Kimberly-Clark, Verizon, North Face, Pepsi Co., J&J & Mass Mutual Talk Future of Media 

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At a recent Brand Innovators livecast on the Future of Media, executives from leading brands including Kimberly-Clark, North Face, Mass Mutual, Pepsi Co., Johnson & Johnson and Verizon talked about the latest trends in media and how they are adapting to meet consumers where they are.

As consumers increasingly shift their attention to a myriad of digital channels, brands are looking at how to use digital media to effectively connect with audiences.

At a recent Brand Innovators livecast on the Future of Media, executives from leading brands including Kimberly-Clark, North Face, Mass Mutual, Pepsi Co., Johnson & Johnson and Verizon  talked about the latest trends in media and how they are adapting to meet consumers where they are.

“In the last couple of years, one of the biggest changes has been the true shift to mobile dominance,” said Brad Moranchek, senior director of global media at Kimberly-Clark. “Now, your mobile strategy is your strategy. You should be designing everything to be mobile first. You have to make the assumption that if it’s not something that you’re showing on the big screen, then it's going to be something that will be experienced on the mobile screen. We definitely reinforce that with our team regarding how they think about design messaging and making sure things are custom fit to platforms, and assuming that those platforms are going to be experienced in a mobile environment.”

The evolution of 5G will shape the mobile landscape and how the digital ad industry will evolve. 

Apple announced last year that any new phones introduced this year, in 2022, will not be 4G models,” said Abhi Vyas, head of digital engagement and acquisition marketing at Verizon.

“That’s a very important milestone for brands, advertisers and the whole ecosystem of digital advertising. 5G is kind of a moment for us. The ad industry is beginning to adopt 5G to power new types of ad experiences. The future of advertising is immersive and we all know user-level targeting is forever changed.

Peter Bornholdt, global senior manager, digital brand marketing at The North Face has seen a major shift in the media landscape since he joined the brand almost 10 years ago.

“We have a lot of conversations about what “never stop exploring” means. I’ve been with the brand for about a decade, and our marketing used to be an expedition,” said Bornholdt. “The athletes go and do some incredible feats, we take some incredible photos, make video content and do a TV commercial. That has changed dramatically in the time that I’ve been here. There are multiple channels and facets that you can communicate through. One of the things we’ve thought a lot about is how we can create a message that resonates, that any consumer can look at and connect with.”

The metaverse is on everyone’s lips these days as they look for ways to embrace this emerging and stay relevant to younger generations. Pepsi is building out their strategy with the conscious effort to do: “fewer, bigger, better.”

“The metaverse is such an exciting and new space,” said Kate Brady, head of media innovation & partnership development at PepsiCo North America, PepsiCo. “It’s evolving daily, and there’s so many different opinions in space. We see the nay-sayers, and we see the hype. Everyone is also trying to align on a definition of what the metaverse even is, and what it can be. I love that PepsiCo sees it’s important for us to have a POV on this, and for us to understand what our right to play in this space is, and how our brands can come alive in the future.”

Digital media transformed how consumers seek out advice, looking to influencers and real people for advice on products of all categories. Matt Fantazier, director of digital experience, U.S. Skin Health at Johnson & Johnson has noted the democratization of expertise in skincare in which consumers are looking away from the brands and to different voices. 

“That’s led us to thinking differently about who’s delivering messages on our behalf and where they are looking for that information,” said Fantazier. “Depending on where they are in their journey as a consumer, are they looking for reviews? A dermatologist? People are still looking to publishers for information and content. Coupled with that is on-demand expectations. Consumers have been trained to be able to get what they want when they want it, and on top of that, have a personalized experience. That’s acutely true in the beauty space. Everyone is different, has different needs and they’re looking for solutions for them.” 

Mass Mutual has found success leveraging publishers around cultural moments. 

“One of the things, as a brand, that we strive to do is have an unmissable presence in culture and that can come to life in all kinds of different ways,” said Kristin Lane, vice president, head of customer activation & engagement at Mass Mutual. “We have successfully partnered with two of our favorites, The Washington Post and The New York Times, on huge cultural platforms that each partner has launched and through partnering with them, we were able to find a super sharp audience that we’re trying to reach. We’re also able to partner up to bring co-created content together to life.”

“We live in a dynamic world and people are always changing and evolving too,” added Bridget Nelson, head of brand performance and audience research, Mass Mutual. “So there’s this mindset that an insight right now is not static and we reserve the right to learn, test and evolve with that. It’s really an evolution and then tying that back to our media mix model, we can actually say there is ROI and business impact to everything that the team is doing.”

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