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Top Brands Dish on Visual-Media Trends While Cooking With Cloudinary

Fun fact: Americans eat 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second. However, that pales in comparison to the amount of visual media people consume daily: over three billion images and 720,000 hours of video

Those media stats set the backdrop for Cooking With Cloudinary—a lively, virtual pizza-making party hosted on April 7 by Fabio Viviani, restaurateur, TV personality, and Top Chef Fan Favorite. Invited were Cloudinary clients, partners, and staff, who donned their aprons at home as Fabio walked them through the art of crafting the perfect focaccia pizza with just the right balance of air bubbles and crunch. 

With their pizzas still steaming, the guests broke out into one of two sessions:

  • Media Technology Needs Shaping 3.0, led by Jason Khoury, Cloudinary’s head of corporate marketing; and Shelby Britton, Cloudinary’s director of product marketing for platform and solutions
  • Next-Generation Media Experiences for the Visual Economy, led by Max Mabe, Cloudinary’s director of product marketing; and Milind Pansare, Cloudinary’s vice president of product marketing

Below are a few takeaways that bubbled up during our discussions.

Many guests agreed that they felt handcuffed by inflexible technology that makes it difficult to manage the burgeoning volume of visual media across its lifecycle. In particular, a web-content manager at a leading skin-care CPG, which is in the process of streamlining its merchandise by transforming the related media assets, pointed out the challenge of finding the right technology platform for presenting the “best version” of the products.

Several guests mentioned that, though they were impressed by the ability of headless technologies to support multiple brands, security was a concern. As a brand weighed in, “Our security guys are coming all the way into our code base. It’s an ongoing process because hackers are aggressive. If you find holes, you fix them.”  

All the guests were interested in learning about Cloudinary’s participation in the MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless) Alliance, a collaborative effort aimed at simplifying complex modern technologies and future-proofing them for enterprises by integrating the related ecosystems.

A quick poll revealed that even though the guests were in different implementation stages of Web 3.0, they all agreed that, to avoid falling behind, a coherent strategy must be in place. Up for debate was whether 3.0 is truly pushing the digital envelope or merely rehashing trends from 20 years ago. A real-estate brand expressed the hope that “Web 3.0 sticks more than the 3D trend did because 3.0 is introducing valuable components, such as digital twins.”

A popular athletic brand chimed in that, to win trust from customers, it’d been tracking the authenticity of some of its highest-demand products with blockchain to provide trust to their customers. That brand is now looking into ways to use crypto currency on its website.

A few years after the birth of the internet, people who were geographically dispersed sought meaningful ways to connect online, particularly with UGC, and brands tapped into that. Not surprisingly, the volume of UGC has continued to spike since the COVID-19 outbreak. 

UGC was pivotal during the pandemic for a major ticket reseller, which solicited—through social media—select users to send along images with scenes of events they attended in the last two years. The reseller then filtered, curated, and posted the images on its own social channels.

According to a business marketplace, nearly all of its two terabytes of images now originate from user-generated content. Talk about impressive!

When asked about the metaverse by Cloudinary moderators, most of the guests confirmed that they’re on board.

“I spoke to someone who sold land in the metaverse this week and made two million dollars,” said one brand. “We’re going to see tons of brands selling NFTs. Our team is hoping there will be NFTs for causes like Pride Month—allowing people to trade NFTs for causes like this. If you do it right, there’s opportunity.” 

Two other noteworthy observations:

  • From a travel-and-tourism brand: “The metaverse will be really interesting. Imagine being able to immerse yourself in a location before investing in a trip there.” 
  • From an ad-tech company: “Once a few people dip their toes into the metaverse, others will follow.”

With the visual economy in full force, Cloudinary is dedicated to helping brands stay ahead of the curve. Many thanks to the guests for joining us from their kitchens to share their pizza creations and thoughts on thriving in this new paradigm.

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