The Cross Campus tech hub in Santa Monica provided the backdrop on July 15th for the Content Strategy Salon, hosted by Digital Diversity Network and Warner Bros. This evening of conversations and connecting—both live and via social media–was designed to inform, educate and inspire diverse professionals in the digital media sector. The dialogue between the more than 100 attendees extended beyond the walls of Cross Campus with more than 684,000 impressions on Twitter. The 90-minute program got underway with a fireside chat themed, Creating an Immersive Experience, which featured Guy Primus, co-founder & COO, The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) in conversation with Laurence “Lo” Toney, partner, Comcast Ventures and DDN board director, about virtual reality, immersive experiences and emerging spaces. VRC is a newly launched content studio—helmed by some of Hollywood’s most successful creators—to produce the best VR experiences by combining the best in technology, art and storytelling. This new role at VRC is also blends Primus’ experience in technology and entertainment. The Georgia Tech and Harvard Business School alum was formerly Chief Operating Officer of Overbrook Entertainment, the film and television production company founded by actor/producer Will Smith and producer James Lassiter. He also co-founded and managed Tentpole Ventures, a seed-stage tech investment fund that focuses on consumer lifestyle companies. And, prior to joining Overbrook, Guy was Director of Digital Media at Starbucks, where he co-created the popular “Pick of the Week” program. Primus strongly advocates for women and people of color to get in on the ground floor of emerging technologies and entrepreneurial opportunities, and advised those who are starting businesses of their own to “always play for the love of the game.” In a crowd-pleasing rarity for a digital media event, our panel featured an all-female line-up. Themed M3: Multi-Platform, Multi-Cultural, Multi-Purpose Content this session was moderated by Diana Mogollon, Business Strategy & Development, Warner Bros. Television Group and included: Amy DuBois Barnett, Media Executive/Brand Architect; Robinne Burrell, Founder & Head of Mobile Innovation, Redflight Mobile; Anna Fieler, EVP, Marketing, POPSUGAR Brands; and Evette Vargas, CEO, Writer, Director, Executive Producer & Multiplatform Storyteller, Digital-Reign Productions. This group of accomplished professionals possesses background and experiences from the realms of linear television content and distribution; publishing and online media; mobile; advertising; e-commerce; and digital content creation. The conversation touched upon shifts in media consumption and demographics; engaging moving audiences; content strategy and monetization; and the definition of success. There seemed to be a consensus around the need to reevaluate the definition of targeted marketing—particularly as it applies to Millennial audiences. Given that this generation is more bi-racial and multicultural than those that came before them, it gives pause to the notion of segmenting for demographics vs. psychographics. Other key takeaways from the conversation:
• The story is first. The platform is second.
• Making consumers happy is a measure of success. For highlights from the Content Strategy Salon, please click on the link, below. http://www.tweetbeam.com/event/DDNO
Highlights from DDN’s Third Annual NYC Conference
Inclusion, Collaboration & Engagement Drive Conference AgendaApproximately 150 professionals were in attendance for Digital Diversity Network’s (DDN) third annual New York City conference on Thursday, November 6th at the Bloomberg L.P. headquarters in Manhattan. Also co-sponsored by Bloomberg, the event was themed, Convergence NYC: Inclusion, Collaboration & Engagement, and featured a speaker line-up of 30 diverse industry thought leaders from the realms of advertising, media, entertainment, travel, education, government, non-profit, finance, mobile, social justice and private equity. Following a warm welcome from Justin B. Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media, the full-day agenda got underway with panel discussions, one-on-one “Tech Talk” conversations, and a luncheon keynoter. Panelists provided insights into: (a) workforce and talent pipeline development; (b) the New York City start-up scene; (c) mobile content strategy; and (d) leveraging digital media and technology to advance the public good. The Tech Talk conversations featured Stephen Ozoigbo, CEO, African Technology Foundation; Tiffany Pham, Founder & CEO, Mogul; and Jamal Simmons, TV Political Analyst & Co-founder, FLYCLIQUE. They shared, respectively, how they are using technology to stimulate economic growth in Africa; empower women; and motivate young people in underrepresented communities to pursue careers in technology. In her luncheon address, Eunique Jones Gibson, Artist & Creator of the Because of Them We Can™ Campaign campaign, shared how she has turned a passion into profit. Launched in February 2013 as a Black History month project, Because of Them We Can, features videos and photos of children as iconic African-Americans. It has become the most successful viral Black History Month campaign ever, and has morphed into a full-time year round project that now also includes historic Latinos and women of all ethnicities. The intimate event setting provided opportunities for attendees—entrepreneurs and corporate professionals–to exchange ideas and information and to make meaningful business connections. Representatives from ABC Disney, CBS, CNN, Code for Progress, Comcast Ventures, Galvanize Ventures, General Assembly, Google, IBM, MyFabFinance, NBCUniversal, New York City Housing Authority, Red Cross, Saatchi & Saatchi, Scripps Networks Interactive, Silicon Harlem, Syncom Venture Partners, Time Warner, Travel Noire, Uber, Vaudeville Ventures, Viacom and XO Group were among those in attendance and on the speaker line-up. In addition to Bloomberg, event sponsors included DDN’s founding partners: Time Warner, The New York Times, The Walt Disney Company; and Warner Bros. Entertainment; as well as annual corporate sponsors: Comcast/NBC Universal, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Viacom. Photos from the event are in the gallery
This observation from panelist Mina Seetharaman, Global Director of Content Strategy & Global Integrated Solutions, The Economist Group, underscored the consumer engagement proposition and was one of the key takeaways at Digital Diversity Network’s (DDN) Content Strategy Salon, presented in partnership with Viacom, on Thursday, May 8th in New York City. “Storytelling,” added Seetharaman, “is essential in order to inform, educate, inspire and connect a brand to a specific consumer.”
Much like storytelling, the Content Strategy Salon was designed to inform, educate and inspire diverse professionals in the digital media sector. More than 100 attendees, described by one of our Tweeters as a “great and powerful crowd”, were on hand at Viacom’s headquarters to establish connections –both live and on social media–and glean thought-provoking business insights from a panel of distinguished industry experts. The conversation extended beyond the walls of The Lodge at Viacom with more than 70,000 impressions on Twitter.
Digital Diversity Network board directors Richard Gay, EVP, Strategy & Operations, Viacom Music Group; and Dhanusha Sivajee, CMO, AOL Brands, kicked off the event with a welcome on behalf of our hosts, Viacom, and DDN, respectively. Kedma Brown, VP, Director of Integrated Production, Saatchi & Saatchi (and also a DDN board director) led the panel discussion on building buzz; viral and social traffic; and increased ROI for brands across multiple platforms.
Featured speakers included: Rosa Alonso, Creator & CEO, MiVidaTec.com and VP, Group Account Director, IMM; Michelle Lee, Chief Content Officer, Magnified Media; Karim Mawji, SVP, Digital Platform, Music & Entertainment Ad Sales, Viacom; and Mina Seetharaman.
Other key observations from our panelists included:
- Content strategy is about fan engagement.
- Buying “likes” is a double-edged sword. Consumer engagement, rather than the number of (meaningless) likes, is more critical to success.
- Know your brand and your audience. Avoid simply duplicating someone else’s strategy.
- Know your data.
- Latinos, compared to other demographic groups, don’t consume as much video on mobile devices so, depending upon your audience, a “mobile-first” strategy might not be optimal.
Video Highlights from the Content Strategy Salon
A Conversation with Amos Winbush, III, Founder & CEO, CyberSynchs, Inc.
While other entrepreneurs were waiting out the recession, Amos Winbush, III founded CyberSynchs, a New York-based technology company that specializes in universal data synchronization transfer. At the age of 26, the then-aspiring musician launched the company from his studio apartment in 2008 with just $250 and has grown it into a billion dollar business with major licensing partnerships on three continents.
Winbush first shared a sound bite of his story with Digital Diversity Network (DDN) at our second annual New York City Cloud Gathering Conference last October. And, we wanted more details! DDN Board Chair Tracy Lawrence, chats, in a phone interview, with Amos about building a tech company, and his upcoming television series that will help to open doors for emerging tech entrepreneurs.
Second Annual NYC “Cloud Gathering” Highlights Innovation, Disruption & Transformation
“Awesome” and “amazing” were the adjectives most commonly used to describe Digital Diversity Network’s (DDN) second annual New York City “Cloud Gathering” Conference on Thursday, October 3rd at The New York Times Conference Center in Manhattan. Themed, Innovation, Disruption & Transformation, the event featured a speaker line-up of nearly 40 diverse industry thought leaders from the realms of advertising, media, entertainment, education, healthcare, hospitality, mobile and private equity.
The venue was filled almost to capacity with approximately 130 digital “natives” and “immigrants” in attendance throughout the day and provided an intimate setting for interaction and networking with speakers and attendees, alike.
