AOL’s digital prophet Shingy talks messaging, storytelling and VR at 3% Conference

Credit: AOL

At the 3% Conference in New York City, AOL’s resident digital prophet David Shing - better known as “Shingy” - discussed what is exciting him most in today’s tech landscape and how brands are using these technologies in ways that are actually effective.

Shingy kicked off his presentation by poking fun at some of the very innovations that the industry is obsessed with, namely virtual reality. He discussed how brands who ask people to jump through hoops just to experience their VR stunts are ultimately missing the mark since most times consumers would rather just go the extra mile to experience something in real life anyway.

He used Jaguar as an example of a brand who has bucked the trend of VR by using “actual” experiences to its own advantage. Last year, Jaguar pranked consumers at an expo by telling them that they were about to experience what it’s like to ride in a Jaguar F-Type via a VR simulator. Little did they know that the VR helmet they were asked to put on was fake and that their “VR experience” was actually a real ride in a Jaguar – something that they all ultimately agreed was much better than a simulation.

“Nothing can replace reality,” Shingy said.

He also discussed how “the open social web is not happening anymore” and pointed to the fact that the majority of high school kids have private Instagram accounts and are mostly interested in “closed, interconnected networks” like messaging apps, which makes it difficult for brands to reach consumers on these platforms in a way that doesn’t feel invasive.

Yet he pointed to a few brands that have managed to do this successfully, including Dior, which sold a limited number of $4,210 handbags via its WeChat account earlier this year.

“It’s incredible what can happen in these private, connected networks with deep intimacy like that, including purchasing products,” he said.

Stating that he thinks “the most abused word in our industry is storytelling,” Shingy also said that he thinks brands need to focus less on the “telling” aspect and more on the stories themselves.

“Your brand needs to be an experience. And what I mean by that is an experiential brand now co-creates with people, makes them feel connected, and recognizes what they do and rewards them. It also has to be grounded on some sort of reality. The context of story matters,” he said. “People want to make, people want to hack. What can we do to potentially reflect that cultural change in marketing?”

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