Why stories matter in new tools and gadgets & communities will collaborate instead of only socialise!

Take-aways from Websummit 2016 and thinking ahead.

This month I attended my first Websummit in Lissabon.
Apart from that I absolutely fell in love with the city, I heard some inspiring talks and panel discussions, got to know many interesting people, had lots of delicious food and the cheapest and biggest Gin Tonics ever :P

On one hand it was all about new tools & technologies such as VR, Augmented Reality, on the other hand my personal focus was look ahead in shifts in user behaviour and how brands can use those platforms, new tools and ways of engaging with audiences.

New platforms, gadgets and tools

User behaviour changes constantly and our generation is craving for new ways of engagement and involvement. Currently, for instance, we can see the trend that private social networks such as What’s App, We Chat, Messenger and Snapchat are taking over public, classical networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

That’s why we need to rethink how we talk to our users and audiences and rethink our strategies — for instance how to make the most of the peer-to-peer oriented social world. 
We need to think about how we can become part of the conversation and can inspire users to talk about brands as well as get engaged, by creating user experiences that inspire our users to talk about them and give the feeling of being part of the story or even a movement. Away from top-down, and straight into bottom-up.

With new tools and technologies coming up on the market, enabling us to create new unique user experiences, there is one very essential thing we need to keep in mind: we first need to find the story and then create experiences that the platform we choose can do.

VR experiences, for instance, are great, but we need to think about how this “platform” and experience shall communicate to the user and how it fits into the bigger picture and story of the brand.
What’s very important is to create a story and journey for the user. We need to create the right scenario, put in into the right context and tell a story with the content we provide.

Communities

For brands to create awareness and become closer to their desired audiences, we have to identify the online communities our tastemakers are part of and engage in the there as a community member and through this connect authentically.

It’s not anymore about pushing your marketing message out there with adverts, bombarding the user via various advertising channels and platforms. In order to reach our users and create relationships with them, we need to create native content in existing communities and let them become the protagonist and enable them to engage.

Thinking forward

One of the last talks from #Websummit that excited me the most as it’s something that is currently very present in my work and reflects the mission behind some of the projects & brands that I am currently working with was a talk by Joseph Gordon-Levitt about hitRECord, a new kind of online community where creatives are working together as a production company.

We can see that social media & online platforms can be a significant catalyst for success by empowering people and fueling ideas.

It’s important to remember that people had a desire to connect with each other, way before the rise of social platforms. Social behaviour is hard-wired into our DNA. It’s how we define ourselves and build relationships with others. It’s a powerful driving force which brands and organisations can tap into to help them connect and engage with their audiences in more engaging, useful and meaningful ways.

Most of the current social media platforms are about enabling user to communicate.

Taking this one step further, online communities in the future might not only socialise and communicate with each other, but will start to actually be creative, collaborate, combine skills and knowledge and not compete with each other, but collaborate & CREATE together.