ad:tech: Illuminating the future

12 Dec, 2018
Duncan Shand, Sommer Kapitan and Jessica Vredenburg
The prosocial behaviour & brand efforts panel: Duncan Shand, Sommer Kapitan and Jessica Vrendenburg

ad:tech is the original industry authority for marketing and media technology, where marketing, technology and media communities assemble to share new ways of thinking, build strong partnerships, and define new strategies to compete in an ever-changing marketplace.

This year, ad:tech, sponsored in part by the AUT Business School, was held on 15 November. The theme: Lighting up the next room. Inspired by the diversity of thinking that encourages game changers, where technology and ideas crash, ad:tech looked to illuminate the future, find out what’s next and inform how we attract, communicate with, and add value to customers’ experiences.

As part of our partnership, 60 students and five BEL Faculty staff received complimentary tickets to attend the conference.

Sommer Kapitan (Senior Lecturer – Marketing), who was one of the driving forces behind organising ad:tech at AUT said, “As an academic, ad:tech is the bridge we need to tie our research back into current practices and ensure we are delivering what the field needs to progress, and progress well, here in New Zealand. It's pretty mind-blowing that we get to host here at AUT and all those names in the industry see that our AUT name stands as a site of learning and translation of current developments in trade, practice, and research.”

Opening remarks came from the inspiring Lisa King, Founder – Eat My Lunch. She spoke the uniqueness of Eat My Lunch being the combination of a for-profit business and a charity, and their strategy of ‘do-learn-adapt’ when coming up with new ideas for the business.

Dr Jeffery Cole, Founder Director of Center for the Digital Future, was the first keynote speaker. Using the Center’s data and analysis, Jeffrey Cole took a deep look at disruption in the media business and the changes coming.

“Dinner and a movie has become Netflix and UberEats,” said Jeffery, “The only thing that matters to the customer any more is content.”

Claudia Batten, Entrepreneur, Speaker and Director, was the second opening keynote speaker. She touched upon the potential decline of the power of brand in a world where voice, AI and blockchain perfect the mathematics of consumer preference.

Following the keynotes, participants had the option of attending one of three streams focused on different aspects of ‘lighting up the next room’.

AUT Business School championed one the sessions, titled ‘Prosocial behaviour & brand efforts’, with a panel featuring Sommer Kapitan and Jessica Vredenburg (Senior Lecturers – Marketing) and Duncan Shand (Founder, YoungShand). The AUT panel outlined the rising and pressing movements observed around prosocial behaviour, implications for marketers, and how they could engage these ideas for their brand efforts.

Giving examples like Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign, Jessica spoke about the key traits important to consumers when brands engage in prosocial behaviour: duty/responsibility, alignment/fit, and genuine practice/authenticity.

Sommer touched upon personal and social data as currency in today’s world, with examples like the Shiru Café, where student customers pay with their personal data instead of currency.

Duncan rounded up the discussion saying, “Ultimately, companies should focus on their product/service. Purpose is important – good products can be supported by good advertising.”

For Sommer the session was an opportunity to tap into the general vibe and flow of ideas and talk about current research (along with research partner in crime Dr. Jessica Vredenburg).

“That was one of the most clear and honestly energizing moments of translation for me this year -- translating what we've been seeing in the industry, back to the industry, and asking for where to go next.”

With more streams to explore and keynotes to attend, participants had the opportunity to learn about topics like AI, advocacy/ambassadorship, marketing automation, emotions/culture, and more. The conference ended with a happy hour networking session.

Sommer summed up the event saying, “It's always been thrilling to just get to watch and learn about emerging practice and to host the top minds in the field of marketing and advertising in our own gorgeous space here at AUT.”

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