What did you think the biggest theme was at the show this year?
In a nutshell? The power of attitude. In Guy Kawasaki’s Keynote, he shared insight on the power of Steve Jobs’ attitude—his sense of urgency, his belief that Apple could make things more beautiful and better than anything currently in existence and his understanding that the next major advancement for anything was just over the next obstacle. In the case of Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, the message remained same—this time supported by historical evidence and cultural changes, rather than one major CEO—to make the world better, to be successful, we must change our approach/understanding/perception of all that currently exists. That’s what the guy who created the modern shipping container (Malcolm McLean) was able to do; it’s what the guy (Ingvar Kamprad) who came up with IKEA could understand and definitely what the guy who made Apple a household name fully grasped. According to Gladwell, these thought leaders and titans of industry understood the critical elements that all agents of real change possess. The need to be:
- Open—One key aspect of creative and innovative individuals, this is a “Must Have” for entrepreneurs. But the innovators Gladwell uses as examples are not just creative—they are open to considering new ideas and, even more importantly, willing to change their minds/perspective and entire way of looking at the world.
- Conscientious—What good is your creativity and ideas if you are not thoughtful, considerate and operating with the fundamental desire to do things better?
- Disagreeable—It’s not a bad thing if not everyone likes you (despite what we are hardwired to believe). Those who have revolutionary ideas are often considered major weirdos.
I would say the most common theme was integrated campaigns—it has been well-acknowledged that the silos between marketing, PR and advertising are starting to disappear. When formulating a strategy about a communication program, brand development or product/service promotion we must consider how earned, paid and owned media will each play a role concurrently. However, some of the case studies presented at the show –such as Keurig’s presentation on marketing to college students, highlighted the close collaboration needed between marketing and PR in today’s campaigns.
Which speaker/session resonated the most with you and why?
LL: Gladwell. Mostly because I am obsessed with him—also, because he seems like he would be the BEST. COCKTAIL DATE. EVER. His ability to distill major amounts of research and information into clear, simple and actionable sentences is something I admire every time I have the opportunity to read any of his long form pieces and books.
AA: The closing keynote on Wednesday by Evan Greene, CMO of The Recording Academy (Grammy’s). He made a very seemingly obvious point that we tend to overlook—the key to a successful communications/marketing/branding/social—you name it—campaign, is to first define your messaging and positioning aka what you stand for, and to amplify that consistently and constantly. In other words, know yourself and stick to your principles. Then, arm people with the right tools to frame the conversation in the way you would like it to be framed. The result will be a powerful, cohesive message that can resonate with people and capture their attention. In Green’s words, in today’s world, the worst thing that can happen to a brand is to be unfollowed because”becoming unfollowed is the same as becoming irrelevant. Once someone has turned away it is almost impossible to gain them back.”
He also discussed how the video to promote this past year’s Grammys went viral and why the Academy chose the theme #MusicUnleashes—mainly because it ties back to the the Academy’s mission to support the music community and unite people through music. This was certainly a great example of defining your mission and executing campaigns that always tie back to that mission: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDUz82dBqTQ