

From two social media platforms to a work platform that, in just a few years, has become indispensable to firms of all sizes from all over the world. 

Continuing the theme of transformation from old to new. Co-Founder of Slack, Cal Henderson explained how the platform grew out of a preexisting platform that was created for their own work-use within a now-debunked video games company.

After the gaming company didn't work out, the founders realized that whatever work they did next, they would never want to work without their tool. This tool became Slack 

Social Media Is Also Key to Slack

The owners of Slack have also embraced social media as a tool for engagement. They use it to continuously improve the product and to build a loyal following. Slack is quickly replacing email as the main means of communication within firms. The tool is especially popular with millennials, who Cal reminded the audience, now make up over 50% of the workforce. 

The Surprise from Slack

Slack's biggest surprise? That Co-founder and CTO of Slack, Cal Henderson thinks that users should not spend all day on Slack. He believes that the company's tools are great for helping us do our jobs but we should all have downtime. In fact, the tool has disconnect options for helping users to do this.

The lesson for SMBs: we should set our status to away from time to time to have quality time alone, with family, and friends. This will make our work fresher. After all, if we want to take something old and make it into something completely new, we need to give ourselves some time to remember.

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