Vision Bristol 2017

The highlights

Five curious, intrepid BLYers recently attended Vision Bristol, a one-day creative conference. In the words of its website, Vision Bristol exists to “open your mind to new ideas and new ways of thinking, compelling you to challenge conventions and gain a deeper understanding of how others are thinking.”

So, were eyes and minds opened? Our five Visionaries talk us through their highlights.– Seb Maki's view, Designer

While others were learning about gaining client trust or digging deep into programmatic, I was getting down with the kids with an absolute corker from 21-year-old straight-talking Timothy Armoo, founder of Fanbytes. Fanbytes is a Snapchat advertising network helping brands reach Generation Z. Their company philosophy is:

We don’t care how many people see your brand.
We care how many people see your brand.

Fanbytes affiliate themselves with a growing number of Snapchat superstars with thousands of followers. These Snapchatters then post content on behalf of brands with results that are smashing response rates and user engagement.

Millennials are quite an un-trusting bunch when it comes to social advertising. The main topic of discussion was keep things raw and authentic. Low budget, real-life video production is the way forward in gaining Millennials’ trust.

So is collaborating with these Snapchat entrepreneurs the future of social advertising? Are the days of beautifully-crafted social ads for millennials a thing of the past? Do we, as agencies, need to dramatically rethink our approach to social? Advertainment is here folks, and we need to keep it real.

The Future of Work After the World of AI – Dwain Thomas' view, Strategy & Innovation Director

It’s certainly a well-discussed subject: Artificial Intelligence and how it will impact the world of work. We heard how driverless cars will put truck drivers and taxi drivers out of work. Personally, I think this is a very short-sighted approach to the world of AI and work in the future. I forecast that all areas of light industry and professional services will be impacted. Creative, legal and professional services – all will be augmented and ultimately replaced by BOT technologies.

A recent Guardian article quoted Elon Musk as saying, “Artificial Intelligence is our biggest existential threat” and The AI Investor says that humanity risks “summoning a demon” and calls for more regulatory oversight, declaring AI the most serious threat to the survival of the human race.

Robotics have already been in the workplace for more than 50 years – and with them, we’ve seen a loss of unskilled jobs in the manufacturing industries. But while there are job losses, the transformation has identified the need for highly skilled technical workers to manage the overall process. This is a natural progression for the white-collar workers and executives across the world.

The Future of Work After the World of AI – Gareth Beck's view, Head of SEO

Apparently, tech will progress more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 200. Ah, yes. "1817: The year the Montgolfier brothers first flew and Mozart wrote his first mass" (sorry, that was Highlander). But it was actually the year of the first ‘ride on bike’, called a Dandy Bike. That’s what, technologically speaking, 2017 will look like compared to 2027.

One of the last things I heard was that the office environment reflects factory working, and we’ve only been doing that for 200 years. Nice serendipity there, although the first factories were seen in around 1720.

Even though the modern office is a continuation of factory working (even down to the length of the working day), it’s interesting that when seven creative directors were asked where they came up with ideas, not one of them talked about the office as being that place. And we deal in creativity, don’t we? If we know that ‘the office’ is flawed, why do we still try and schedule creativity?

Lastly, with Millennials making up 50% of the workforce in the next three years (by 2020), and also being the main decision makers probably slightly later, what does that really mean for the way we work?

Joy and Design: Curiosity drives innovation – Marius Chisholm's view, Front-end Developer

Jim Sutherland, founder of Studio Sutherl&, underlined the importance of embracing an inquisitive mind, both in and out of the workplace. Finding joy in your craft is paramount in achieving success. Excitement’s not only a core motivational tool, but a means to inspire your team, the client, and the world around you.

For many of us, tapping into that world of joy and imagination becomes increasingly more difficult as we get older. Whether it’s life throwing an unexpected curveball, a sense of personal failing, or even just a societal expectation to grow out of it, there are so many ways to fall off the wagon, and it rests solely on our shoulders to clamber back on again.

A quote from the late author/playwright George Bernard Shaw brought the presentation to a mindful close: "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing".

Making with algorithms - Daisay Johnson's view, Project Manager

Anna Rafferty, Global Director of Digital Marketing at BBC, led an engaging presentation focused on the algorithms of Facebook, YouTube and online search. Taking examples from successful Planet Earth social posts and from Google Creative Lab's "Autodraw" AI tool, she delved into the difference and importance of "making something with the algorithm vs. making something for the algorithm."

The creative sector is now pretty good at the latter, but if anyone wants to be pioneering and leading the way, as opposed to playing catch-up with the trends, it's essential to understand the mechanisms and algorithms surrounding each platform.

Whereas Facebook make it clear on how to optimise for improved social engagement, Google and YouTube are a bit more elusive. Anna compared YouTube’s algorithm to a black box with an input and output. Anything inside that box is invisible to the human eye.

But of one thing we can be certain: if you build it, there’s no guarantee the viewers will come. Context, relevance, strategy, timing = quality views and a push to the top of the newsfeed.

For me, there were three key takeaways:

• It's no longer about high views, but about the quality of those views. Does your post get external embeds and engagement (likes, comments, sharing and dislikes), is there relevant and accurate metadata?

• Facebook's organic reach has steadily declined since 2014. Like in the animal kingdom, it's survival of the fittest, and only those best optimised for the correct platforms will reign supreme.

• Google, Facebook, Twitter are simply frameworks in which anyone and everyone can be wildly creative in creating something of the internet, as opposed to on the internet.


Post by

Justin Ballantine