Browsing articles tagged with " sabaa quao"

Future of Media Preview: Q&A with /newsroom’s Sabaa Quao

Mar 7, 2013   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  1 Comment

by David Silverberg

In our final Future of Media preview Q&A, we spoke to Sabaa Quao, Chief Marketing Officer of Digital Journal Inc. and co-founder of /newsrooms. Quao has managed teams dedicated to the future of marketing and advertising, and he’ll join the decorated panel at the upcoming Future of Media discussion on March 14 in Toronto.

Quao boasts extensive marketing experiences, having helped launch of the Toronto Raptors and Playdium Entertainment, rebranded the CN Tower and the Directors Guild of Canada, and led special projects for Toronto International Film Festival Group, Nortel Networks, Roots, RBC Royal Bank, Levi’s, Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications, The Beer Store, GlaxoSmithKline, McCain Foods, Corona, Coca-Cola, and Jack Daniel’s.

In this interview, he discussed why brands should embrace “continuous marketing,” why analyzing marketing performance is now more important than ever and the major mistakes companies make in their content marketing initiatives:

You’ve worked in marketing and advertising for years, so explain how that world has changed over the past several years and what trends are emerging in this space, specifically in digital.

Quao: Marketing and advertising has always managed to keep at pace with or slightly ahead of “culture”. That was until the pace of technology outpaced the capacity for people and agencies to keep up. So the agencies, I think, have to pick their battles and stop claiming to be able to do it all. Not only does the claim ring hollow, some won’t recover from the failure when they try. Rather than go it alone, I think the best creative and marketing teams will learn to collaborate like mad. From those collaborations, the unique combinations that arise will pleasantly surprise the clients, their audiences, and event the agencies themselves.

The other emerging reality of agencyland and marketing outputs is the hell that arises from everything digital being measurable. There’s no escaping it. The verification of marketing performance is never, ever, ever going away. Deal with it. By no means am I implying that one should give in to everything being measured — the best creative directors and marketers are going to know when to ignore the numbers at the front end and still deliver the right results at the back end.

What brands are at the forefront of branded content or content marketing? What lessons can they teach other companies?

Quao: Coke and Red Bull are the two brands that come to mind. At the Coke end, their extremely well-articulated vision of content marketing is the most coherent I’ve seen and heard. Everyone can learn from that.

At the Red Bull end, the consistency of their adrenaline content is remarkable and the word that comes to mind is actually “patience.” There’s no trendy fast decision to “Hey, let’s have a guy jump from space”. There’s patience in nurturing relationships to eventually end up dominating the Dakar rally. This all points to the long view Red Bull has around their chosen content.

When it comes to analytics and ROI, how can brands best take advantage of branded content and social media campaigns and get the best bang for their buck? What should they be looking for after specific campaigns?

Quao: Every campaign offers the opportunity to learn something new. It’s always worth diving into the quirks and patterns that emerge from a completed campaign. The best bang for the buck then comes from doubling down on new directions. This is a remarkably consistent way for our /newsrooms team to find new audiences. The next campaign invariably adds communities and audiences to the mix whom we’d never known were relevant before until we looked at the sparks that emerged from a prior campaign.

Should brands become publishers? What type of brand is best suited in becoming a CNN for their product?

Quao: No, brands should not become publishers, it’s not their core business. At the same time, brands must realize that they have no choice but to publish. A paradox.

Rather than try to become CNN or BBC World News, brand should collaborate with entities that can operationally run that race. A generation ago, did brands build their own television or film studios? No, they did not. But the collaboration with television and film producers got brands credibly into many forms of branded content.

What’s the future of content marketing? It’s a buzz word today but where do you see it five years from now, say?

Quao: Content marketing won’t go away. I don’t think it’s a buzz word. However, it’s a subset of the more important wave called “continuous marketing”. The audience is always on, the social media channels are always always open.

As a result, there needs to be considerable thought put to finding ways for the marketing machine to never turn off. Content becomes one of the steady inputs, but the data crunching and testing, the perpetual co-creation, the software-driven responses and productions, and more are all going to be around too.

Explain the most common mistake by brands diving into social media and how they can avoid making this mistake again.

Quao: The most common mistake brands can make is to fall into the same tired and meaningless social media industry clichés. If I hear another social media flak advise brands to be authentic, I’m going to gag. Instead brands should have some courage to step into the darkness. Alone. They need to feel their way around, and come out of the darkness with something new to say and do. And some of it won’t work. These aren’t “mistakes”, it’s sometimes just stuff that didn’t work. Get over it. Move on. And the brand teams don’t always need to step out with something radical that the organization can’t sustain or absorb. There’s room for gentle and reasonable innovation.

