Adobe’s US Summit: Day Two Recap

by Ryan Levitt

Posted on 03-29-2018

If Adobe Sum­mit day one was about practicalities—tips, tricks, launch­es and inno­va­tions to help busi­ness­es become expe­ri­ence makers—then day two was all about inspi­ra­tion from some of the world’s finest entre­pre­neurs and leaders.

The Sands Expo at The Venet­ian was abuzz from the moment the cof­fee stands rolled into place, through to when the last beer was served at the incred­i­ble Sum­mit Bash fea­tur­ing Gram­my-award win­ning singer, Beck.

“Think about what change you want to make in your organ­i­sa­tion and in your­self to become an expe­ri­ence mak­er.” That was the idea moot­ed by John Mel­lor, Adobe’s Vice Pres­i­dent Strat­e­gy, Mar­ket­ing & Alliances at the start of the day. By night­fall almost every­one in the audi­ence had at least the begin­ning of an idea about how to answer this.

JJ Watt, an Amer­i­can foot­ball play­er and for­mer win­ner of the NFL’s Defen­sive Play­er of the Year award, dis­cussed his use of social media for glob­al good, specif­i­cal­ly his cam­paign to help fundraise mil­lions of dol­lars fol­low­ing the dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­canes that affect­ed Hous­ton in 2017. Watt is a huge fan of goal set­ting: dai­ly, week­ly, month­ly and life­time goals to make dreams come true.

Social has been under attack recent­ly due to issues around safe­ty and secu­ri­ty, mak­ing the next dis­cus­sion on the agen­da a time­ly one. Adobe’s CMO, Ann Lewnes, led a fas­ci­nat­ing pan­el dis­cus­sion with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from LinkedIn, Twit­ter and Face­book, in which they dis­cussed the future of social media and how plat­forms are evolv­ing. What did they tell us?

Twit­ter “serves the pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion by keep­ing users informed in pub­lic dia­logue and empow­er­ing them to take part in that dia­logue,” said Kay Madati, Twitter’s VP and Glob­al Head of Comms & Partnerships.

“Twit­ter is nat­u­ral­ly a pub­lic plat­form. Our issues around pri­va­cy dimin­ish as most info we pub­lish is pub­lic. I have no busi­ness if I can’t pro­vide a brand safe envi­ron­ment for adver­tis­ers (and users). Our focus now and into the future is around sto­ry­telling and empow­er­ing it across our plat­form. Video at the cen­tre of this. Con­ver­sa­tion around video is key and we are the per­fect plat­form to lead charge in that opportunity.

Linkedin “cre­ates eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty for every­one on the plat­form,” said Melis­sa Selch­er, VP for Brand & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. “When it comes to con­tent, we focus on con­text. Mem­bers tend to police what con­tent they want. Our exec team are very deter­mined to pro­vide a great mem­ber expe­ri­ence, but it’s not just down to them, it’s up to every employ­ee to strive for this. In fact, it’s cod­i­fied in our values.

“At LinkedIn we reg­u­lar­ly talk about the three C’s: clar­i­ty, choice and con­trol. Clar­i­ty means total trans­paren­cy in data—where we share it and how we use it. Choice is giv­ing mem­bers the abil­i­ty to choose how they work with LinkedIn and the way in which they engage with us. And con­trol, mean­ing total con­trol over their pro­file, where it can be seen and by whom.”

As for the future, LinkedIn believes that “CMOs see them­selves as edi­tor-in-chiefs’ of con­tent. Mar­ket­ing depart­ments are more respon­si­ble than ever before for curat­ing, cre­at­ing and deliv­er­ing huge vol­umes of con­tent. Mar­keters are also recog­nis­ing that they aren’t always the best at cre­at­ing the con­tent, often receiv­ing the best ben­e­fits from engaged con­sumers, with video per­form­ing incred­i­bly well. What excites me is that by 2025, 75 per­cent of the Amer­i­can work­force will be mil­len­ni­al. This will change the every­thing we do across our plat­forms. Adjust­ing to that demo­graph­ic shift is a must to ensure we have envi­ron­ments and ways to match the needs of our users.”

Facebook’s VP of Mar­ket­ing Part­ner­ships, Gene Alston, was arguably in the hottest seat, and imme­di­ate­ly addressed the ele­phant in the room: “Facebook’s mis­sion is to give peo­ple the pow­er to cre­ate com­mu­ni­ty and bring peo­ple togeth­er. Our role is to pro­tect the pri­va­cy of users on Face­book, and we take our com­mit­ment real­ly seri­ous­ly. If we can’t pro­tect your infor­ma­tion, then we don’t deserve it. I’ve nev­er seen the lead­er­ship team more focused or com­mit­ted to tack­ling chal­lenges head on.”

Accord­ing to Alston, Face­book is “try­ing to find solu­tions in how mar­keters mea­sure across plat­form. We want to help adver­tis­ers bet­ter under­stand cross-chan­nel and deter­mine ROI. We believe Face­book sto­ries are going to be a huge trend across the indus­try. There is a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty to tap into ener­gy of con­tent creators.

“We have zero tol­er­ance for hate speech and vio­lent con­tent and are invest­ing in machine learn­ing tech­nol­o­gy to mon­i­tor con­tent in real time, giv­ing adver­tis­ers con­trol where con­text mat­ters. We aim to give full trans­paren­cy on where ads ran in our network.”

In the opin­ion of this writer, these mea­sures will be absolute­ly crit­i­cal if lever­ag­ing Sto­ries and the ener­gy of con­tent cre­ators is the future direc­tion of the plat­form. Adver­tis­ers will need to be com­plete­ly con­fi­dent that their ads are appear­ing in brand safe environments.

Final­ly, the morn­ing ses­sion con­clud­ed with the wise words of Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson—a great exam­ple of Euro­pean know-how telling the world how it’s done. “My pri­ma­ry goal has always been to fig­ure out ways to make peo­ples’ lives bet­ter,” said Bran­son. “Under­stand­ing people’s expe­ri­ences lies at the heart of that process and at the heart of Virgin.

“Vir­gin trans­formed the expe­ri­ence around air­line trav­el. We re-imag­ined the check-in expe­ri­ence, we intro­duced in-flight mas­sages and we were the first air­line to intro­duce seat-back videos. All oth­er air­lines try to fol­low in our flight path. Atten­tion to detail matters.

“I keep a note­book in my pock­et, when­ev­er I fly. I lis­ten to pas­sen­gers and crew. Lis­ten­ing keeps air­line trav­el fun, friend­ly and enter­tain­ing. As expec­ta­tions change, so must the experience.”

With those words ring­ing in my head, my thoughts turn to a few weeks down the road, and Adobe’s EMEA Sum­mit in Lon­don. What expe­ri­ence will we deliv­er to you on May 3 and 4? With expec­ta­tions raised so high here in Vegas, Adobe must fol­low Branson’s advice and deliv­er an expe­ri­ence at London’s Excel Cen­tre that meets the needs of today’s Euro­pean mar­keter and busi­ness deci­sion mak­er. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store.

Topics: Digital Transformation, facebook, linkedIn, social media, Twitter, US Summit, Virgin, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA