Why good companies matter: our key learnings from OMR

They say in German – die Musik spielt in HamburgThe music plays in Hamburg, meaning Hamburg is where the action is. The new place to be, a hotspot of activity.
OMR festival took place Mid May and attracted not only 70 000 professional visitors and marketeers, brand managers, media buyers, journalists, influencers; literally everyone who mattered was there. So was every big market player, from Google to TikTok and Twitch, from Telekom to Vodafone, from Douglas to L’Oreal.. The motto of this year’ festival, the first knock off after two years of absence, seemed to be BANG! Everything was bigger, louder, bolder.

Online marketeers, tired of online meetings and zoom calls, opted for face-to-face conversations, which are the ultimate way to reconnect and discuss topics that matter, now and in the future. These are the lessons we took away from two days filled with meetings, master classes, appearances by celebrities, and DJ sets.

Story matters. More than ever.

You can run the sexiest campaign on earth, but if the user/customer does not remember the brand, who cares? The question remains: what is your core message, what are you as a company/product/services standing for?
Take Alisa Jahnke, founder of the jewellery and lifestyle brand PURELEI, claiming to have brought the aloha vibe to Germany. She gathered inspiration during her semester abroad in Hawaii. She shared how she built a million-dollar company using targeted influencers, weekly collection launch campaigns, and partnerships. We say every great business begins with a great story.

Influencers over? Long live influencers.

Rezo, agent provocateur of YouTube, has already attracted a lot of attention with his “destruction videos” (including the CDU and the German media landscape). On the Red Stage he spoke about influencer marketing and gave insights into the industry: “Manipulation on social media is incredibly cheap, many do it and succeed”.
Manipulation is exactly what TikTok authority Jay (“CEO of Smartphones” as he calls himself) avoids at all costs; he knows perfectly well how his business works. “My foundation is my community, if they would not believe me, I am over”. That is the reason why Jay’s marketing campaigns are authentic and daring, without being bombarded with so many blah blah marketing techniques. He even refuses to apply CTA in his videos, but his 600K followers and 42 Mio. views on TikTok prove: real influencers remain authentic and honest, and would like to have control over their stories, too.

YouTube – brand safety and stricter control

Pedro Pina, YouTube head of Europe, had impressive figures to share: 49 million adult Germans visit the platform every month and watch 40 minutes of YouTube videos every day.
“Viewers are opting for exciting, informative, creator-made content – from the small screen to the living room,” said Pedro Pina in his presentation.

Pedro Pina at the Conference Stage OMR Festival 2022 (Credits: Google/Markus Mielek)

New content is also continuously created. In short, YouTube enables you to reach your target group in every circumstance, in every format, and on every device, precisely because people consume a wide variety of content on it.
According to Pedro Pina, YouTube, because it’s driven by so many creators, provides brands with a safe environment. This has been accomplished through the use of machine learning technology and by utilizing thousands of human content reviewers. Advertisers also have control over what topics they want to be associated with on YouTube.

New ways of searching and consumer data protection play a key role in advertising.

Photo: Admitad

Emre Dogan, Google Director Germany and EMEA HUB Search and Retail Sponsor, spoke about how changing customer behavior is changing the role of digital marketing and thus also of Google Search. There is a focus on increased expectations from companies, not only in terms of service, but also in terms of privacy and data protection. As a result, search engine optimization should be considered more as an agile performance driver with which you can achieve your goals through automation. Connecting marketing goals and metrics to overarching customer and business goals is helpful, but real data is key. The ability to react in real time to changes in customer and market needs – using the right data strategy and technology – would be a key ingredient to succeed in performance marketing.

Technology is not a movement. But technology might save the world.

Frank Thelen is probably the tech investor in Germany best known to the general public. With his autobiography “Startup-DNA” and his second book “10xDNA” he even made it onto the Spiegel bestseller list. He spoke about “current technological developments” and why they make our world better. In this new digital world, partnerships are crucial; we would only survive if we shared efforts and built functional networks. Hear, hear!

Streaming is the new thing, isn’t it?

Hollywood in Hamburg. On the OMR conference stage, Quentin Tarantino made quite an appearance himself. “Look, I am just someone who writes scripts and directs movies,” he replied, slightly annoyed, when asked whether he sees himself as a brand.

Quentin Tarantino at OMR conference stage. Photo: Admitad

How about the wonderful new world of streaming services such as Netflix? Quentin fires back: ”Do you ever remember the title of the last movie you saw on Netflix? But everyone knows and remembers Pulp Fiction. Cinema experience is something I miss here – the experience of watching a movie in a cinema with a whole group of people. What I also miss in the film industry now is that we are not part of the cultural conversation any longer”. It’s possible Hamburg has a spleen for Tarantino and that’s why he shifts moods, but we truly hope that the film industry resides very much at the epicenter of culture and zeitgeist.

Smartest tech Investment? Contributing to people’s happiness.

Ashton Kutcher on OMR conference stage. Photo: Admitad

Ashton Kutcher (investor, not actor please!) discussed with tech journalist Kara Swisher how to change the world – from trading to investing to activism. Being asked what makes a good business to invest into, he responded: “One that aims to improve people’s lives and make them a bit happier”.

Makes sense. Ashton’s investment portfolio is impressive, from airbnb to Uber, all being very successful startups turned multibillion heavy companies. That’s why Silicon Valley angel investors and Wall Street wolves don’t share their insights with him anymore, Ashton jokingly noted. Chapeau – when can we book the next advisor’s meeting?

We saw a lot, we have learned a lot. Despite uncertainty, the industry is moving, seeking answers, and remaining optimistic. The future might look different than we had envisioned two years ago, but there are plenty of options. It’s up to us to decide which ones to take.

See you at OMR 2023!

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