By Anna Steely, Carousel30
Wednesday’s ADWKDC panels were chocked full of great people and insights ideas. I learned how to help your brand succeed, why your brand is succeeding in today’s economy and how to further your success in the future.
Joe Grimaldi taught me how a company can succeed.
I had made it just in time for the luncheon keynote speaker, Joe Grimaldi, CEO of Mullen, and boy was I glad. Grimaldi revealed how Mullen remains fresh, vibrant and growing. Aren’t these qualities all companies wish they could maintain?
Grimaldi said when we look at a chart of a company’s growth, most people focus on the line of increase. Instead, Grimaldi thinks it’s important to focus on the line of decrease, because, “rebound starts before disaster strikes.” This means you can’t just focus on improvements, but look at your past, learn from it and know what is coming next.
At a time when growth wasn’t so steady for Mullen, he realized something had to change. Grimaldi looked ahead and made a plan. He learned that if Mullen wanted to be a thriving business they had to learn how to pitch to anyone and everyone.
Mullen eventually moved to Boston. Not only was their original building not conducive for their work, but also moving to Boston helped them attract a wide range of talent. They wanted people to see they were worth joining, and that the center of gravity was at Mullen. The new office in Boston actually had a hole in the middle, meaning it was circular. Grimaldi said this was crucial for their company because everyone saw each other, was connected, and these social collisions created greater ideas
Grimaldi closed with principles that enable Mullen to do what it does:
- Mullen is founded on the values of entrepreneurship. He said, “We refused to be limited about the reality of what is.” They’re not contained by a box, but rather always thinking outside that box and being innovative and creative;
- Mullen has a shared mission. They strive to create a cause worthy of personal commitment and sacrifice. They want their employees to want to be there;
- Hire people who have brushed against greatness, because these people know what great things really are and will bring it with them. Don’t hire just for talent, but hire people who want to influence the direction of the company;
- The power of sharply different perspectives and opinions is extremely powerful, and a company must learn how to harness these;
- Embrace change;
- See peak to peak. Prepare for the next downturn on your way up;
- Be beta. Experiment like crazy, constantly test different things and invest in risk-taking; and,
- Be authentic. Mullen is a very non-political, very straightforward, reasonable and honest company, and Grimaldi believes this is fundamental to the success of Mullen.
Miles Nadal taught me how companies are surviving in today’s economy.
Next, I caught founder, chairman, and CEO of MDC Partners Miles Nadal being interviewed by executive director of content strategy at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners Jonah Bloom. Nadal pointed out some interesting things about America’s economy today. He believes America’s state is actually quite good, and that we’re not in a double-dip recession. He thinks the areas we’re struggling in now are the housing market (at least until 2015) and unemployment. We’re truly in a period of high unemployment and uncertainty, and Nadal doesn’t think this will change until we have the leadership for our country that will make it the first priority to stimulate jobs.
As of now, Nadal believes, “the best investment companies can make is in marketing innovation.” Investing in smart marketing is how you grow in today’s economy. Contrary to belief, Nadal thinks the most opportunity is created when the country is at its lowest point and bleakest outlook. Regarding the latter, he believes that we need to be fearful when others are ambitious and be ambitious when others are fearful. This statement may prove to be true because he highlighted that most agencies have the greatest growth when in recessions. He said to carve out a sustainable point of differentiation and do work that eventually moves the needle; doing work that works is the most durable competitive advantage.
Nadal revealed his thoughts on technology and said the convergence of technology and analytics is key, and that technology has the most pervasive impact on businesses today. He says we must capitalize and invest in this. The younger generation knows the most about technology today, but all companies must adapt, develop, grow and invest in the tools of technology in order to have a greater impact on what they do. If you don’t, you’ll miss the boat; technology is now.
He added that in order to be a successful company overall, you must create an environment which people love and want to be there and are enabled to create great work, and also partner with people you respect, truly like, and share the same passion and dedication for the same mission. No matter who you are, Nadal said, advertising and content are more valuable today than ever before. The outlet may be struggling to get content out, but the value of the advertising and content is greater now than ever.
Bottom line: Be happy: love what you do and follow your passion.
Three social media influencers taught me how to look toward the future.
Lastly, I watched a very popular presentation, “The Future of Digital Media.” First Katie Harbath, associate manager for policy at Facebook, discussed the well-known fact that the world is going social. In the 90s, social media was all about building a website so people would come, but now the Web is being built around people; people are the center and want to be involved and share things with friends or even the world. Harbath said Facebook doesn’t just target individuals anymore, but nowadays each person you bring into your site is more cyclical due to the constant sharing of information and friend making. This integration on Facebook is not just contained on Facebook; it’s on websites, television and print. She stated that the convergence of all media markets is very powerful, not just the Web.
Breeanna Beckham, marketing director of Carousel30, explained that simply having a presence on social media isn’t enough. Although you may be doing a great job, being proactive, responsive, follow a content strategy and have 500,000 fans, that’s not enough in a post Web 2.0 world to attract and retain people through social media. Beckham took us back to the Mad Men era where “he who screams loudest into the bullhorn wins” and one-way communication ruled. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works anymore. Then she discussed the dawn of Web 2.0 where it used to be cool and a claim to fame if a popular or well-know company @ messaged you on Twitter or commented on your Facebook post, but today consumers need more from brands because that novelty has worn off. Now even if brands have a Facebook wall or Twitter, the question isn’t where it’s why. Why follow you? Why write on your wall? Nowadays, it’s about building that relationship and making people care.
Beckham revealed her five motivating factors to help motivate an audience:
- Emotional. An example is Pepsi’s Refresh Project. Build a relationship and reach the emotions of your fan base;
- Entertainment. Entertain your base through all sorts of media. Make it fun, creative and interactive. A great example of this is the Old Spice’s “The Man You Could Smell Like” campaign;
- Price. An example is LivingSocial. Provide incentive for actions such as referrals;
- Status. An example is Foursquare. At some places you don’t even receive an actual prize, but you earn a virtual gain instead such as mayorship or a badge; and,
- Convenience. Provide intelligent recommendation engines; examples being Amazon and Pandora. She said the future will be predictive recommendation engines.
Beckham’s bottom line is that traditional social media tactics of Web 2.0 won’t work anymore. You must always be thinking of the next best thing by being innovative and creative.
CEO of iStrategy Labs Peter Corbett focused on the real rewards people aren’t getting. He said he is fascinated by Foursquare. “It’s the dirtiest social porn on the planet,” Corbett said. He added that it’s completely useless, yet awesome. Corbett wondered why people simply go for a mayorship when they’re only receiving virtual earnings that are short-lived, yet people still participate. He believes these virtual rewards will soon turn into real, physical rewards to create more of an incentive for people to be involved. He thinks it will have to go beyond mayors and badges. The rewards need to move toward physical actions, entertainment and experience.
The overall theme was that you must always be thinking forward to the next best thing.
Anna Steely is digital marketing associate at Carousel30