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Interview: Storytelling in Mobile Advertising


Now in its sixth year, the Mobile Media Summit led by CEO and Founder, Paran Johar, is the largest mobile media and advertising conference series in North America and Europe. The events feature advertising’s best technologies, and are regularly attended by the industry’s top brands, agencies and mobile innovators. To date, over 10,000 have attended one or more shows.

Paran Johar recently interviewed Vaino Leskinen, the Global Director of Mobile at TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, in advance of his July 28 panel at Mobile Media Summit Chicago. Mobile data, and mobile first storytelling are key themes to this year’s discussion, as revealed in this exclusive preview.


Vaino-Leskinen-webParan: Welcome back to our favorite Finn, Vaino Leskinen. Vaino, Finland is obviously a global center of excellence in mobile. As you are now working in LA, what can you tell us about the differences in approach to mobile marketing in hyper-connected Finland from North America? What have you seen there that we will see here soon?

Vaino:Thank you for inviting me back. It is always a pleasure.

Storytelling has always been and continues to be a challenge for brands in mobile. Stories are the way we make sense of our world. For any brand, stories are also the strongest way to form an emotional connection with its audience. However, scalable mobile ad formats like banners and interstitials have been fairly simple and sometimes downright boring. Pioneers, such as Rovio and Supercell, followed by tens of game studios, have trail-blazed mobile as a narrative technology. Whether it’s been the actual mobile games, fresh in-game advertising formats, or video ads for user acquisition, Finnish studios have been at the forefront of storytelling in mobile for over a decade.

Paran: In Chicago you will join a panel on doing social and mobile correctly. Can you give us a preview of your discussion? Where do we start to make social work on mobile?

Vaino:I think all the usual suspects are important, such as capturing the data and listening. But when the right moment for engagement occurs, the brand needs to have something to say. It needs to be culturally relevant and it needs to have a clear point of view.

Paran: We hear so many organizations say they are mobile first, but how many are actually living up to that statement? How do you know when you are truly mobile first?

Vaino: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I do not believe a brand or its agency should be mobile first. I don’t believe TV or Virtual Reality should come first either.

You guessed it – brands should be story-led.

There are a few simple questions you can use to see if the way you tell your stories is mobile proof. (1) have you built an insight of a mobile moment where your brand’s story has natural attention? (2) Have you figured out a way your audience can turn into users of your story? (3) How can they immerse and engage themselves and how can they play your story? (4) Does your brand’s presence in mobile feel authentic and magical to the user? (5) Are you capturing the analytics that help you improve and improve again?

Paran: Finally, what changes and new developments in mobile will we be talking about next year at Mobile Media Summit Chicago in 2016?

Vaino: We’ll be focusing on the topic “How to advertise in a zero-interface environment”.

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Andre Bourque (@SocialMktgFella) is a cannabis industry media influencer, brand executive and advisor, blockchain marketer, and cannabis columnist. He specializes in cannabis industry partnerships, distribution, and funding. He is a ranked social media marketing and content strategist.

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