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Building A Business Information Brand in 2013, the Skift story
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Building A Business Information Brand in 2013, the Skift story


Skift is exactly nine months old today. Since we started the company last year, we have believed we are building a new kind of business information brand — a travel information brand in the largest …

Skift is exactly nine months old today. Since we started the company last year, we have believed we are building a new kind of business information brand — a travel information brand in the largest sense of that phrase — a startup built to scale out of the vertical ghettos.

What are the lessons we have learned from the last nine months? How do you build a brand that will transcend industry-defined historical boundaries? What are the lessons of being a thin/lean/insert-your-buzzy-phrase media+data startup and how do you break through in a seemingly mature and crowded space? Can it be replicated in other sectors, by other startups?

Skift's founder and CEO Rafat Ali gave a presentation earlier this week at the ABM annual conference, on “Building a Business Information Brand in 2013” which attempted to answer some of those questions.

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  • 1. Building a business information brand in 2013travel intelligence. global T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 2. T: @skift F: /skiftnewsWith a $6.5 trillion contribution to GDP & 260 million jobs,travel -- made up of tourism, hospitality, transport & leisure --is the worlds largest industry.While digital has disrupted distribution & information systems,no information and intelligence brand has emerged thatmatches the industrys size with its digital potential.Skift is that brand.
  • 3. Skift is now among the largest travel news andinformation sites in the travel industry, 9months after launch.The brand is well on its way to becoming thelingo in the travel T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 4. On the way to becoming the most pervasivetravel information brandWere creating a next-generation data & info-heavycrossover media company thats built to break out of thevertical media ghetto and scale to its true T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 5. This is our story so far, of scaling so quicklywith a very small team of 5 people.And our vision for growing T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 6. Business media and information: least sexysectors in the larger tech economy, and amongthe least innovative in T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 7. But in the era where business media & enterprisesoftware have merged, where Salesforce & LinkedIn arebecoming gold standards in business information:B2B media & information sector needs T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 8. T: @skift F: /skiftnewsSource: & Domo Survey 2013, Decade of media consumptionpattern changes among CEOs.What a difference a decade makes
  • 9.,exactly a decadeago.April 25, 2003.›› The template forall blog mediacompanies to comeafter.
  • 10. Skift, today.April 25, 2013›› Visual›› Social›› Brand-led
  • 11. What a difference a decade makes: paidContentvs Skift›› blogs vs platform agnostic›› content-centric vs data-led›› post-thinking vs product thinking›› freshness vs immediacy›› linking vs sharing›› using content vs using design to punch above T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 12. What hasnt changed›› B2B doesnt have to be boring›› The nativeness›› Connecting the dots across silos collapsing›› Being smart, sharp, surgical & strategic with allcontent, the 4Ss of content›› User centric: Vendor vs the T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 13. Your expansive worldview defineshow big your vision T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 14. Size matters›› Travel, worlds largest industryDefinition matters›› Travel begins when you leave homeAmbition matters›› Were defining the future of T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 15. Hybrid business-consumer, crossoverinformation and data brand is the way to:›› scale on users+revenues›› break out of vertical ghettos›› scale to the full potential of the T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 16. Are you aware of macro-trends youre riding?›› travel silos collapsing, like other industries›› blurring of business & leisure travel›› locus of travel is moving eastward›› tech & design is eating the T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 17. Figure out the whitespace, or create itB2B: Backwards. Boxed-In. Boring.Consumer: Cluttered. Confusing. T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 18. You dont need to own the content, you need toown the voice›› three legged stool of content: curation + licensed+original›› expertise, not just exclusivity›› licensed content from lot of sources globally that dont typically slotthem in travel, but under our filter they are; helps build the brand›› Skift Take: Our tweet-length take on every story has become oursignature voice & T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 19. Role of original content: Build franchises thatcan be productized down the line›› SkiftSeedlings›› SkiftAds›› SkiftDesign›› T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 20. Dont underestimate building the consumerhooks›› accessible writing›› attractive design›› wide syndication›› ubiquity T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 21. Building users in concentric circles›› Lowest hanging fruit youll quickly get›› Early adopters in tech and enthusiast community›› Be cognizant of which user-pockets will spend T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 22. T: @skift F: /skiftnewsThink prosumer, not consumer›› One concentric circle outside the business users›› From professionals in travel to professional travelers›› From news to news-you-can-use›› Curating and integrating best-of- breed tools & services forbusiness travelers.
  • 23. T: @skift F: /skiftnewsThink pervasive, not exclusive›› Syndicate as widely as you can, be wherever your users couldbe, even outside of business environments.›› Example: Our deals with CNN, NBC News, Flipboard, Quartz,AdAge, BusinessInsider and others to come
  • 24. Creating a social business brand›› B2B doesnt have to be boring›› The daily blocking and tackling happens here›› Worry about your Klout score›› Analytics-driven social›› Twitter vs Facebook vs LinkedIn›› Become a media influencer through T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 25. Mobile means ubiquity›› Are you near industry-norms in userbase?›› Ubiquitous sharing in mobile›› Mobile web vs apps and why T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 26. Data-based, data-led, data-focused›› Focus on competitive intelligence›› Build and manage a suite of meta-services›› Layers on top of existing publicly-available and open-web data›› Delivered any way the users want it: online, apps, T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 27. SkiftSocial dashboard: todiscover the latest patternsand trends, and gaininsight into howcompanies work andcompete in the new social-driven world.
  • 28. Building data toolsIf you hadVisualization of Google Analytics + Real Time charting ofChartbeat + Activity feed addictiveness of FacebookWhat would you build? T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 29. Can media and data coexist?›› Data informs media strategy; Media is an insight layeron top of data.›› Competitive intelligence as streams›› News & media is just another T: @skift F: /skiftnews
  • 30. Thanks, keep on Skifting.Rafat T: @skift F: /skiftnews