Suntec, Singapore
24th - 25th October 2018

Does it ever strike you as strange that the website url has spawned a global multi-billion dollar industry, yet the conversational currency of the millennial, the hashtag, costs you nothing?

But it looks like the adage that what’s free is never valued has become the case, as we set up, promote and abandon hashtags with alarming regularity.

Back in August 2007, when Chris Messina made initial suggestions on the use of the hashtag to group conversations on Twitter, it would have been hard to imagine that the hashtag would have moved from online identifier to (often ironic) everyday language, and that we would become used to every cause, event and campaign having one.

But from a brand perspective what happens to the poor hashtag?  We’re implored to use them and we sense that us doing so somehow lends credit to the cause, event or campaign, but the risk is that we’re just adding to the outbound noise that has no context and, as a consequence, no value.


As ever, good thinking really stands out.  As the footwear of choice for protest movements over many decades, Dr Martens’ 2014 #StandForSomething campaign neatly blended the shoes with causal belief and self identity, as the short film created for the campaign celebrates: Watch it here

Find our photobooth van on The Hayes today from 10am-4pm and get 20% off in our Cardiff store. #STANDFORSOMETHING

— Dr. Martens (@drmartens) June 3, 2015

ODD, the agency behind the campaign explain: ‘With the current economic and social backdrop lending itself to people wanting to use the way they dress as a way of expressing their own culture, identity and beliefs, it seemed the perfect opportunity for Dr. Martens, the original British icon of subversion, to ask: What do you stand for? The campaign saw an uplift in sales by March 2014 and a search of Twitter reveals that consumers are still engaging with the hashtag and posting their thoughts over a year later’.

But for the majority, hashtags have become the disposable decoration that every campaign demands.  On the face of it, the lack of a global registration system and the costs that come with it suggest that there is no risk to churning out hashtags as a campaign feature or identifier.  But the reality is very different. The only way to own a hashtag is to create the immediate and ongoing connection with your brand, products or services, so the huge risk is that the cycle of disposable campaign hashtags result in a huge commercial opportunity squandered.

Tips for increasing your hashtag equity today

In summary here are a few tips to help you ensure you are making the most of your hashtag:

1. Get your hashtag right - Deborah Sweeney’s 2012 thoughts still stand.

Your hashtag is ideally short, distinctive enough to be audience defining and reflects and builds a brand, product or service truth.

2. Give your hashtag life.  Business needs are broad and changing.  Marketing activity reflects this, but through it all make sure that the core brand hashtag is consistent, builds equity over time and becomes synonymous.

3. Give your hashtag a home - make sure that your hashtag isn’t just a form of futile window dressing, you can do this by bringing the best of the advocacy content that you’re stimulating back to the place where consumers engage, your brand website. (Forrester’s November 2014 study confirms  that US consumers and 3 times as likely to connect with a brand on their website than they are on the brand’s Facebook page).

With the best user-generated content from all networks on your website your audience is no longer excluded from the conversation just because they’re not a user of a specific social network.

In the egalitarian world of everyone having a published point of view it’s your audience that defines your ownership.  Once their online language implicitly connects them to your brand through your hashtag you have that ownership.  The task is simple enough but requires discipline and a plan.  The outcome will be worth it; a no-cost identifier that becomes invaluable as nobody can wrest it from you.



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The FUTR is here. M20/20 expands into FUtureTRends; the year-round conversation on the future of consumer-facing commerce.

In 2015 we created our vision for a new type of event. Millennial 20/20 was disruptive, both in terms of format and content. We were quick to identify the rapidly-changing consumer landscape driven by the digitally-savvy, mobile-first, tech-native millennial generation. Our vision was to bring together brands and retailers with the latest solutions and innovations able to meet these needs and transform each part of the customer journey.

After our successful launch in London, demand from our community took us all over the world, hosting summits in Singapore, New York and Sydney in just 18 months.

Over this time, we witnessed multiple trends, technologies, innovations and business models that held the potential to disrupt the way brands and retailers operate. It became apparent that these changes were moving at a much faster pace than we ever imagined. While still driven by empowered consumers, we identified trends that were in the near-future that we wanted to bring to life through our events.

FUTR is our own evolution. FUTR is actively engaged in next-generation commerce. FUTR is the must-attend event to identify what’s next.

The FUTR is here.

This isn’t just a conference and exhibition. FUTR is an authentic global community for those who want to stay at the cutting-edge of insights, technology and solutions. The move to FUTR is not only a change of name, but a new commitment to year-round conversation for analysis and insight-sharing. A watering hole for the future-focused leaders who want to see “what’s next”, understand how to bridge ‘the gap between now and next’, while carrying forward authentic values with no baggage. FUTR is both cross-industry and global. We strive to find the lessons from across the globe to inspire and mobilise leaders as they seek to connect with today’s consumer.

M20/20 was the launch pad for us to understand this space; to listen and learn what leaders and innovators really want. FUTR is the next chapter.

Whether it’s accessing brand-new content at one of our summits, attending insightful roundtables and workshops, or gaining knowledge from our newly-launched research platform FUTR Insights; we want you to be part of FUTR for all Future Trends.

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