With a full-day agenda comprising panel discussions, one-on-one “Tech Talk” conversations and entrepreneurial Power Pitch sessions, the New York “Cloud Gathering” Conference provided insights into: (a) Cutting-edge technology; (b) identifying talent and managing teams in the Innovation Economy; (c) New rules of consumer engagement as technology disrupts the advertising industry; (d) Connecting with multicultural consumers, globally, across a broad spectrum of industries and platforms; and (e) Seizing opportunities in the emerging healthcare technology sector.
During a Tech Talk moderated by Janel Martinez, technology editor, Black Enterprise, Ntiedo Etuk, founder & executive chairman, DimensionU, introduced the term, digital immigrants, in reference to those who did not grow up with technology, and shared how he has utilized the capacity for technology to engage children as a vehicle for enhancing and democratizing education.
In a Tech Talk moderated by The New York Times senior editor, Dana Canedy, MacArthur “Genius Fellow” and Majora Carter Group Consulting CEO, Majora Carter, spoke passionately about her efforts to create sustainable communities with diverse economic role models and to ensure that underserved populations are creating technology enterprises. She especially emphasized the importance of learning how to code and her personal involvement in programs targeted to young girls.
Bonita Stewart, VP, Americas, Partner Business Solutions, Google talked about her extensive background in marketing; the importance of “sponsors” vs. “mentors”; and the importance of taking on new assignments and demonstrating excellence throughout her career ascent in a Tech Talk moderated by Suzanne Spector, technology editor, The New York Times. Stewart also emphasized the current industry needs for engineers and people who know how to code.
The “Cloud Gathering” Conference was capped off by a reception, hosted in partnership with Silicon Harlem and Urban Latino, on the rooftop lounge of The Copacabana and included an appearance by former New York Mets star, Dwight “Doc” Gooden.
Event sponsors included DDN’s founding partners: Time Warner, The New York Times, The Walt Disney Company; Warner Bros. Entertainment and 21st Century Fox; annual sponsors: Bloomberg, Comcast/NBC Universal and Viacom; and conference sponsors: HBO and Pitney Bowes. Strategic partners included: the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) and MMTC (Minority Media Telecommunications Council).
Additional photos from the event are in the gallery below.
See complete gallery here
LA “Cloud Gathering” Showcases Diverse Executives in Digital Media & Entertainment
More than 100 industry professionals were on hand as Digital Diversity Network (DDN) hosted its inaugural Los Angeles “Cloud Gathering” Conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, June 4. The one-day symposium, themed, Leveraging the Digital Evolution, was presented in partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and featured a speaker line-up of nearly 30 diverse industry thought leaders from leading consumer, entertainment, media and mobile brands.
During the conference opening, Annenberg School Dean Ernest J. Wilson, III, Ph.D., illustrated the “scissor effect” as media “consumption” by people of color trends upward while media “production” by people of color trends downward. His vision for the Annenberg School is closely aligned with DDN’s vision to help ensure that the hi-tech producer/earner economy more closely mirrors that of the consumer/user economy.
In a multi-media presentation, luncheon keynoter, Malik Ducard demonstrated how two turntables and a microphone fueled his passion for technology as a young child growing up in The Bronx and, ultimately, led him on the path to becoming content partnerships director for YouTube.
During a Tech Talk moderated by Jonathan Taplin, director, USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, Albert Cheng shared how his engineering background provided a solid foundation in problem-solving skills that are essential to his current role as EVP & chief product officer, Digital Media, Disney ABC Television Group. And, in a Tech Talk moderated by Ernest J. Wilson, III, Dorinda Marticorena talked about her background in brand management and how she utilizes those skills in her role today as SVP, Worldwide Marketing & New Technology, Warner Home Video & Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.
Panel topics included: Game Changers: The Entertainment & Media Evolution; Always On: Brand & Content Marketing; Pushing the Boundaries: Video Games & Hollywood; and The Digital Video Platform: Promises & Pitfalls. Speaker photos and agenda may be found on the Conference Agenda section of this site.
In a word, “exceptional” summed up attendee feedback on the conference content and the opportunities for networking and business exchange among other professionals and entrepreneurs.
“Lessons From the Presidential Election: How Demographics, Data Analytics and Digital Media are Changing Marketing Paradigms”
Wind, rain, nor winter storms could stop digital natives from attending our March 19th breakfast and panel discussion at Time Inc. in New York City. The event was sponsored by Weber Shandwick and featured Phil Colón, honorary chairman & founder, Voto Latino and CEO & co-founder, Project 2050 Inc.; Allyson Hugley, EVP, measurement analytics & insights; Weber Shandwick; and Amelia Showalter, director of digital analytics, Obama for America. Clayton Banks, CEO, Ember Media moderated the conversation.