Creative agencies, the Edge Effect conference, and Digital Asset Management

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Last week, I visited my old stomping grounds in Chicago to hang out with the agency crowd at the American Advertising Federation’s Edge Effect conference. I’m pretty sure I was the only attendee from out of state (drove from Madison, WI), and one of the only marketers from an in-house team.

Chicago Neighborhood

Coming from an agency background, I’m always interested in understanding what agencies are up against, the challenges they face, and the kind of work they’re doing. After working at Widen and making use of digital asset management (DAM), it’s easy for me to see why DAM is critical to an agency’s business. So I want to help agencies realize the benefit, too, whenever possible.

This is why digital asset management should be on every creative agency’s radar:

1. Digital asset management is a competitive differentiator for any agency of any size.

2. A digital asset management system keeps your brand assets secure (the work that agencies create IS an asset – to their own brand and the brands of their clients) and enables those assets to be repurposed.

3. Digital asset management is every new business director’s best friend.


Edge Effect Schedule

The Edge Effect speakers from Allstate, Leo Burnett, Southwest Airlines, Relevant24, and true[x] had a lot of great things to say that absolutely reinforced my belief in the necessary marriage of DAM and creative work. These are the highlights from their stories.


1. On fierce and fearless advertising 
A panel of experts from Leo Burnett, Allstate and true[x], talked about the agency/client relationship and how they work together to move advertising forward that may initially scare the client or be outside of their comfort zone.

Key Takeaways:

  • Be brave with advertising. There are times when clients don't want fearless advertising and that tends to be when there's a lot at stake. Yet, that may be when they need to be brave the most. 
  • It's all about the emotional connection and storytelling, not shock value or being audacious. You need to connect with people’s values. People want brands that connect with their values; they want to differentiate through you, by being authentic.
  • Empower your customers to be advocates on behalf of your brand. It's more of a dialogue between the brand and consumer.
  • If you get the thinking right and the work goes with the strategy you're always going to get it right. The work will be good and people will relate to it, then want to share it. 
  • Fear is a key driver of breaking down the walls in advertising. Good work can get watered down by fear and then the great work is never seen.

Cited example: Allstate’s Mayhem campaign. It just keeps getting better because Allstate and Leo Burnett have a collaborative, trusting relationship. 


2. On social selling
At Southwest Airlines, the frontline employees embody everything the company is about. Brooks Thomas, Communications Advisor at Southwest, shared how they rely on their people to be legendary and empower them to make the emotional connection with stakeholders on behalf of Southwest.

Southwest Edge Effect

Key Takeaways:

  • Customer advocates can be a huge source of promotion in your social channels. Their people are their celebrities. Make your customers your super stars.
  • Data is important from the perspective of staying ahead of the curve. Organizations must figure it out before their competitors jump in and beat them to it. 
  • Gather customer content that reinforces who you are and what you represent. Design campaigns to utilize User Generated Content.
  • Pay attention to your mix of assets – especially for what you share socially. Twitter has more quick hits, versus LinkedIn with a business slant, or blogs with more information, and Instagram with stunning photographs.
  • Tailor your messages for your personas!! Cater to their needs by virtue of what you’re going to say to them. Know their nuances and personalize the experience – craft that message/experience and show you care. 

Cited example: Internal video to celebrate the employee on corporate site (swan life) then share video on social media, empower them to be a speaker out there about Southwest.


3. On storytelling through video
Agencies have moved from telling stories through TV commercials to telling short stories via social videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Snapchat). So how do you make a great short-form video that brings a story to life in a matter of seconds? By gaining consumer attention, making use of powerful narrative, and compiling a few marketing properties that will bring great return.

Key Takeaways:

  • The ideal video length for consumer attention span is about 1 minute 35 seconds. And the hook must be in first 5 seconds.
  • Define your audiences/personas in order of importance. 
  • Repurpose by building videos for social then backing out the design for more traditional media. 
  • Teenagers love Vines! They watch the short videos multiple times and create influencers and have power and reach globally.
  • Build media for each channel where you share content. Strategize that way. Be focused.


4. On the rise of video in social media
A panel of Allstate, Leo Burnett, and Facebook discussed how creatives and marketers can leverage video all kinds of ways via social media.

Key Takeaways:

  • Create snackable video content for mobile in order to get the best return.
  • TV is dying except for sports.
  • Video really performs for social, so go in with a plan and know what you want to capture for the platform rather than reusing and clipping down something else for a different channel.
  • Take your creative assets and put the right messages around them to speak to the right audience. Use language and placement that makes sense to them. 
  • Likes and comments are not the best way to measure success of a social video. Use reach and frequency for engagement. 
  • Online and offline video have different KPIs. It’s an awareness metric versus an online conversion metric. With social you can tag things and see whats causing a lift, but you can't tell how much you sell because of it. 
  • Be programmatic. Determine how long you will run a campaign and what metrics you hope to get from it. The ideal is to have a target message and media for each persona, with goals associated for each channel or social platform.


5. On the content solutions of the future
Founder of Relevant24, Marc Gallucci, made a great point about being connected – that all the connecting we’ve done has actually created a marketing disconnect. With all the content and messages out there, it’s hard to keep track of relevant content, and to keep that content on brand and on target.

Key Takeaways:

  • Map your audience’s interests and serve them the right content to meet their interests at the right time
    • Who are they? What's important to them?
    • What happens in their daily lives?
    • How old are they, where do they go each day. How do you start a conversation with them and what are the different ways into those conversations? 
  • Create content for all of the opportunities – what are you creating? For whom? And how do you want that content to influence what your audiences do next?
  • Be agile. Create quality work while the relevance window is still open. If the content is not relevant anymore, kill it and move onto your next relevant idea.
  • Create and continue the story of your organization through culture every day.
  • The Interest map is the foundation and the moment system is the triangle of moments that people care about – cultural, interest, routine. 
  • Create content around any daily event that could be happening – holiday, weather, celebrity, travels. Track moments and create custom content for the moment. Then boost it socially.


If you’re an agency wanting to understand how DAM can help your creative workflows, see our agency resources on

Or, contact us to speak with one of our expert DAM advisors!

Topics: Events

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