Digital trends from Webstock conference, Bucharest, September 29th, 2017
Webstock is the biggest social media event in Romania and has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. It brings together the online addicts community and sets up the stage for the latest digital trends.
Back in 2010, it was the first time that I was a speaker for Webstock. By that time, the audience was more tech than social, more men than women, more developers than bloggers. I had to deliver a presentation about a new online community developed by Avon, with the constant obsessive question from everybody: why do you need an Avon Facebook when you have Facebook?
Morever, the organizers had the brilliant idea to have an insta twitter wall for the first time, so every speaker could read in real time how boring they were, according to the live tweets. Thanks to my auto-irony and cliche fighting, my instawall was fine. Engineers gave me their blessings:)
Fast forward to 2017, I was an attendee and a moderator for the Digital Trends panel.
The Digital Trends panel had three speakers:
- Mugur Patrascu, Managing Partner, Screen Native
- Florin Boldescu, Digital Banking Manager, Raiffeisen Bank Romania
- Claudia Chirilescu, General Manager Spoon Media
Each of the speakers presented 3 trends, therefore, with simple mathematics we get to 9 (!).
1. Character versus Trends
Imagine Las Vegas. When you get there and you walk on the Strip Boulevard, your attention is highly distracted by everything, from one hotel to another, from Caesar’s to Paris, from The Venetian to New York. We can speak about the same distraction when it comes to social media and Mugur called it “weapons of brand distruction”. The brands who will succeed in getting Customers attention will be those able to simplify their social media portfolio and therefore more FOCUSED. Think of your brand superpower and try to communicate it on 3 most relevant social networks.
2. Back to Brand
Everybody is investing in performance marketing, but the speed of saturation is pretty high. Many see the downside effect of high investments in PPC. Performance is not the answer, we first have to have an identity and only after think of performance. While Google and Facebook will grow thanks to your performance investments, your brand will slightly erode, cause your competition will copy-paste same algorithms. So, go back to you brand and what it stands for. A little bit of creativity will help.
3. From “touch & go” to “touch & follow”
“Touch & go” is an aviation term for taking off. You touch the ground and then you take off. This is what media is doing. There is a huge segmentation effort behind, but your potential customers are travellers who want you to be their journey partners. Try to know more about how they are getting to your brand, not how you are converting them into your customers.
4. Bundling versus Unbundling
Currently, Raiffeisen mobile customers contribution is arround 35%. There are only 10% dual customers (online and mobile). Based on Seth Godin’s famous quote “do not find customers for your products, find products for your customers”, there is a new approach on unbundling financial services. Bundling is the practice of packaging multiple banking services into a single product offering. Consumer, competitive and regulatory pressures are encouraging banks to unbundle. It is a sort of banking way of translating trend number 1 from Mugur:)
5. Menu vs Account Centric
If you start with the customer experience, then Raiffeisen’s approach is to start with the Customer’s account. This is how the fresh upgrade mobile app will work.
Going deeper with trend number 5, it is important to check the following questions (and mostly the answers to them):
- what? operational analythics you can see from your customer
- why? behavioural analythics you can track from your customer
- how? personalized financial advice you can offer based on the operational and behavioural analythics
Meniga is a software company founded in Reykjavik, Iceland in the year 2009 and is a global leader in digital banking solutions. Its software is used by some of the largest banks in Europe, enabling the world's largest financial institutions to dramatically improve their online & mobile digital environment, enriching the user experience of over 50 million digital banking users acoss 20 countries.
I asked Florin if IBM Watson is coming to Romania. Say welcome to it, cause it is pretty close:)
7. AI and chatbots
We may say that in this part of Europe we are still far away from artifical intelligence, cause we have our natural one;) But AI is coming. Amazon Echo is one of the best sold items in Black Friday. Google Home is following, Siri gets better and better for news reading and brands are showing great examples of AI & social media integration.
Examples to prove:
- HBO Young Pope new series launch: Helped by IBM’s Watson, the Pope’s Bot trolled people with bible verses. To draw more audiences to the new series about Pius, French network Canal+ launched “AiMEM”, short for “Papal Artifical Intelligence”. 1 million online comments were tracked with the help of IBM Watson.
- Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara launch: The first luxury brand to personalise on Pinterest, Burberry marked the launch of its new Cat Lashes mascara. Using AI, Burberry has partnered with Pinterest to allow customers to create personalised make-up boards on the social network.
- Chat Yourself, AI&Chatbot in Facebook Messenger for Alzheimer patients: An experimential project that wants to be an aid for people suffering from the first stages of cognitive disordering, such as Alzheimer’s, this is an automatic response chat that memorizes the informations of a patient and gives them back through chat when needed. Goose bumps…
8. Creativity with data
We have tons of data, but still we do not have the skills to use it properly. The better we get at intepreting data and using it creatively in communication, the more interesting campaigns we will have. And more engaged customers, of course.
- Spotify campaign “Thanks 2016, it’s been weird”: Based on usage data, they launched a personalized global outddor campaign. A UK billboard read: “"Dear 3,749 people who streamed 'It's The End Of The World As We Know It' the day of the Brexit Vote. Hang in There.”
9. The brand as an experience
Nothing new, but the way some brands know how to explore it in 2017 will make a big difference.
- TommyLand: Tommy Hilfiger new collection launch in February 2017 in Venice beach was a miniature Coachella festival. It was not a fashion show, it was a geographical location and all details were thought of with a festival approach, including the collection and the Fergie live concert. Moreover, it was again a “see now, buy now” campaign, meaning that you could buy instantly from the runaway.
- Lufthansa Flying Lab: A passenger experience in the skies might be: onboard conferences, newest product testing and language lessons. No more wasted time:)
For all those interested in trends, please visit
and ask for a tree trial to convince yourself that it is worth the subscription. A premium consists of a yearly mega-trends report across industries, quarterly and monthly updates. Very useful, very well documented and visually attractive.