I have had two days of conferences - speaking at the Future Marketing Summit yesterday on a panel hosted by the brilliantly didactic Richard Huntingdon, along with a former Ogilvy buddy/mentor Rory Sutherland (who has a lovely blog worth checking out, especially for his most recent Sorrell posting), the celebrated Steve Henry and P&G bright light David Grebert. We were discussing the impact that technology has for brands. You can see Richard's presentation here. Not sure that I totally agreed with Steve's point of view that the ad agencies need to be much braver and experiment much more with new digital technologies. While I'd agree that many ad agencies are not always risk-taking imagination leapers, I happen to believe that we at agencies should be proposing new technology experiments when we can clearly articulate to ourselves and to the client, what exactly the value to the consumer would be of us doing it and how it is on brand. Not just new technology for the sake of being first to do something, unless of course that it what your brand is all about but most of them aren't.
Then today I was an attendee at the Guardian Changing Media Conference.
So what did I learn at the conferences and what can I share?
In a nutshell, JFK got it almost much right...
In a digitalized/digitalizing world, Brands need to "Ask not what your
country consumer can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country consumer."
Seriously though, I got some great food for thought on both days.
The Changing Media Summit in particular was excellent, this is Roy Greenslade's blog from the day. There were people blogging and Twittering all over the place! The discussions that these sessions generated were interesting in part because I think that the audience was so diverse (NGOs, media owners, directors, journalists and only myself from VCCP and two old friends from Mother representing ad agencies)
Thoughts that sound deceptively simple, but aren't:
1. Just because you have an audience doesn't mean you have a community (Kevin Anderson, Guardian Unlimited - this was my sound-bite of the day and will be using it in a client meeting tomorrow!)
2. Can YouTube be used more as a testing ground for TV show pilots/TV ads? (Stefen Lechere, Google)
3. While we talk about digital engagement, we also have to be pragmatic and think about scalable engagement (Sue Elms, Millward Brown)
4. Has the democratisation of content meant that a thousand flowers have bloomed, or that we have created a thousand monkeys with keypads? (Edwin Aoki, AOL)
5. Alan Rusbridger talks a good game, but does terrible powerpoint slides. Only 3 people out of the entire day choose to do anything in powerpoint at all - the rest just spoke. And spoke brilliantly. Why did he and why do I still feel the need for powerpoint, even if it is mainly visual and not just bullet point after bullet point of text?
Oh and I met someone else who has also has a Blog Card to give out to people instead of an official Work Card. His cards were cool Flickr ones though. Good to meet you Dan and your blog is brilliant, Fabric of Folly.