5 min

Something Digital 2018 Highlights

Last week some members of our team attended and participated in the inaugural Something Digital conference. If you were unable to attend you’re in luck, as we took copious amounts of notes and have compiled our key takeaways for you.

Day 1 – Keynotes, Local Speakers, and Plenty of Coffee!

Takeaway #1: Brisbane is truly leading in digital!

Our team were truly inspired by the incredible speakers and topics presented. It was a non-stop, action-packed day that really highlighted the strength and calibre of Brisbane’s thriving digital community. It was encouraging to not only witness how well Brisbane is doing in the digital space, but also have that confirmed by the international keynotes.


Takeaway #2: Business intelligence MUST come before Artificial Intelligence.

The event kicked off with a talk from Adam Bonnifield of Airbus, who highlighted how AI has been completely reinvented in the past decade and that we’re now at a point where new technology is not just a way of catching up, but a way of driving new possibilities for the future.

However, in order to be very purpose-driven about extending the benefits of AI to everyone, we must focus on the stuff that makes a difference.


Takeaway #3: Technology is a double-edged sword. It can be used for good, as much as it can be used for evil.

While a lot of the speakers were truly inspiring, we got literal goosebumps hearing from Mariana Dahan of World Identity Network (WIN). Mariana addressed how technology can be used to fundamentally solve many of the world’s biggest challenges. Her work with WIN is as a shining example of this.

The World Identity Network uses blockchain technology to help give the ~ 1 billion individuals who don’t have a formal way of proving their identity, a data-backed way of doing just that! This, in turn, is alleviating the number of people lured into modern slavery circles and down sex trafficking paths. Blockchain – as a technological solution integrated into systems and processes – can genuinely make a difference to curb the identity challenge. As Cat Matson neatly exclaimed, “the core of being a digital city is to use digital to make peoples’ lives better”.


Takeaway #4: We need to capitalise on innovation, let it work for good, capture data, and understand all the journeys involved. If we don’t, we’ll be left behind.

Deon Liebenberg from Optus Business presented an enthralling talk that highlighted that our future is “a connected one” and that we need to be reflecting on how this will genuinely affect us and our organisations. He discussed how executives recognise the disruption around us with the uptake of digital innovation and emerging technologies. It’s not hard to see the rise of this digital world when our personal lives (let alone our working environments) are becoming littered with technological integration and intuitive connections.

However, so many of these executives who recognise the disruption are not capitalising on it, putting everything at risk!


Takeaway #5: Humanizing a brand is something that just has to be done, but we must deliver consistently on every single channel.

The talk by Vanessa Brennan from Michael Hill was a good reminder of how we can all benefit by spending time planning out and understanding who our customers are; understanding the journey these individuals and groups experience; and realising what right we have as brands and marketers to connect with those customers at different stages of their journeys.

Let’s reflect: are we using xyz channels the ways which customers would appreciate and even like? How can we make the customer journey more focused on what customers want and need, not just on what we as brands assume they’d want and need?


Takeaway #6: Trust is a byproduct of transparency.

Caroline Sinders from Convocation Design+Research addressed the incredibly important topic of approaching machine learning from an ethical place, and a transparent place.

Using recent examples of both intentional and unintentional adversarial algorithms, Caroline emphasised the need to have a conversation about the diversity of data sets. While algorithms activate the data, the data itself is human outputs. Trust can be gained, but a key to this is how that trust is communicated – both explicitly (i.e. showing and describing how data is used) and implicitly (i.e. not stated, but implied). To do this, there is a level of transparency needed – to be transparently opaque and give enough information to try to build implicit trust.


Takeaway #7: The future has some knowns in tech, but also many unknowns, and we need to be conscious about how we create, adopt, and apply new digital technologies.

The event was capped off nicely with a talk by Justin Hendrix of NYC Media Lab, addressing the 2030 vision and what the decade ahead has in store. This left a sense of excitement, with a touch of fear and apprehension. He talked about how the entire world’s population is set to be online by 2030 and posed the uncertainty of what that ‘information explosion’ will look like. Justin talked about a number of advancing technologies, including but not limited to:

  • Media becoming environmental
  • AI-generated characters (and the difficulty in distinguishing whether they are real)
  • The AR cloud that ties data and information to a location
  • Robots learning to see
  • Contact lenses that will bring digital information onto our retinas.

He also talked about synthetic media such as full-head reenactment, and how this creates an increased ability to publish fake news.

Day 2 – Open Studios, Breakfasts, Beers, and Digital Conversations

Day two of the Something Digital Festival saw industry leaders across Brisbane open their doors to the public, to share their expertise through workshops and presentations.

We headed over to Orange Digital in the morning, to participate in a conversation they hosted around building a powerful company culture. It was wonderful to see others in the industry taking such a proactive approach to culture – it’s something we focus very strongly on ourselves at Reload!

Reload was then proud to open our doors in the afternoon when we hosted a casual discussion on Behavioural Marketing across Digital. With beers on offer, it was a great opportunity for many to conclude the two-day event and head into the weekend.

Hayley and Emily Presenting at Reload's Open Studio 2018

Our own Hayley Vale co-presented with Emily Forrest of Reload Media, the discussion focused on how digital marketing works best when businesses focus on marketing to their customers’ behaviours, rather than building it around channels.

Hayley kicked things off by explaining the importance of understanding your customer and your own business, and how they both interact online. Through the use of pixels, tracking, and data capture, we can better interpret the way that customers are interacting with our brand. By mapping out the customer journey and understanding the questions and pain points raised at each stage, businesses are able to make more informed decisions when it comes creating and implementing a digital strategy.

Emily carried on from this point and gave insight into some of the tactics that implemented once a business has a greater understanding of their customer journey. While there are countless tactics that can be considered, Emily chose to focus on five in particular:

  1. Email Marketing
  2. Remarketing
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Programmatic Advertising
  5. Geo-Fencing

For more in-depth look at what Hayley and Emily discussed, you can access the slide deck from the presentation below.


And that’s a wrap!

It’s fair to say Something Digital was a massive success and we could have added a lot more takeaways to this list! We would like to give a massive thank you to the Bright Conferences team for hosting such an incredible event.

We can’t wait until next year! In the meantime, you can follow @ReloadConsult and @Reload_Media on Twitter, for all your digital updates and news.