The other mistake I sometimes hear is the notion that one must hand the brand over to the consumer because that’s what the consumer wants. Really? I don’t think a brand should ever entertain that thought. Instead, think like a platform. Hand over a framework or a sandbox that the consumer can step into and collaborate with. There’s a big difference, that’s not handing over the keys to the shop.


The upcoming Future of Media event will take place Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Toronto’s Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen Street West) at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is free and open to the public. Note: Seating is limited so it will be first-come, first-served. Previous events have hit capacity very quickly so early arrival is highly recommended.

For other Future of Media Q&As, go to our interviews with:
Digiday’s Josh Sternberg
Buzzfeed’s Jonathan Perelman
Globe & Mail Steve Ladurantaye

Future of Media event to discuss & debate branded content with experts from Digiday, Globe & Mail and /newsrooms

Jan 29, 2013   //   by admin   //   Blog, Future of Media 2013  //  2 Comments

 

All-star panelists to delve into world of native advertising, brands as publishers, journalism’s role in sponsored content and where digital media is headed. Follow #FOM2013 on Twitter for updates

TORONTO — Digital Journal Inc. announced its next Future of Media event featuring some of the most influential leaders in media and branded content.

The event will take place March 14 in Toronto and will feature executives and leading experts from the Globe & Mail, Digiday, /newsrooms and the Custom Content Council.

Future of Media events are panel discussions that explore how current trends, technologies, business practices and social media innovation affect both the media industry and its audience. At this year’s event the focus will go beyond just media and look at marketing and advertising as well.

The upcoming Future of Media event will take place Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Toronto’s Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen Street West) at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is free and open to the public. Note: Seating is limited so it will be first-come, first-served. Previous events have hit capacity very quickly so early arrival is highly recommended.

On the panel discussing the booming trend of branded content is: Josh Sternberg, reporter at digital media news outlet Digiday; Steve Ladurantaye, media reporter at the Globe & Mail; Sabaa Quao, Chief Marketing Officer of Digital Journal Inc. and co-founder of /newsrooms; and Joseph Barbieri, Founder & President of BESPOKE Group Inc. and Board member of the Custom Content Council. Future of Media discussions are must-see events for anyone interested in the rapidly changing landscape of media, the Web and digital technology. The March 14 event will focus particularly on a trend the digital media world is clamoring to talk about: brands as publishers.

The panel discussion will focus on the following topics:

  • What is the role of branded content (aka brand journalism or content marketing) in media?
  • How will branded content play a role in the future of media for both brands and media companies?
  • What do brands need to know as they make the transition into becoming publishers?
  • Should media companies and brands invest in branded content, and what are the pros and cons?
  • Does sponsored content create an unholy alliance between brands and media companies?
  • What role does everyone play in the branded content industry?
  • How will agencies, marketers, journalists, brands and media companies collaborate and compete?

These are just a few of the hot topics to be discussed at the Future of Media event in March. The event will feature a live panel discussion followed by a Q&A session. Future of Media will be covered live on Twitter via the hashtag #FOM2013 and questions will be taken via Facebook and Twitter to pose to panelists.

Future of Media 2013 Speaker Bio: Sabaa Quao

Jan 28, 2013   //   by admin   //   Future of Media 2013, Speaker Bios  //  1 Comment

Sabaa QuaoSabaa Quao is the Chief Marketing Officer of Digital Journal Inc. and co-founder of /newsrooms.

Quao is a creative director, business strategist, and career entrepreneur who has a passion for emerging platforms in the digital media and marketing space. From cloud-inspired business models, to bending (and sometimes breaking) Facebook, to building social media-driven transactions, Quao has managed teams dedicated to the future of marketing and advertising.

Quao founded and ran XCORPORATION for 10 years, an intense and accomplished communication and design firm in Canada. He eventually moved to London UK and tightened XCORPORATION’s focus around new brand and enterprise development

In addition, FILMINUTE is the International One-Minute Film Festival Quao founded with John Ketchum in 2005, based in London, Bucharest, and Toronto.

In London, Quao ran Capacity Networks, a media and entertainment IP commercialisation company formed from a merger between Helsinki and Oxford-based technology and software development companies.

