1. Branded Storytelling: How to make your message matter is a fast moving, digital, social world. 
  2. Video: The Primal Screen Comes Home
  3. CURATION.  The Web's New Magic.
  4. The Fall of the Machines.  Why Humans Beat Robots.
  5. Brands, Storytelling, and the real-time web.

#1 - Branded Storytelling: How to make your message matter is a fast moving, digital, social world. 

Not long ago, telling your customers about your brand’s message was simple.  You simple took out your checkbook, and purchased media that met your audience where they watched, read,  and listed to content. Sure, advertising had it share of hits and misses, but with the right creative and budget - you hit your mark and rang the register. 

Today,  that’s all changed. 

Steven Rosenbaum is an Emmy Award Winning filmmaker,  an internet innovator,  and a serial startup entrepreneur.  Today as the Chief Curator at he has an inside look at the changing nature of how users are consuming content,  and how brands need to adapt and explore in order to reach their audiences with content that is authentic and engaging. 

In an immersive hour long talk, full of real world examples - Rosenbaum will taken an audience on a journey into the world of Branded Storytelling today,  and the exciting new opportunities right around the corner.

Part One: The changing nature of connected audiences

    -  Mobile.  It’s not just what the kids do. 

    -  Chat. UGC.  and Photo’s. Snapchat, Vine, Instagram change the game. 

    -  Video. The emerging YouTube / Facebook showdown. 


Part Two:  Branded Storytelling today.

    - Buzzfeed and Purina.  How to turn internet cat meme’s into a marketing that purrs.

    - Quiznose and Tasty TV.

    - Oreos. Why cookies taste better when dipped in social media.  


Part Three:  The New Connected Brand.

    - Finding authentic voices to tell your story from the inside out.

    - Influencer marketing.  Finding love you can amplify and share

    - Periscope and Meercat - can your customers stream your message? 


Part Four (extra credit) 

    - VR Video.  Will 360 be the future of immersive reality,  or the next 3d boom and bust.

    - When social / native media goes wrong.  A tale of consumer backlash.

    - Play at home.  How to define the fans to amplify your brand. (a 3 part test). 


Corporate storytelling is a new way to engage consumers - and Rosenbaum’s career as a filmmaker, journalist, author,  and blogger gives him a unique insight into how to capture the imagination of a restless content consumer.  He began his career as a magician,  but when it comes to storytelling he’s ready to give up the secret tricks that turn flat corporate pr into powerful audience engaging narrative streams.

#2 - Video: The Primal Screen Comes Home

Why is video so powerful? Because at its heart – it’s a medium that is purely primal. It connects in the heart and the head. It reaches us in ways that text or images simply can’t.

For as long as TV has been around – there’s been a tug of war between those that want to turn TV into a massive and powerful hypnotic sales machine, and those that want to use TV for global and social good.

Now – for the very first time, changes in technology and consumer behavior have reached a convergence. The early days of YouTube and the exciting, but noisy, user-generated-content explosion have matured in 3 important ways that have the potential to turn TV into a new and exciting medium.

1. Connecting. Sharing. Listening. Curated Video Networks are poised to re-invent how, and who, uses TV.

2. Showing – not telling. Why TV crosses borders and boundaries.

3. Native Ads. What does it mean for Curated Video Networks?

It all comes down to the new TV – the Primal Screen. And it’s here now.

First, let’s explore connecting. In order for any business to work, you need three things. Makers,  consumers, and money. In TV, makers are the people who make programs, shows, and videos. We have tons of those. And consumers – we all watch video. Hundreds of hours a year; on our TV’s, or Phones, or tablets. But the money has been elusive for

all but the largest networks. Mass media has driven the economics of video, even as the audience has shifted from mass to niche.

Today – that’s about to change. As Curated Video Networks (CVN’s) arrive to find the threads of related, coherent content. While pure data, even text can be usefully organized by an algorithm, video has two additional layers of abstraction. If, for example, you wanted to watch a video network about architecture, you’d tune in the the architecture channel. But which one? While you would know how to express it, your architecture channel about modern homes, would be very different that one about commercial architecture, or the history of architecture, or green architecture. You’re not looking to search for a ‘term’ – you’re looking for an editorial POV, a human voice to bring content and context to a collection of video.  It’s why the channels you’ll watch, just like the magazines you read, are more than words and pictures – they’re about perspective and voice.

Ok, on to showing. Video crosses boundaries because pictures share things in ways that words alone can not. Chris Anderson, the Curator of the TED Conference, famously coined the term “crowd-accelerated innovation” in this TED talk from 2010.

