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Artful Insight – #20Things Digital Art Reveals 20 Digital Insights for 2015

Can you spot 20 hashtags of recent Internet happenings in this artful piece of content marketing commissioned by digital innovation group Syzygy? Each hashtag corresponds to a digital insight that could usefully inform your digital strategy.

Check out the hashtags with insights below.

And beyond the insights themselves, note the medium chosen for this content marketing.  Art. Psychologically, using digital art for content marketing makes sense. Art harnesses what Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman calls our ‘System 1’ mind, our instinctive, intuitive and emotional mind that works by association rather than reason. We see art, and we ‘feel’ it, and are moved by it. And because art works by emotional association – sponsored art makes us feel good makes us feel good about the sponsoring company as well.

So could art work as content marketing for your business?  It’s been working for the Catholic Church since the 16th Century, when the Vatican commissioned its content marketing masterpiece, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. Ever since, brands have been working with artists and using art as a marketing medium. Art impresses; art communicates; art has impact.

Surely art certainly beats the Twitter fails, social spam and camouflaged ads (aka native advertising) that pass for content marketing today?

  1. #FlappyBird – Digital is a great leveller. #FlappyBird came from a small independent developer and not a gaming leviathan. Does the levelling power of digital mean your next big competitor or collaborator could be an agile start-up?
  2. #GoogleNest – How will your brand ‘Nestify’ and use a combination of smart connected technology and smart design to refresh products and services? The digital future is the Internet of Things, not the Internet of Screens
  3. #SochiProblems – The Sochi ‘brand experience’ did not live up to expectations and a hashtag hungry world heard about it. Avoid becoming the Sochi of your category by ensuring you under-promise and over-deliver on brand experience
  4. #TwitchPlaysPokémon –  That Amazon went on to purchase for US$970m is testament to the size and buying power of the global gaming community. Do your marketing, sponsorship and innovation investments in 2015 reflect the reality that gaming is bigger than both the music and movie industries?
  5. #FirstKiss – Exhibitionist and voyeuristic in equal measure, #FirstKiss is an ode to our Tinder times where digital technology increasingly mediates human intimacy. In 2015, how could you target a world looking for labels and love?
  6. #25Web – So much more than a mere advertising or publishing channel for brochureware, the Web has become the planet’s leading innovation platform. Is the 25th anniversary of the Web the time to shift out of the early gears of digital marketing and embrace the full potential of digital innovation?
  7. #ActionMovieKid – Helping people show off online has always been a smart digital strategy, but how could your brand learn from #ActionMovieKid and help proud parents show off their progeny online?
  8. #RightToBeForgotten – Google is not a search engine; it is a reputation management system. The #RightToBeForgotten EU legislation reminds us that brand reputation is built not on what brands say about themselves, but what others, especially Google, say about them.
  9. #FacebookExperiment – Aside from the risks of experimenting on people without their consent, the #FacebookExperiment mood highlighted that the Internet now influences not only behaviour but also emotions. In 2015, what will your brand help people feel online?
  10. #IceBucketChallenge –  The #IceBucketChallenge was all about ‘conspicuous compassion’ – looking good by doing good. Could the digital future of your brand lie in conspicuous compassion, managing brand image through conspicuous acts of compassion?
  11. #SaddestManInBrazil – A digital image is not merely worth a thousand words; it is worth an emotional connection. Is 2015 the year when your brand embraces the power of online imagery to resonate more emotionally with audiences
  12. #PotatoSalad –  Crowdfunding prank on KickStarter to back a potato salad meal received $55,492 funding showed how digital culture likes to mock itself. How could your brand use digital culture-jamming to make playful fun of the latest tech trends in 2015?
  13. #MonkeySelfie – So humans are not the only selfie-prone simian species. Could selfies culture be a foundational part of our digital identity – a digital mirror used to prove to the world and to ourselves that we exist? If so, what part could your brand play in this existential game of digital identity construction?
  14. #TheFappening – So sex, scandal and celebrity sell, who’d have thought? The bigger insight is that we’re all, celebrities included, uploading more and more, including our intimate selves to the Internet. What #TheFappening taught us about ourselves is that we don’t need a coercive Big Brother to log our every move and moment, we’re quite happy to do it ourselves
  15. #AlibabaIPO – Does the #AlibabaIPO mean Western digital hegemony is finally over? Perhaps our digital futures may lie to the East, not in Silicon Valley. What could your brand learn from today’s hotbed of digital innovation in Asia?
  16. #DeleteU2 – Personal tech is deeply personal, so hands off! Violating our digital lives with uninvited gifts is to violate us personally. iTunes gift of Songs of Innocence became the most deleted album of all time. Just don’t.
  17. #BendGate – Digital perception is reality. Armed with hashtags, scandal-hungry digital media is not about truth, it is about selling advertising space. If your brand is collateral damage, too bad…
  18. #AlexFromTarget – Don’t underestimate the power of celebrity in digital media. Celebrities may not cause today’s digital sensations, but they certainly validate and amplify them, as Ellen DeGeneres gave a Twitter and TV boost t0 16 year-old Justin Bieber lookalike Alex Lee
  19. #MicrosoftMinecraft – The value of Microsoft $2.5bn purchase of Minecraft lies neither in the game nor the user base, but as a digital platform for creativity. If enabling creativity is what digital does best, what role could your brand play?
  20. #BreakTheInternet – Yes, celebrity and nudity still sell, but Kardashian’s #BreakTheInternet lesson is that it is the Internet, not Hollywood or TV, that has become the new measure and gold standard of fame. If brand fame is what you’re after, digital is your solution


Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.