Event Recap: PSFK Conference 2015

Last Friday we attended the annual PSFK conference in New York City to observe new trends in digital design and user behavior. Here are the key takeaways:

Better Living Through Big Data
The theme for this year’s conference was “Live, Work, Play Better”, and various panels acknowledged the importance of utilizing big data to come up with more user-centric “human” designs. Dennis Mortensen, founder and CEO of x.ia, explained how his artificially intelligent personal assistant, Amy, emulates the ideal human-like experience by scheduling meetings through e-mail.  With the rise of mobile and IoT devices, data is creating connections not only to our own personal devices, but to one another. As Marcela Sapone, CEO at Alfred, noted, through the power of big data, there is an “overarching cultural acceptance of collaborating and sharing more”.

Digital Design Puts Mobile First
According to Manoush Zomorodi, on average people check their phones around 60 times a day, clocking in at over 2 hours a day. As mobile usage continues to rise, digital designers are starting to put mobile first when it comes to creating user experiences. For instance, boutique hotel CitizenM provides its “Mobile Citizens” with a “mood pad” tablet to control everything from lighting, to room temperature, and even infotainment system in each room. Also putting mobile front and center is Toca Boca, a design studio that makes digital apps for the “mobile-native” kids.

Shared Economy Impacts Design
Another ongoing trend reflected in the design community is the rapid expansion of the shared economy. NeueHouse, for example, is an ambitious startup that aims to become the “Airbnb for the creatives”  by creating shared office spaces designed to cultivate hospitality and design culture.  Similarly, Tactivate is working on creating shared workspace for veterans, furnished with innovative office furniture designed for mobility and collaboration. The aforementioned CitizenM is also pushing for shared office and living space in its hotel design.

Uniting Fashion And Tech With Design
We have long observed the ongoing convergence of fashion and technology, and the design community has seemed to realize its vital role in uniting the two forces as well. Manufacture NY, led by Amanda Parkes, is building a next-gen innovation center—a tech-forward fashion incubator that feels like a design studio— that aims to fuse the language and process of fashion and tech with design.

Image courtesy of PSFK

Event Recap: Ad Age Digital Conference 2015, Day One

Top industry reporters and some of the biggest brand, technology, and media leaders—including the IPG Media Lab!— gathered for the annual Ad Age Digital Conference to discuss what the “post-digital” world means for advertisers. Some of the key takeaways from Day One included:

Time As The New Metric
According to an AdAge survey, over 80% of the industry is concerned about viewability, which was addressed head-on during the very first two panels. Rather than worry about pixel counting or frequency of exposure, time spent in front of an ad is emerging as the crucial metric. While CPMs have an unlimited inventory, there are only so many hours in a day, which limits inventory. This allows prices to rise, which is particularly exciting to quality-based publishers who have higher levels of engagement. As Lisa Valentino from Conde Nast pointed out, “The more value you can show, the more it should impact your pricing.”

Leverage Fan Engagement Into Story-Making
Authentic marketing requires a “relentless customer-centricity”, as Tressie Lieberman from Taco Bell called it. Tapping into the creativity of their fanbases, leading brands are shifting away from traditional storytelling models to a “story-making” approach, where they actively co-create engaging brand communications.

Brands Sneaking Into The Private Messaging Space
As Ben Huh, CEO of The Cheezburger Network, noted, brands have mostly been locked out of most chat apps—an ecosystem that today’s Millennials spent most of their time in. But with more and more messaging apps expanding into media platforms, brands now have a chance to enter that coveted space without being intrusive, as long as they adopt a “friend and explorer” mentality. In order to do so, Tami Bhaumik from Lyve recommended brands to serve content at the right time by taking the customer’s stage in the sales funnel into consideration.

4 P’s, 4 C’s
Customers have more choices than ever in terms of brands, content, and access: it’s estimated that by 2020, people will use 10 connected devices. As a result, the traditional 4 P’s of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion—have been replaced with a modified framework, the 4 C’s: choice, convenience, cross-device, and creative sequencing. 

Check back tomorrow for continuing coverage from the Ad Age Digital Conference.


SXSW 2013 Has No Early Darlings

The rapid growth of South by Southwest’s Interactive portion is raising concerns over the event’s ability to effectively launch new tech startups.  28,000 attendees are expected at this year’s portion, a jump of 9,000 people from just two years ago.  The festival has formed a tradition over the last five years of providing promising startups with a large-scale launch platform, and the model worked for current mainstream hits Twitter and Foursquare.  With no early favorite emerging before the festival, concerns have been raised that the sheer scale of the festival may prevent any single entity from emerging as a fast favorite, taking away much of the saturation effect that launched favorites in previous years.  Of course, we’ll only know what emerges next week as SXSW runs its course for 2013.