As he explained it: “There are just three things you need for this thing to kick into gear. The first thing you need is … a group of people who share a common interest. The second thing you need is light. You need clear, open visibility of what the best people in that crowd are capable. And third, you need desire.Absent desire, it’s not going to happen.”

And here’s why Anderson says Video is the driver that fuels this acceleration: “The first few years of the web were pretty much video-free, for this reason: video files are huge; the web couldn’t handle them. But in the last 10 years, bandwidth has exploded a hundredfold. Suddenly, here we are. Humanity watches 80 million hours of YouTube every day. If it’s all puppies, porn and piracy, we’re doomed. I don’t think it will be. Video is high-bandwidth for a reason. It packs a huge amount of data, and our brains are uniquely wired to decode it.”

And here TED provides an extraordinary example, more than two billion views of smart, engaging,  important ideas shared in talks and slides. Audiences want more than entertainment from video – they’re hungry for information, education, and ideas.

Which brings me to the last leg of this powerful new paradigm, money. Call it what you will,  monetization, advertising, simple economics. Audiences pay a toll with their attention, and historically – advertisers have been able to interrupt free tv shows with mass-media messages. But already we see a change under way – with innovations likeGoogle TruView that make irrelevant ads skippable.

But the emergence of native ads changes the game. Advertisers emerge as relevant storytellers,  sharing information, perspective, and knowledge into willing, even eager, audiences. A commercial from Kohler faucets may be skipped, but a well crafted story about Kohler for the latest in water conservation and green building design can both inform and educate. Native puts advertisers in a position where audiences want to hear what they have to say about their products,  their innovation,  and their thinking.  It brings them in to the editorial process – with a clear and fairly attributed offering.

Web video has arrived. It makes the most basic human communication medium a worldwide phenomenon. As Anderson explains it:  “It’s not too much to say that what Gutenberg did for writing, online video can now do for face-to-face communication. So, that primal medium, which your brain is exquisitely wired for … that just went global.”

We’re experience changes that make the world smaller, faster, and better – all thanks to video.

We’re all connected to the Primal Screen – and the innovation it will power.


#3 - CURATION.  The Web's New Magic.

There are some words that arrive in our world which mean one thing and over time morph into something entirely new.

 Tweeting was a thing birds did, before Twitter. Now the word has new meaning. It used to be that you could learn about people you were interested in by researching them in print or asking someone who knew them. Now you Google them. The remarkable pace of change is having an impact on more than our lives and our interactions, it’s changing the very words we use to describe what we do.

Today, the word that describes much of what’s changing is curation. It’s both a new word and an old one.

In the past we lived in a world of disciplines. The senior editorial leadership at magazines were known as editors. The folks who chose which TV shows played on a TV network were programmers. The people who picked which things that would be on the shelves of your local stores were retailers. Each of these professions involved choosing the right items, putting them in the proper order, and creating a collection that was appealing to an audience or consumer. Oh, and there was that rarified individual who selected objects of art to present in a museum or gallery: they were called curators.

Today, curation is the coin of the realm. Film festivals curate their program. Web sites curate their editorial. The team at the shopping site Gilt Group curates the items it offer for sale. Curation was once a word that seemed to mean highbrow, expensive, out of reach of mere mortals. But today museum curators must compete with media curation at Newser, collections of handmade crafts at Etsy, or the curated collection of the best roll-on luggage at Squidoo. Certainly curation means quality, but quality is in the eye of the beholder.

Curation comes in many shapes and sizes. It is critically important to understand two things. First, curation is about adding value from humans who add their qualitative judgment to whatever is being gathered and organized. And second, there is both amateur and professional curation, and the emergence of amateur or pro-sumer curators isn’t in any way a threat to professionals.

Curation is very much the core shift in commerce, editorial, and communities that requires highly qualified humans. Humans aren’t extra, or special, or enhancements; humans are curators. They do what no computer can possibly achieve. There’s far too much nuance in human tribes and the taste of groups and individuals. Curation is about selection, organization, presentation, and evolution. While computers can aggregate content, information, or any shape or size of data, aggregation without curation is just a big pile of stuff that seems related but lacks a qualitative organization.

There are places where we’re going to see curation happen first, mostly editorial enterprises such as Web sites, magazines, and other media. And although it may seem like curation, as a trend, is declaring war on old institutions we’ve known and trusted, the simple fact is that curation is going to save these organizations, not destroy them. Not long down the road, curation is going to change the way we buy and sell things, the way we recommend and review things, and the way we’re able to mobilize groups of like-minded individuals to share, gather, and purchase as groups. Curated experiences are by their very nature better than one-off decisions about what to buy or whom to trust.

