What can industries learn from Web Summit 2022?

December 22, 2022 – 10:43 am

Credit: Paulo Mumia

The Web Summit is one of the largest technological and innovation events, and this year’s edition was visited by more than 70,000 people who filled Lisbon for four days. The audience, almost predominantly female (42%), gathered from 160 countries, and Brazil arrived with the second largest delegation, with 25 stages where the attractions were shared. Perhaps the greatest beauty of these festivals is that each one chooses a song and ends up having a different vision and/or thought about the content.

Already known for presenting geopolitical issues, the surprise of 2022 was certainly the participation of the Ukrainian first lady, Olena Zelenska (every year the opening has a name that is not revealed, and this time it was well worth waiting to hear it). It was an emotional, if not historic, moment to hear so much about war and how technology can restore the earth and bring peace.

Another important topic that came up during the conversation was Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Social and Environmental Initiatives at Apple, who reflected on how social justice, racial equality, diversity and sustainability are also part of the commitment of large companies to generate a positive impact on society.

However, in addition to discussions with social prejudices and which should guide the agenda of discussions, especially when we talk about innovations, there could not be missing panels focused on the universe of social networks, new platforms, influencers and retail.

Below, I go a little deeper into the main thinking points that we can leave on the radar as lessons learned and insights for future business strategies.

#1 Metaverse

Featuring Naomi Gleit, Product Manager at Meta, the talk was aimed at reducing the “hype”, since no one has much ownership of this universe yet. She shared an interesting point of view about Meta: that the metaverse will happen with or without Meta. It was one of the first events where I witnessed such transparency. Brands are testing and there is a lot of PR around the topic, but few profitable cases. The view that the realization of the metaverse requires the connection of several companies.

However, that doesn’t mean you should give up testing or be prepared for that time. After all, those who live following the trends are already behind🇧🇷 We leave the 20% for testing new things, and we guarantee 80% within our security, but not forgetting to prepare the horizon in advance.

#2 Cryptocurrency

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, one of the largest cryptocurrency managers, made an important and necessary point about regulation to protect consumers and encourage innovation.
Much of the talk was in the “tokenization” of these assets and, also, in the digital twins that get a “duality” from physical to digital cars and houses.
However, with a recession, they see declines because the stock market will eventually stabilize.

#3 Climate and sustainability

In the midst of the climate crisis, Lisa Jackson mentioned how much we need to ask the community to participate in this process, because they have legitimate doubts about how well companies have been working, and rightfully so. The challenge here is to make a change and not just think about profit. In another conversation, Alain Sylvain commented that 80% of consumers prefer brands with purpose, coherence and impact, pillars that have been part of Unilever’s strategy for several years, for example.

Namely, the company recently launched the “Each U Does Good” campaign, which shows how through each brand we act in search of a better future for the planet and for the next generations. In addition, it also highlights how we can transform the community into agents of change, since by consciously choosing products that create a positive impact, they are already contributing to a better world. It is a collective action, like a two-way street – people from here and people from there – that creates a great effect.

#4 New platforms

Just like SXSW, TIKTOK continues to be a platform revolution, where the story model becomes entertainment and the protagonist is community followers, which escalates engagement. So it ends up being a moment of relaxation and almost online therapy.

Its large and rapid expansion has enabled a journey different from what companies are used to and, consequently, a change of course in digital strategies. Certainly, 2022 represented a major turning point and, especially in Brazil, brands began to adopt more and more online advertising, but in a way that less and less interrupts the content, but integrates with it, generating more natural conversations and providing a greater connection with consumers . In addition, it is extremely important that the advertised product speaks to the influencer’s narrative, generating greater credibility.

At Unilever, for example, we have the premise that the creator is recognized in a campaign or action, that it makes sense to him, because, consequently, it will also make sense to his audience, and thus we will have better results. Another platform that has also been talked about lately is Only Fans. The CEO of the network, Amrapali Gan, pointed out that the platform is not limited to adult content and explained the monetization model, where the creator ends up earning more than the platform and, therefore, the network has grown a lot with the creators.

Gen Z was the theme on 12 different stages and ended up being the biggest consumer of these new platforms, they’ve been using it for a while and they’re looking for entertainment for a reason.

Finally, regardless of the platform, a point of attention that is already known and increasingly strong is a content format that explores experiences, not just the product itself. The reflection came from Jessica Spence, president of one of the largest beverage brands, reiterating that brands must participate in the consumer’s life and relax with it, in order to be relevant at the moment of decision-making in the act of acquisition.

#5 Retail

On the retail front, topics that have technology at their core have been thought-provoking, such as automating farm-to-plate logistics, advancing fast-paced commerce to become sustainable, and how artificial intelligence can help businesses. dark shops provide more quality, considering the behavior of consumers.

Neil Pail, founder of NP Digital and named one of the top 10 marketers by Forbes, discussed in his panel the importance that the field of research is taking on in e-commerce like Amazon, as consumers today research and seek opinions about the products they want within the platform. This creates an opportunity for the media space to work with ads that provide a good user experience and win them over there, within the e-commerce space they are browsing, making the practice of buying keywords from competitors obsolete.

Within the retail world, one of the most anticipated talks was from Shein, a global phenomenon in today’s e-commerce, but it was a quick talk based on how they are using AI for procurement, research, among other areas. They also presented a brief overview of the circular economy projects they are working on.

Extra tip: There were more than 2,500 startups worth keeping an eye on. In most pavilions, there was a clear desire for innovation, with many young people giving inspirational speeches for the betterment of the planet. On the event website you can learn more about the startups, including many Brazilian ones that were present.

In conclusion, the interesting thing about these events is how they end up changing our way of thinking and, when we come back, I believe we look at our projects and requirements in a different way, try to innovate more, be more agile, more inclusive and really relevant when solving problems consumer. It is a collective journey of how we influence other people, either from our companies and/or colleagues, to be agents of change, as innovation should not be a departmental mindset, but an industry mindset.

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