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Now in its second year, the Digital Transformation Festival is designed to support marketers as they navigate a changing world. With the online event now in full swing, The Drum’s global editors share their top picks from this year’s agenda.

The Drum's Digital Transformation Festival is a five-day event, packed with interviews, panel discussions and presentations. Fittingly, the content is fully virtual, making it accessible on demand to marketers anywhere in the world.

This year, festival content is grouped into five of the big themes shaping the marketing and advertising industry: e-commerce, martech, direct-to-consumer, data and privacy, and brand purpose. Here, The Drum's editors name their personal favourites, engaging and informative sessions not to be missed. 

 

Hold my drink: how alcohol brands are embracing DTC

Cameron Clarke, Editor

“For those of us that have been missing the pub-poured pint, one thing that has made lockdown life a little sweeter has been the rapid rise of drinks brands embracing DTC. Gone are the days of settling for whatever tepid lager was lurking on the local supermarket’s shelves. Now an abundance of choice – from craft beers to specialist spirits – can be on your doorstep at just the click of a mouse.

“But like most direct-to-consumer categories, the alcohol one is becoming extremely competitive as global drinks conglomerates and ambitious independents jostle for supremacy. Consumers are spoiled for choice, and so canny and well-placed marketing is vital in the battle for business.

“So how do you get that right, and reach discerning drinkers with the appropriate tone? That’s what will be up for discussion when our senior reporter Imogen Watson interviews Kathleen Braine, senior director of brand marketing at Anheuser-Busch-owned Babe Wine, and Josh McCarthy, brand communications and digital director at Pernod Ricard, at this week’s festival. Both of these companies are putting huge investment into DTC now, but what’s the long-term play as we imagine a tantalising near future when returning to the pub won’t be such a remote possibility? I can’t wait to find out.”

Hold my drink: how alcohol brands are embracing DTC is available on demand via the festival website. Watch it here.

 

Nurturing digital intimacy: bringing creativity and soul back to marketing

Kenneth Hein, US Editor

“Marketing through the screen you’re looking at is a funny thing. It is really personal, intimate even. But yet, marketers have made the mistake is treating it as a cold, calculated channel. There’s been an absolute obsession with targeted to the tiniest, smallest sliver of audience versus actually using this medium to be creative and warm and engaging.

“We took a look at bringing the soul back to marketing during lockdown and beyond. Top execs from Mondelez International, McCormick & Company and leading PR firm IMRE dig into true personalization at scale. How consumer packaged goods companies are behaving more like direct-to-consumer brands. And the value exchange that needs to exist in order to create a relationship with customers hesitant to give up their first-party data. Panellists even share their thoughts about why strolling around behind the ‘walled gardens’ isn’t such a bad thing for brands after all.

“Tune into this one for tips on how to make people believers in brands by thinking less about targeting and more about consumers’ souls.“

Nurturing digital intimacy: Bringing creativity and soul back to marketing is available on demand via the festival website. Watch it here.

 

AirAsia: from airline to technology company

Charlotte McEleny, APAC Publisher

“My pick for the week of the Digital Transformation Festival is the session with AirAsia’s chief growth and platform officer Ravi Shankar. I was very excited that Shankar agreed to speak with me because I truly believe AirAsia’s move into new categories, such as fresh food and messaging, is the epitome of a digital transformation.

“We all know airlines were the first and worst hit during the pandemic, so to be able to share such an impressive feat of transformation and a positive story, albeit through a lot of grit, determination and hard work, is a real privilege. Through the interview, Shanker shares how the team persevered through the huge challenges the business faced and gives a sneak peek into the AirAsia brand of the future. This is is a session about an Asian business but one that all global brands can learn from.“

AirAsia: from airline to technology company is available on demand from 25 March 8:00am GMT. To be notified when it’s available, register your interest here.

To find out more about the festival and see the full agenda, visit the website.