A Conversation with Dylan Hattem

What are the most innovative trends happening in advertising now?

This is a difficult question. At a glance, the answer may be what you normally see in major headlines: “AR is The Future” or “Blockchain Will Solve All.”

Dylan Hattem | Founder & CEO, DS Projects

Dylan Hattem | Founder & CEO, DS Projects

My approach, however, is a bit more pragmatic and overarching. I see two major trends—authentic and localized content & distribution. Brands of all sizes are learning that local and authentic storytelling is the key to innovation right now. We live in a time when brands can reach a seemingly unlimited audience, yet companies are finding they’re most effective when their campaigns are targeted, speak the language of the modern consumer, and encourage an ongoing dialogue with them.

Of course, once you have great content, where you distribute it plays a critical role. The solution has been around for years, but is still underutilized. Brands have the ability to buy localized media through multiple ad-tech platforms, which allows companies of any size to run global campaigns with more regional touchpoints.

In conversations with one of the largest beverage brands in the world, they are just as bullish on this notion. During a brief with partners, they announced that by 2021, 80% of their advertising will be “localized or personalized.”

How do key cultural moments shape your creative/business decisions?

Key cultural moments are imperative to all creative & business decisions. However, the million-dollar question is deciding which ones are true movements to get on board with and which ones to let pass.

The first question you should be asking yourself is, “Is the relationship between this cultural moment and my brand/product/idea authentic?” If the answer is no, there is no need to put resources behind it. Of course, we all remember when Pepsi teamed up with Kendall Jenner to position her and the company as socially active. The campaign backfired because of Jenner’s

(at least public) persona not being in line with the cause in the slightest and therefore it was not authentic. As a result, consumers did not buy into Pepsi’s purported social activism.

On the flip side, if the answer is Yes, then it’s a beautiful tool to get your brand/produce/idea aligned with. Take a look at Budweiser — at a time when vintage apparel & streetwear are driving shopping trends, they have played an active role by reminding consumers of their close ties to the vintage fashion industry. Their solution is a full 360 approach, including, collaborations with retail partners, using social media channels to highlight their followers wearing vintage Budweiser Merch and authentically partnering with Fashion influencers + creators.

What are some tips for a young professional to stay innovative and bring fresh ideas to the table?

Be confident. The world of advertising is shifting every day. In many instances, young professionals may have fewer years of knowledge compared to the higher-ups, but they have other advantages such as greater familiarly with new technology, platforms, and certainly trends. These advantages can level the playing field and open up great opportunities.

There will be times when experience trumps all (or most) but look at something like IGTV or TikTok — experience doesn’t matter as much as time spent on the platform and a willingness to understand the trends and people that are driving the growth.

 
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