At this week’s WP Engine Summit/2020, select cast members of our new make|SHIFT documentary shared their personal experiences with Mary Ellen Dugan, CMO of WP Engine and one of the Executive Producers, about transforming creative technologies to adapt to the ever-shifting digital landscape—especially relevant given these uncertain times.
The feature-length film (which is free to watch) explores the evolution of the advertising industry through the eyes of the agencies and makers behind the brands, from developers to designers to creatives. The panel featured Wesley ter Haar, Founder of MediaMonks; Isabel Kantor, SVP of Technology at Organic; Charles Duncan Jr., VP of Technology at Elephant; and John Eckman, CEO at 10up.
In this new world dominated by Covid-19, the pivotal question seems to be, how will brands adapt? According to Eckman, there will be an increased need for cost-savings measures and a consolidation of multiple platforms, along with envisioning how the office of the present will become the office of the future.
MediaMonks’ ter Haar said that the idea of one message for everyone no longer works and that personalization, without creatives, has just become an excuse for retargeting. Kantor said that VR (Virtual Reality) has the potential to make consumers feel closer to one another but the technology is not quite there yet.
Duncan Jr. listed four ingredients necessary to succeed in this environment: creative, endless technology, business needs, and consumer needs. The question is how to shift those components around to provide people with what they want and need in their lives at this time.
Regarding what technologies we should be looking out for, Kantor said that AI (Artificial Intelligence) will need to become more personal, given that everyone wants a human connection—just not through a bot. Eckman predicted that WordPress and open source will continue to be the source of open community collaboration. The creative process is where you stop collaborating and start competing.
As Mary Ellen Dugan concluded the panel, Let’s go make shift happen.
When historians look back at the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, the thing that will be interesting isn’t that people started to speak back when the internet came about. The thing that will be interesting is, how did we ever think for 50 years people were going to sit quietly and be broadcast to? This notion that the media controlled the story and that everyone else was just a passive observer was never going to be sustainable.
—John Eckman, make|SHIFT