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Brand Matters Keynote Tackles Cloud Marketing

LAS VEGAS — Marketing in the Cloud was the message at the 2013 International CES Brand Matters Keynote held during International CES.

Michael Kassan, chairman and CEO of MediaLink, noted, “Unlike everything else that happens in Vegas, what happens at CES doesn’t actually stay here — it goes everywhere thanks to the Cloud.”

While it used to be that devices had to be bigger and faster, with the advent of the Cloud, he added, “devices need only an Internet connection.”

Beyond providing consumers with devices that have become more than portable hard drives containing their data — with everything from photos to music and video — the Cloud has also changed the way those products are marketed back to the consumers.

“Thanks to the Cloud the sun shines ever brighter on marketing,” Kassan emphasized.

The key to this is the integration of products. “Every product is connected in a way we could not have anticipated before,” said Marc Benioff, chairman/ CEO of “We thought every device was going to be its own self-contained user face.”

Benioff, who has also not been a regular attendee of CES over the years, stressed that this is changing.

“This is not my industry per say,” he noted, but reaffirmed that the convergence of technology in the Cloud is what is changing this fact, suggesting that the Cloud means every company is now very much a technology company — at least when it comes to how their brand is marketed.

This opinion was shared by the four panelists in the second half of the keynote program, which included Joseph Tripodi, executive VP and chief marketing and commercial officer of The Coca-Cola Co.; Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever; Josh Silverman, president of U.S. consumer services at American Express; and Michael Bowling, chief marketing officer of business solutions for AT&T.

“There are many parts of the Cloud that are extremely exciting,” said Tripodi, “but many parts that are extremely daunting.”

“This will require a lot of cultural change in companies and a lot of capability in companies,” he added. “One of the biggest challenges for the companies is building out the skill set to harness all that data.”

For Coca Cola — and companies with internationally known brands — the Cloud presents new opportunities.

“We’ve adopted a fan’s first philosophy with the 52 million on Facebook,” Tripodi emphasized. “Less salesy, more around the notion of organic development of their interest in our brand.”

The Cloud could also allow companies to move from audiences to individuals.

“Being able to understand our interactions with our customers and also helping enable our clients move their data to the Cloud is what we are all about,” said AT&T’s Bowling.