A few weeks ago a Preston Kelly crew took our annual field trip to the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association Summit. We were inspired, re-charged and energized by the speakers and our top-notch digital marketing community. Here are four things that stuck in our heads.
#1. Getting inspired to make an actual difference.
Imagine the pressure: Set the tone for a conference packed with thousands of marketers, influencing consumers for the biggest brands in the world. Do you cut to the chase, giving them something they can implement in the next campaign? Or do you take a step back and provide context? To my delight, the MIMA team chose to do the latter with this year’s Summit, kicking things off with a one-on-one interview between award-winning rebel journalist Jana Shortal and the incredible founder of HeForShe, Elizabeth Nyamayaro. The two of them dove straight into the HeForShe message, and how it was transformed from a viral campaign for gender equality into actual global policy and culture shifts. Yes, there were insights and tips, but what I appreciated most was the clear contextual challenge to question how our work is making a meaningful difference. I appreciated the vulnerability of both the speakers and the audience as my peers sent tweeted questions to the stage. Building safe workplaces. Parental leave. Identity. As a first-time Summit attendee, I was proud to take part in a community unafraid to put these challenging topics front and center.
#2. Morgan Spurlock’s coolness and positivity.
The lunch keynote speaker Morgan Spurlock, of documentary film Super Size Me fame, had an insight that hit home with this media guy. The industry talks about fragmentation of media and how difficult it is to effectively reach people – a fairly negative perspective. Instead, Morgan believes “now is the best time in history to be a storyteller,” precisely because there are more places than ever to tell brand stories – and that’s what media strategists and planners do. We make sure our clients’ customers not only get exposed to the brand story, but that a consistent and sequential story is told across multiple channels. If we do our job well, our clients’ consumers should be able and inspired to retell and share that brand story with others in many forms.
#3. Think “social communities, not transactions.”
Digital Content Specialist
“McDonald’s has 13 million Instagram followers, but investing in content elsewhere is far more successful.” This seemingly innocuous comment by Joe Piaskowy, the digital marketing manager for McDonald’s was one of the most interesting things I heard at the Summit. Many marketing managers dream of having millions of social followers, so why is McDonald’s putting their money elsewhere? Joe shared that social metrics like follower growth, likes and engagement are important, but they don’t tell the whole story. Focusing on the numbers alone makes social media a cold transaction. It distracts content makers from why social media exists in the first place—as a place for community. What if a brand thought about social media as community building? A community that has pride, shared values and most importantly, a purpose. That’s when social media stops being a transactional tool and starts being a long-term platform for growing your brand.
#4. Inviting more kindness and compassion.
The last breakout session by Christopher Clarke of Oath was an unexpected and delightful way to wrap up the day. We laughed, meditated, some even cried, and talked about why we need more kindness and compassion in an industry notorious for high stress and less-than-stellar work-life balance. “We’re more open minded and creative when we feel safe. And you can’t threaten people into being more creative.” Things like trust and confidence can make a world of difference if you’re in a field that runs on creativity. Christopher’s advice: start with cultivating awareness of other people’s stress (and your own); meditate and minimize distractions to hone your ability to focus on the right things at the right time; create a sense of connectedness with your team through common missions and rituals; smile, listen be present and don’t take things personally.
What were your favorite moments from the Summit? Drop us a line on Twitter.