Recently, Digitas' Jessica Randazza attended Mashable Connect, a three-day event that explored innovation in digital. In addition to live-tweeting the speakers from @Digitas, she's recapped key insights and takeaways below.
It's more often than not, that when I attend a conference I spend several days in advance staring directly in the sun and performing intense neck stretches to prepare me for the time I'll spend head down into my computer and iPhone screen. I'm sure many of you have experienced the same -- you attend a conference, but instead of sharing ideas in person together, you spend more time watching the hashtag conversation to make sure you know what's going on. Sometime so much so, it's not worth the price of high conference registration (P.S., Twitter is FREE).
Mashable Connect, which took place at the most magical place on earth (Walt Disney World Resort) in Orlando on May 12-15 set the conference measuring stick with a carefully cultivated list of 300 new media professional that were so engaging and interesting, I'm happy to say my eye and neck exercises were in vein.
By far one of the most interesting groups of industry folks I've ever seen in one place and a small enough conference to make it possible to meet many of them. For the first time since June 29, 2007, I actually stayed off my device(s) for hours to [Mashable] connect IRL (in real life). Conversations weren’t limited to just the industry, it was chockablock with real conversations where the first thing people asked was, "What are your hobbies," instead of the "What do you do (so I can find out if you're a benefit to me)."
And, of course, the content was superb, plentiful, and powerful.
Here are some of my favorite takeaways:
- Connecting is king, not content. Scott Heiferman founder of Meetup, focused on the importance of brands making REAL connections. He said we need to shift our engagement strategy, "connecting is king, not content.” As communications professionals for year we’ve heard “content is king” and worked tirelessly on crafting perfect marketing messages to blast out to our audiences. The conference stressed the value in talking WITH your community, and understanding their needs to create movements.
“Meetups make a movement. Movements are made up of communities. It's not a movement if people aren't talking to one another.”
- Ingrain social purpose. It comes as no surprise that due to broad reaching digital connectivity, consumers are looking more than ever before to benefit the largest number of people in the largest possible way (as a differentiation point). But consumers also want brands to be authentic, and respond negatively (or ignore) disconnected or haphazard social good campaigns. Brands see the largest ROI when they have a “social purpose” which reinvigorates the brand meaning for consumers and builds strong communities that can snowball into movements.
And as a follow up to the social good conversation, Mashable announced during the conference their upcoming Social Good Conference Sept 19 – 22 in NYC, which is pending full announcement.
- Authority is critical in a saturated digital age. Consumers are seeking validation for brands online and being met with a mix of information, often causing complete information overload. According to a presentation given at the conference by Steve Rubel, EVP of Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman, “More content will be created today than existed in entirety before 2003.”
We’ve entered a “validation” era where brands must constantly be accessible and connect with their consumers, share social purpose, and provide data where needed in order to build brand authority.
While those are just some of my favorite highlights, you can find more recaps from the conference on Mashable.
A huge thanks to the Mashable team for pulling together such an incredible conference, we look forward to more great events down the road!
For more insights from Jessica, follow her on Twitter - @JessicaRandazza