Your Brand is Alive: News From the Digitas NewFront

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Tony Weisman, CEO of Digitas North America and Arianna Huffington (Courtesy of Digitas)
Tony Weisman, CEO of Digitas North America and Arianna Huffington (Courtesy of Digitas)

Roughly $1 billion was invested in the production of digital media over the past year—about twice the amount Paramount Pictures spends in a year.

That's a “big number and a lot is happening—but so what?” asked Tony Weisman, CEO of Digitas North America, speaking at sixth annual Digitas NewFront 2013 in New York City on May 2.

The “so what” can be answered in one word, says Weisman: “context.”

“In the right context your brand will thrive, it will be alive,” he said. “Context determines if your content lives, drives—or sometimes dies.”

With an eye on context—and in keeping with this year's event theme—“Your Brand is Alive”—integrated/digital agency Digitas made two major announcements at the NewFront, an annual event held each year during Internet week centered on discussion of digital marketing trends.

First off, Digitas will be partnering exclusively with The Huffington Post on real-time content distribution through BrandLIVE, the agency's proprietary content lab. The goal of the BrandLIVE platform is to leverage trending real-time story cycles and social activity on behalf of brands to keep their storytelling as relevant as possible. BrandLIVE, which currently has offices in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, London, and New York, is a bit like a mixture between an agency, a newsroom, and a tech suite. The lab works with more than 20 partners, including BrandWatch, Topsy, and Skyword, to streamline content creation.

Arianna Huffington, chair, president, and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, said the news site is hoping to “harness the power of real-time tools to help brands tell their stories and build relationships while using social media to deepen connections with consumers and the impact brands can have on our lives.”

Digitas also announced an exclusive partnership with Outrigger Media to identify YouTube's rising stars. The “Emerging Talent Tracker” leverages data and logic from the company's OpenSlate platform to determine which of more than 50,000 professionally-produced YouTube channels show the most promise in terms of positive growth factors, including engagement, reach, and influence.

“Built off the YouTube API , OpenSlate allows access to robust data around the audience and subscribers following each of these channels,” said John McCarus, SVP and content practice lead at Digitas.

The tool will allow brands to have “foresight in their choices…and allow us to uncover the next great talents of YouTube before they break,” McCarus said.

It's not about looking at the number of followers or subscribers a channel has, but how fertile they are for future growth. For example, a video like “DIY Envelope Clutch” might only have about 740 views, but the sentiment around it is off the charts.

The tracker will be made available to Digitas clients only beginning in June.

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