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20 May '17

TNW Conference

Amsterdam was pleasant, even though there were some clouds, we were blessed with good weather, and the conference was equally as enjoyable. It was well organized, featured loads of compelling speakers, and had enough going on to keep us all interested throughout. Also, it had food trucks! In two massive food courts, we took advantage of a cashless payment experience. It was truly amazing. This year, the TNW tech team went all in – building a whole new suite of tools to double down on networking, matchmaking, pre-scheduled meet-and-greets and introduced new intimate speaker formats. We spoke with Lucie Greene, CEO of JWT Intelligence at one of these intimate settings. The talk covered topics of digital trends, brands and how they influence our society. Some of her key remarks include:

  • Brands are standing as political forces. It’s scary, but true!
  • Luxury brands are trying to become more vertical. The need for changing their strategy is imminent.
  • Behaviors are mobile-only. This is nothing new, but now, developing countries are also entering the game.

The conference found the best speakers worldwide. Some of this year’s featured speakers included: Ryan Hoover (Founder of Product Hunt), Mark Randall (VP of Creativity, Adobe), Linda Kozlowski (COO, Etsy), Taryn Souther (Youtuber), or Emily Weiss (founder and CEO of Glossier).

Here are 8 key learnings we’ve brought home:

1 / Technology should amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity.

We live in a world ruled by technology. So,the least we can do is know how to interact and behave with it. Technology should require the smallest possible amount of attention and should work even when it fails. It takes time to introduce humans to new technology; because of that, technology should always adapt to norms in order to be easily accepted by society. For that reason, during the creation of a product, we should slowly introduce features so that people have time to get accustomed to the product.

2 / Customer Value has increased whereas Brand Value is declining

Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and have become accustomed to decide when and how to receive information from brands. With the tools that we have today, it is easier to increase value on customers, than on brands. So, it is important to consider that customers trust other people more than brands. Nowadays, the ways in which we interact, purchase and value brands have changed.

3 / Right now, the world of digital media is all about complexity

With all the possibilities and options out there, reaching audiences has become a complex task. An agency should have balance between discipline and passion. On one side, we must show expertise, be controlled, sequential, analytical and rational; On the other hand, we must be intuitive, a bit abstract, imaginative and complex. Digital companies should take care of websites, partnerships, content creation, retail stores, native advertising, geo-localization, community management, loyalty programs, online banners, in-store interaction and being responsive without being constantly innovative.

4 / Don’t forget to use Minimal Viable Product

MVP is basically a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future development. Avoid developing a full-featured product based on assumptions – that could have a high-risk cost. So, if it can be tested, test it. Consider customer-centric insights, make data-driven decisions, and learn from user experiment results and failures. For LOOP, it is important to think big and being brave, but fail fast! Of course, don’t forget to be globally scalable but locally relevant!

5 / Use Emojis, they are trendy! (Although there are so many “useless” ones.)

Emoji are weird. They are quickly entering the world of marketing – even email subject lines are now full of emojis. While there are enough of them that some people even manage to use them for entire conversations, there always seem to be odd omissions. We have even seen this last year – how you can order from Domino’s by simply texting them the pizza emoji. But why are there 10 different types of trains, but no disco ball? Jeremy Burge, Founder of Emojipedia emphasized that one key point is to hold back on asking “this but not that” questions. Consider which emoji connects with your audience more, and use it to encourage real-time engagement. However, be careful not to create confusing messages.

6 / Computer Performance is at exponential change. It is getting better and better!

There’s no doubt that there are currently three big trends in business: Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). But what is really going on? They are all growing and coming closer to hitting commercial and mass-use cases, and it is predicted that by 2040, we are going to be using AGI (Artificial General Intelligence,) and by 2060, ASI (Artificial Super Intelligence). Scary, isn’t it? But as James Temple (creative director of R/GA) said: “In the race to achieve 1-to-1 service via a digital interface, don’t forget the humanity.”

7 / Data is the new currency.

These days, business leaders know that data is important in executing their strategy. Data is instrumental to innovation in product and service design, and to effectiveness in marketing. Personalization is key to digital customer experience. Nowadays, we expect easy, automated processes. It doesn’t matter whether we’re placing an order, checking a reservation, or researching a purchase – we expect businesses to know us. AI has change our currency system: we don’t pay with dollars or euros anymore; We pay with data. This is all because “people want to do the same things they’ve always done, only faster, cheaper and with much more data.”(Marc Teerlink, Chief Business Strategist at IBM Watson Group)

8 / Snapchat is still on the hype.

Despite the allure of Instagram Stories, Snapchat is still the most popular social network among 12-24 year olds. Imran Khan (Chief Strategy from Snapchat) commented on how Snapchat will still change the role of storytelling and ways in how brands approach users. Aside from their already famous geofilters, they have released an ad creation tool and more standardized ad formats for outsiders to easily upload via API. New features such as direct buttons to install app by swiping up, long ad videos and exclusively-Snapchat Shows where users’ full attention is on them.


2 days, 15,000 attendees per day, amazing speakers, and surrounded by robots. With everything you need around topics like AI, Growth hacking, Cloud, VR, Fintech, Data, Branding, Media, Product Development and much more, this has been an amazing experience. The TNW Conference helped us further understand the future of technology and gave actionable insights that can be implemented today in our daily business.