SMWNYC 2011 – Keynote by David Eastman

Description from the Social Media Week New York schedule event listing:

A keynote will begin the week by Hub Host David Eastman who is CEO of JWT North America. He is responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the North American network with a particular focus on the JWT head office, New York.

David is also Worldwide Digital Director for JWT. In this role, he is responsible for the strategic oversight and management of the digital discipline within JWT and all subsidiary companies.

Event Recap:

Social Media Week New York at the Business, Media & Communications content hub at JWT kicked off with a welcome by founder and executive producer Toby Daniels and a keynote speech by David Eastman, the Worldwide Digital Director of JWT and the CEO of JWT North America.

Eastman opted to go “old-school”, as he called it, that is, he spoke without slides.  This meant he was able to cover a lot of what’s going on today in the world of social media, but it also means that I don’t have very many fun visuals to share with you.  Eastman called his approach a “tapas” style overview, and like the meal he alluded to, his keynote left the audience hungry for more.

What is the wider social dynamic in the world today as far as social media goes?  The news focuses on Twitter and its role in the recent demonstrations in the Middle East, but this is a narrow view.  Young people worldwide are embracing a wide range of social networks and tools to spread their generation’s messages.  Similarly, innovative brands are leveraging new social media technology to engage their audiences at a much deeper level.  While some brands only view social media as a new channel for advertising, brand programs like PepsiCo’s PepsiCo10 are showing what social media is capable of.

There are risks inherent in how we embrace social media, especially those who see it as an end to itself, rather than a means for engagement.  Some people are spending so much time collecting online friends and followers that they’ve forgotten how to interact on a personal basis.  In other words, social media has the ability to make us less social if we use it poorly.  If we keep its social core in mind, though, we can use it to create an extra layer of identity,  For example, Eastman is excited about the idea of connecting an online presence to the real-world market, be it through RFID tags, StickyBits, and any other emerging technology.  These connections create the potential for new and innovative marketing programs and customer engagement.

Media companies and content providers are becoming one and the same, and in doing so they’re shifting the focus from social media to social business.  We’ve only begun this journey, but Eastman summed up the result very succinctly: “Social is not just the way that brands do business, it’s the business that they do.”

Analysis and Commentary:

By focusing on the importance of using new channels to engage with customers (instead of just speaking at them through non-interactive means), David Eastman gave an excellent introduction to the week’s program and made a segue way into the panel on social gaming that followed.

We’re still just getting started in the social media space.  Speakers and panelists throughout Social Media Week will be explaining how brands, advertisers, and consumers are pushing the envelope in the social media space.  Stay tuned!

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