Impressions from Digital Entertainment World 2017


The Digital Entertainment World Conference was a hit with stimulating exhibits and thought-provoking panel discussions spanning over the course of two days. From music and esports to virtual reality and content marketing – #DEW2017 covered the latest trends and developments in the entertainment industry. I left the event with several lasting impressions that ought to be shared if you’re working in the creative space…

Impression #1: Get to the point. 


Take a bed of nails. If you throw a wood board down onto it as hard as you can, it’s too difficult to make any significant impact because there’s too much going on. But if you have a bed with just one nail, it’s more likely that that one nail actually leaves an impression and penetrates through. Joe McCambley, SVP of Content Marketing at POP used this analogy for branding to get across one thing across – when you try to make too many points, nothing penetrates; make one point and make it strong.

“The Return of the Single-Minded Message” reinforces the importance of brand psychology. A brand is the encapsulation of beliefs, images, emotions and a promise to deliver these sentiments to an audience. Nike – “Just Do it.” Energizer – “It Keeps Going and Going and….” Sephora – “The Beauty Authority.” Each illustrates one clear message. One concise story. And one strong point.

Impression #2: Get interesting or get out of the way


Media Psychology is a discipline which studies the relationship between media consumption and human activity. Look at your own behaviors with media and technology. Now compare that to what you were doing, say, 10 years ago. Binging tv is now “a thing.” Everything just about has an app. Seats in a coffee shop are determined by the nearest power outlet.

Media saturation and short attention spans means that content creators and marketers have to create interesting touch points. Without these, you’ll likely be building rejection as opposed to retention. Stories are powerful. So use them because they have the ability to cut through the noise and create more meaningful, tangible experiences.

 Impression #3: Moment x Data x Content = Value 

An experience is a sensation. It’s the moment where you’re emotionally or aesthetically moved by something. You multiple that with the information and content that touched you psychologically, value is achieved. Worth, significance, and appreciation are activated.

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Nolan Bushnell, a founding father of innovation, was present at DEW2017 in a fireside chat to share his thoughts on today’s technology. As the creator of Atari, Chuck E. Cheese and founder of Modal VR, Bushnell said “sometimes reality just sucks.” That feeling of wanting to just disappear and be somewhere else is where experiential media comes in.

Out of all the buzzwords out right now, none are sending every executive into a “should we” frenzy like virtual reality. VR has the potential to not only produce empathy with its first person perspective, but it also can narratively transport the user into any space or time. Therein lies the value of VR and media technology; delivering experiences with the potential to turn a bystander into an emotional stakeholder.

Storytelling in a digital age forces us to be scholarly-practitioners: we much allow research to inform the design of content creation.

DEW attendees, speakers and exhibitors alike all believe in extending the consumer experience with innovative changes. The offer of personalization is spread across all media formats, warranting investigation into how to enhance these experiences with technology. To print the intelligence and content, research data is needed. Get inside your audience. Because in content marketing, you have to fish where the fish are.

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