Archive for the ‘Innovation’ tag

TEAM EPIC’S DAY AT MIT MEDIA LAB

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Dentsu Aegis Network’s partnership with MIT Media Lab provides our network’s talent access and connections to some of the smartest minds in the media and technology world. Our people learn, get inspired and make connections through the Lab. This partnership helps our talent stay on top of what’s next so we can in turn help our clients do the same. Last week Eric Ginsberg and Caity Kauffman, our Digital Strategy colleagues from Team Epic, had the privilege of spending the day touring the Media Lab and applying these learnings to their roles.

So what exactly is the MIT Media Lab?

Actively promoting a unique, antidisciplinary culture, the MIT Media Lab goes beyond known boundaries and disciplines, encouraging the most unconventional mixing and matching of seemingly disparate research areas. It creates disruptive technologies that happen at the edges, pioneering such areas as wearable computing, tangible interfaces, and affective computing. Today, faculty members, research staff, and students at the Lab work in 24 research groups on more than 350 projects that range from digital approaches for treating neurological disorders, to advanced imaging technologies that can “see around a corner,” to the world’s first “smart” powered ankle-foot prosthesis. The Lab is committed to asking the questions not yet asked–questions whose answers could radically improve the way people live, learn, express themselves, work, and play.

Read more about Eric and Caity’s insights below….

Eric Ginsberg, Director, Digital Strategy:

We had an amazing opportunity to tour the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA. Overall, we were blown away by the level of innovation in such a wide variety of fields. One of the most impactful sessions was a meeting with Mike Bove, who heads up the ‘Object-Based Media’ lab. Mike holds an SBEE, an MS in visual studies, and a PhD in media technology, all from MIT.

The overview of this lab is as follows: Can the physical world be as connected, engaging and context-aware as the world of mobile apps? We make systems that explore how sensing, understanding and new interface technologies (particularly holography and other 3D and immersive displays) can change everyday life, the ways in which we communicate with one another, storytelling, play and entertainment.

As we think about the future of lifestyle marketing, the ‘Object-Based Media’ lab is a potential resource to help shape the future of how consumers interact with technology.

Caity Kauffman, Senior Manager, Digital Strategy:

The opportunity to visit MIT was amazing. What struck me most was how each individual lab had its own way of exploring and tinkering. Researchers didn’t always know what the end result was going to be or know how today’s development could impact tomorrow. Regardless of the lab, each person had a similar sentiment: sometimes their research fixes a problem they didn’t know existed.

At one of the labs, a researcher named Penny showed us a project where they were developing fabric that curled and shifted when it hit certain temperatures or precipitation. The entire purpose of this research was to simply experiment with ways to cause fabric to move and flex. Their team spent weeks, hours and months poking and prodding at triangle-shaped swatches of different types of fabric. Somewhere along the way, a major athleticwear company saw this as an opportunity to create a ventilated product that opens up when an athlete gets hot.

As someone who is always strategically thinking with a specific goal in mind, it was a unique opportunity for me to talk to thinkers who approach their work in an open-ended manner, and with the freedom to let their curiosity lead the way.

Thanks Dentsu Aegis Network for the opportunity!

–Contributed by Team Epic & MKTG Global Communications Team

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2015 Warby Parker Hackathon

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Insights by NYC Sales and Marketing Intern Emily Upson

 

What makes a successful Hackathon, you ask?

Had you asked me this a few weeks ago, I would have no idea. Frankly, I wasn’t completely confident in my definition of of a Hackathon. However, as an intern in the NY office of MKTG, I was able to work on my very first Hackathon, and it was awesome.

On July 18-19, MKTG INC produced a Hackathon for our client Warby Parker in partnership with the City of NY Office of Tech and Innovation at Civic Hall in the Flatiron District. The goal was to bring together 100 summer interns from companies in the area to spend a 24 hour period in lock down, solving a technology issue for three non-profits. Basically, a tech-for-good initiative.

As part of the core team, we worked for months for this to come off without a hitch. From venue selection to sponsorship procurement to donation outreach, collateral design, run-of-show, speaker training, intern recruitment, staffing and all the way through to production, it was a huge undertaking.

At kick off around 3pm on Saturday, July 18th, nearly 100 talented tech interns from the NYC area gathered for 24-hours to compete against each other for rewards that went far beyond bragging rights. Unlike my previous interpretation of a hackathon – cracking codes, breach firewalls – these interns used their tech skills and savvy to solve current issues faced by prominent NYC non-profits: Blue Ridge Labs, NYC Department of Homeless Services, and Donorschoose.org.

Although these interns were working tirelessly throughout the night, this isn’t to say they weren’t having fun, and they definitely weren’t going hungry. Participants could blow off steam by playing foosball or ping-pong, flying mini drones, and solving Rubik’s cubes, while consistent bouts of meals – a boatload (like hundreds and hundreds of tubs) of delicious Tribe Hummus of every variety, jars upon jars of candy, mountains of food, and of course #HudsonHack gear and toys kept them on their toes.