But the real power of the trend toward a Curation Nation is that, for the first time, we can see a future in which individuals can galvanize and publish their passions and knowledge in a way that will create value from that personal passions and niche expertise. Imagine a time when your love of travel, fine wines, and collectable lunch boxes each provides a revenue stream. Okay, maybe not a full-blown stream, but a revenue trickle; when these microcareers are knit together, your curated knowledge can evolve from a hobby to an avocation to one of the many gigs that pay the rent, keep your kitty in cat food, or help you save for a college tuition. Which is to say, curation is about something different than disintermediation. In fact, it’s about re-mediation. It’s about adding quality back into the equation and putting a human filter between you and the overwhelming world of content abundance that is swirling around us every day. Curation replaces noise with clarity. And it’s the clarity of your choosing; it’s the things that people you trust help you find.

Curation is an exhilarating, fast-moving, evolving idea that addresses two parallel trends: the explosive growth in data, and our need to be able to find information in coherent, reasonably contextual groupings. No one doubts that we’re shifting, as author Clay Shirky says, from an era of content scarcity to one of content abundance. And while that seems on one hand bountiful, it’s also quite impossible. Imagine trying to find a needle in a haystack. Now try to find that same needle in a thousand haystacks. Now, try to find three related needles in a billion haystacks. Yikes! If you think of those needles as words or ideas, forming a coherent sentence is flat out impossible. It’s in just such situations that curation comes to the rescue.


#4 - The Fall of the Machines.  Why Humans Beat Robots.

Finding information used to be easy.  Because information was,  for all intents and purposes,  scarce.  The means of production of information was costly,  and distribution more so.   Books,  Television programs,  Movies,  Magazines,  Newspapers.  The having ideas was cheap,  getting them out into the world was expensive.  And,  for lots of folks that was a good thing.  The 'gatekeepers'  for lack of a nicer word,  were able to put up toll booths that became wildly profitable businesses. 

Then,  overnight,  it all changed. 

”There were 5 exabyte’s of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003,” says Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, “but that much information is now created every two days, and the pace is increasing . . . People aren’t ready for the technology revolution that’s going to happen to them . . . “

The operative phrase here is "happen to them."  It's not happening for them,  or even by them.  We're victims of an information flood.  A tsunami of unfiltered data. 

The assumption was that Google would be able to keep up,  or catch up,  and and that search would be - as it always has been - the process of going to find information and it being served up.

But,  it appears the robots have a new adversary.  Humans. 

A number of things have shifted,  making web 'surfing' , as we used to call it, an old idea.

First,  we are now ALL publishers.  We publish Tweets.  We publish 'check in' data.   We publish reviews of restaurants, books,  movies,  hotel rooms,  local businesses and services.  We make data all the time,  and we share it promiscuously.   This shows no signs of slowing down.  Hardly.   Real time,  unstructured,  untrusted data is kryptonite to Google and other search engines.   

Two things changed.  One,  devices.  Phones,  iPads,  Kindles,  Computers - all make and transmit data.  And then,  software - all real time services like instagram,  twitter,  gowalla,  foursquare,  and tumbler are flooding the robot filters,  making it impossible to find 'good data' in a pile of noise.

Structured data is giving way to realtime data - which leaves Google's vaunted 'page rank' algorithm little more than a clueless pile of code.  Instead,  a new generation of human filters - Curators - emerge as the digital elite.  It turns out the the ability to find contextual content,  create and validate collections,  and build creative editorial out of seemingly unrelated bits is a uniquely human enterprise. 

#4 - Brands, Storytelling, and the real-time web.

Brands begin with the need to lead, the expertise to tell their story, the skill to attract intent, and therefore the ability to be trusted within their community. Because brands have access to both paid and earned media (advertising and public relations), as well as their own brand space, they are inherently publishers. The big change for the brands that have been built in the post-millennium world is that they are media, rather than buying media. For example, Starbucks sees such remarkable foot traffic and return visits through its doors that it doesn’t need to buy television advertising to reach its customers. Its stores, its signage, its window displays are all media that lets it tell its story to customers.

 Increasingly, customers are in control of the brand story.

In fact, brands may have no choice.They may have to become publishers and take control of the conversation that swirls around their space and the product, such as contests that invite creative contributions, with customized printing like the M&M’s with a personalized message on the back, and even by bringing fans into product development, as Lego does. 

This whole new world can’t be easy for brands or their creative partners. It used to be so easy when dollars equaled dominance, but now there’s a digital fly in the ointment. Curation can give brands a way to convene a conversation, keep the tone appropriate, and create a safe space for customers to learn and share. But brands who ignore the need to embrace and editorial voice are bound to be unhappy when consumers use their newfound power to talk about them—whether they like it or not.