In October Filmby Aarhus and M2 Film hosted this. 2019. This.conference at The South Harbour featured an international line-up of acknowledged speakers, who each shared their perspectives on branding, games, series development, e-sport, streaming, and innovative businesses. This article takes you through some of the highlights from this.2019.
The Nordic Competences
"In the North, we are storytellers." The words are Brian Mikkelsen’s, CEO of The Danish Chamber of Commerce, and opening speaker at this.conference. We grow up with Astrid Lindgren and H.C. Andersen, which makes storytelling a part of our DNA. We need to understand how to capitalize on and benefit from this.
Brian Mikkelsen's point being: Storytelling can be sold. Today the creative industry is responsible for 7 percent of the Danish export, but according to Brian, we can do even better because the potential of the creative industry is vast.
Something else that we are great at in the North – actually world champions - is trust. Great right? Some may call Danes naive, but according to Gert Tinggaard Svendsen, Professor at Aarhus University, our naive trust in each other may be one of the reasons for the success we have in Denmark. Trust is a fundamental part of being Danish. A quality that has been developed across generations. A great example of the level of trust in Denmark is the unstaffed strawberry stands you will find at the roadsides of rural Denmark. The owner of the stand trusts buyers to put their money in a tin. As Gert explained, our trust in each other reduces the amount of "bøvl" [hassle] and makes our transaction-process a lot faster. Which brings us to Gert's conclusion: "Control is good, but trust is cheaper".
Go Global – Be Diverse!
How do you go global? René Rechtman, CEO at Moonbug, which is a global digital network for kids' entertainment, shared his experiences on developing and scaling to global impact. René is also Co-Founder of RFRSH, who owns Astralis and Blast Pro – both of which are also global initiatives. According to René, you need to find the one thing that makes you better than the others and focus on that one thing and nothing else. You need to think big from the beginning – and you need to be loaded. Money is, unfortunately, the key. Also, your global strategy should include diversity. If you want to go global, you need people from all over the world, all genders, skin colors, sexes, types, ages, and languages. That is how you build a global company.
Another advocate of diversity is Charlie Henniker, who is Head of Film Production at The LEGO Agency. In his session, Charlie spoke for inclusivity and implementing diversity in society. A mindset that should apply to everything from the making of same-sex couples in the toy industry to a diversely representative sizing of crash test dummies whose existing standard size puts women at a greater risk of fatal injuries in car accidents. By prioritizing diversity at our workplace, in our creative work, and our lives, we will get the furthest. We should all join the revolution and invest in inclusivity!
Branding to 7 Billion People
How do you brand the United Nations Global Goals to seven billion people? Jakob Trollbäck, the Founder and Executive Creative Director at the New Division, knows how – you create a communication system that is understandable, recognizable, and accessible to all seven billion. For Jakob, this meant designing a communication system like the periodic table, giving every Global Goal its own "element" with individual icon, headline, and color. Systems being the key, Jakob made complex information easy to understand and sharable across nations and cultures.
A big theme at this.2019 was – as the header may reveal – storytelling and audience engagement, and VR is the new big hit in storytelling. Maria Herholdt Engermann and Signe Ungermand from MANND have created the award-winning VR-experience "X-Ray Fashion", which takes you on a journey behind the fashion industry to experience everything from the New York catwalk to a sweatshop in India. X-Ray Fashion was featured in Filmby Aarhus during this.2019 for all participants to try. Maria and Signe's mission for MANND is to develop and challenge immersive media in order to create the next era of branded content, film, and shared experiences. And that, they do. Though a VR-headset and a real path on the ground, you feel like a part of the story. We will unquestionably be seeing more VR-storytelling in the future.
Something, we most definitely also will encounter in the future is games. At this.2019 Mathias Gredal Nørvig, CEO at SYBO – the creators of Subway Surfers – stated, "Gaming is bigger than the film and music industry combined." Games have come to stay, and storytellers have to start seeing the potential. At SYBO, they are reshaping the way we interact with the world through games – like Pokémon Go changed people's perception of games as sedentary amusement. At this.2019, all participants could try SYBO's new AR-game "MARK." Using your phone, you could create virtual graffiti on the walls for others to see through their phones. Mathias is sure that the game industry will continue growing, and that in a few years, we all will be gamers. Spending money on a game or within a game will be just as normal as spending money on going to the cinema. Just like VR and AR, games are becoming part of new immersive storytelling.
Keld Reinicke, Media Executive & Series Expert, shared his perspective on the current and future streaming wars. According to Keld, "Netflix's biggest competitor is sleep". Even though Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Amazon and NBC Universal are all racing to create the first "Netflix killer," Keld predicts that Netflix will stay one of the major streaming services – followed by Disney+, HBO Max and Amazon – all because of their focus on original content. While some focus on original content, the streaming war is also challenged by the big aggregators, such as Apple TV, Amazon, YouSee, Stofa, and Viaplay, who will offer all kinds of content from different providers. In addition to these major streaming services, Keld predicts that the local streaming services, such as DR TV, TV2 Play, and Viaplay, will stay relevant because of the need for local content. With a growing number of streaming services being launched within the next couple of years, we are going to have too many options and we need the aggregators to filter the content for us. According to Keld, 2019 and 2020 are going to be some of the most exciting years for streaming.
Advice for the Future
At this.2019, George Wyndham, Writer and Editor at Contagious (a publication designed for marketers looking for a global benchmark of creative excellence), shared four pieces of advice for the next decade.
1. A warning to heed - Beware of anyone who claims to predict the future. (Ironically).
2. A future to plan for - Anticipate where your puck will be and skate towards it. Like René Rechtman said in his session: "Find your focus and stay focused."
3. A language to learn - Become culturally fluent. Take the American burger chain Wendy's, for instance. Wendy's created the Fortnite character "Wendy," who became famous for smashing freezers containing frozen beef, bringing focus to Wendy's 'always fresh beef' policy. By joining the world of one of their target groups, Wendy's became part of their culture.
4. Knowledge to acquire - To be the best, you should learn from the best. Do whatever you can to continue gaining knowledge.
With this.2019, Filmby Aarhus, and we wanted to give you the opportunity to gain knowledge and insights into the latest trends and global businesses. We wanted to challenge your mindset, whether you are a brand, an organization, a digital media, an upcoming talent or a great storyteller, and we wanted to bring all of this to Aarhus, not having to go to Cannes to get inspired. We hope you learned something new, and we look forward to seeing you next year at this.2020 in Aarhus, Denmark. Date TBA.
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