After hours of hard work, 24 to be exact, each team of 3-4 interns presented their final pitches to a panel of impressive judges including Minerva Tantoco, NYC’s Chief Technology Officer; Shelley Leibowitz, Board of Directors of E*TRADE and former CIO of Morgan Stanley and World Bank; and Alan Wade, Board of Trustees of The Aerospace Corporation and former CIO of the CIA.

The teams were judged on multiple aspects of their presented solutions, the most important factor being social innovation that solves an issue for the the greatest good. For example, one team developed an interactive map that showed where specific donations have the most impact, to an app that allows families to find safe educational events for their children during the summer break. In the end, the riseUP app won for incentivizing donations from diners and participating NYC restaurants to aid homeless shelters and kitchens in the area.

Overall, it was a ton of work but such an incredible experience.  And working with a brand like Warby Parker was so much fun. It’s an amazing company with a cool culture that I really enjoyed being part of. Thanks to MKTG for this great opportunity I always remember fondly. What a great summer this has been!

 

 

 

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3 Key Learnings from Digital Summit Atlanta 2015

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Digital Summit Atlanta, a gathering of some of the most forward thinkers in digital marketing, took place this week and I was proud to make it my 3rd time in attendance. Each year I have been able to discover new topics and discuss the next trends in digital marketing.

Overall, each year has followed its own theme as digital marketing as a whole evolves so quickly. In 2013, trends in how social media was changing for brands was explored in a lot of sessions. Last year it shifted to a major focus on content marketing and SEO. Now, at #DSUM15, the next stage in UX (User Experience) design seemed to be the key focus.

And with that, here are three key takeaways from the conference as it can relate to what we do in the experiential space…

1. Humanizing UX

Many of the sessions at Digital Summit really focused on UX as we were challenged to think of what was next in the field. For example, how do we run UX more lean and understand better, powered with ‘big data’, how to humanize someone’s digital experience. When we map out the consumer journey – remember that each user is an actual person with problems and needs.

When you look at bring a consumer through a brand experience for experiential this line of thinking makes a lot of sense, right? It is our expertise to bring brands to life in a way that they can interact with consumers as people and not anonymous IP addresses. However many activation designs we see in the field could do a better job from at the ideation stage to keep in mind that once launched, these are people with their own objectives who will walk through our ideas.

So when thinking through your consumer experience idea, map it out. Literally draw out each stage of the activation UX and use this tool to identify where the gaps are or more importantly, where it can be more streamlined.

2. Millennials are mobile-first…and are starting to earn a lot of money

When you hear the word “millennials” – how old of a person pops in your mind? Probably an early-20-something with new student debt maybe? Well consider that millennials are were born starting in 1980 and now are entering their mid-30s. Sure there is probably a healthy amount of debt still lingering – but this generation is now entering over a $Trillion in buying power and loves to spend.

So with all of this data we now have on the ‘Connected Generation’ – what have we learned about marketing to them? It’s a long answer but here are two quick tips from @annieg from StumbleUpon.

First, “6 is the new 60” – as in the 6” phone is more important than the 60” TV. Now that doesn’t mean the generation is consumer less video – in fact it’s more than ever. But reportedly 33% do not watch any broadcast TV.

Second, it seems obvious that millennials are connected to their mobile devices, sure, but how many experiences are being built mobile-first? When we consider social, if you stop to think why they are so effective with the connected generation it’s not just because they are social – but because the most popular experiences are mobile-first. Snapchat, Instagram, Vine…some of the most powerful platforms for the younger Millennials have excelled by being native to the 6” screen. So consider mobile-first experiences to connect and make an engagement that this group wants to use. After all, it is why the younger Millennials are now being known as Social Natives.

3. The Entrepreneur Wants to Solve a Problem

I heard a great line this year and it came during a keynote speaker Chris Brogan, whose content I highly recommend. To summarize:

Stop chasing innovation, which aims to just do something.

Be an entrepreneur, which aims to solve someone’s problem.

While this is absolutely a trap in creating the latest in digital experiences, it is also a trap in experiential marketing. Brands and agencies alike all want to innovate and create and truly great new things are activated in our space every year. But when coming up the ideas for the experience on the front end, don’t just try to chase an innovation for the sake of doing it. Instead, identify an audience’s problem and solve it. That is where the entrepreneurship mindset excels and where experiential marketing can truly make an in-person impact on someone.

If you are ever free in May, I highly recommend Digital Summit. This is only a small snipet of content from the 2-day conference. I still have to go through pages upon pages of notes but in the meantime, enjoy the learnings and feel free to find me @BradMEpstein if you want to go through my timeline where I shared some more real-time leanrings!

Bonus! PowerPoint is where data goes to die!

If you work with data (you should!) treat it as a living, breathing source. PowerPoint it becomes static and if 2015 taught me anything – is that static is kryptonite for the modern marketer. So learn new tools that keep you agile and keep your brand’s marketing velocity as fast as possible.

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