With degrees in Communication and Design (OCAD), a B.Comm in Marketing (Concordia), and an Executive MBA (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto), Quao brings a valuable left brain-right brain balance and approach to business problem solving. Creative and strategic discipline, combined with entrepreneurial instinct and activation leads to provocative business and marketing solutions.

Quao’s marketing and consulting portfolio includes the launch of the Toronto Raptors and Playdium Entertainment, the rebranding of the CN Tower and the Directors Guild of Canada, and special projects for Toronto International Film Festival Group, Nortel Networks, Roots, RBC Royal Bank, Levi’s, Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications, The Beer Store, GlaxoSmithKline, McCain Foods, Corona, Coca-Cola, and Jack Daniel’s.

Quao has a passion for building new brands and enterprise business units from scratch and he has done precisely that for a wide range of companies and continue to collaborate on projects of this nature internationally.

Follow him on Twitter at @xsabaa

Digital Journal Inc. launches /newsrooms division for brands

Oct 1, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Digital Journal Staff

The /newsrooms division is co-founded and led by marketing and social media veteran, Sabaa Quao who is joining Digital Journal Inc. as Chief Marketing Officer.

“Digital Journal has seen meteoric growth in 2012 and the launch of our /newsrooms division diversifies us as a modern digital media company and positions us to own a significant piece of the social enterprise technology and publishing spaces,” said Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal Inc. “Digital Journal’s deep expertise in social, publishing and marketing combined with our technology and global network of content creators means we can deliver a scalable digital media solution that is unmatched. We will now leverage these proven tools and processes to serve marketers and brands.”

Digital Journal has earned worldwide attention and praise for its role as a digital media pioneer and leader. In June 2012 Digital Journal was proclaimed one of the Top 20 most promising companies in Canada by The C100, a non-profit, member-driven organization made up of top executives of companies such as Apple, Cisco, EA, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Oracle, and venture investors representing more than $8 billion in capital. The C100 supports Canadian technology entrepreneurship through mentorship, partnership and investment.

How /newsrooms work

Digital Journal’s /newsrooms division opens new opportunities for the tens of thousands of content creators from 200 countries who participate in the company’s global network. Digital Journal’s /newsrooms division can support social media campaigns and marketing services to enable brands to grow audiences at scale, engage brand influencers and meet the pressures of 24/7 interaction that marketers are feeling. If you were to create CNN or The New York Times but dedicated to social media coverage, content creation, and publishing for and around brands, that would be Digital Journal’s /newsrooms division.

/newsrooms are an extension of a brand’s existing marketing and advertising efforts and Digital Journal takes everything a brand is already doing and adapts it to a strategy that puts content, live events and social media engagement at the forefront. This strategy harnesses the audience-growing skill of journalists, with the brand expertise and commercial inclination of a skilled marketing team.

Digital Journal’s /newsrooms begin by making brands relevant on a personal level; a content strategy becomes central to that goal by identifying the themes and content categories related to the brand. Digital Journal then combines journalistic professionalism with strong lead-generating content marketing initiatives to grow the audience and customer base.

In addition to content, /newsrooms also apply a customized social media approach to help develop a brand’s audience and engage top influencers. Applications may include covering live events, curating assigned content on specific topics valuable to a brand, using social media to disseminate news, analyzing social media influence, managing the engaged audience, and running Command Centres to ensure the brand is always on — just like a media organization.

“Brands and companies have become publishers, with little choice but to address what it means to engage 24/7 with their audiences,” says Sabaa Quao, Digital Journal’s Chief Marketing Officer and head of /newsrooms. “At the same time, companies are guardedly watching to see if their core business will be dramatically altered, damaged, or destroyed. Now with /newsrooms, brands can scale up their interaction and collaboration with influencers who are engaging with their products, in real-time.”

Digital Journal can already attest to the power of /newsrooms, as the company is a product of its own success; starting out as a Toronto-based magazine, Digital Journal used the /newsrooms approach and technology to grow from a local magazine into a global digital media organization with tens of thousands of contributors in 200 countries, reaching millions of people every month.

For more information visit digitaljournalmedia.com

About Digital Journal Inc.

Digital Journal Inc. is a global digital media company that delivers technology, content and social media solutions to brands and media companies. Headquartered in Toronto, Digital Journal is widely recognized as a pioneer and leader in digital media and in 2012 Digital Journal was proclaimed one of the Top 20 most promising companies in Canada. Boasting a proprietary digital platform and a network of tens of thousands of professional content creators in 200 countries, Digital Journal provides an out-of-the-box solution that touches every corner of the digital media industry.