Social Media Week 2015

I spent 2 days @ Social Media Week (SMW) earlier this week and here goes with my notes to the event.

BROAD SUMMARY: 2 excellent talks (‘romance vs algorithm’ & ‘breathe’) interspersed with everything from dire (and I really mean dire!) – good sessions.


Demanding personalised digital experiences in physical stores

The presentation was by Mint who created boomf (nice personalised marshmallows = tested the service the day after and found the product idea to be excellent though the checkout process needs further UAT as it’s full of bugs)

Broad soundbites:

-Personalised = immediately remarkable, more thoughtful and more shareable

-Experiences are the new consumer goods

-We are no longer defined by the things that we have, rather by the things that we’ve done

-Personalisation allows differentiation and therefore goods=experiences

-Make a simple, seamless experience that people love, use and share

SESSION SUMMARY: Basically a poor session that felt like a sales pitch for the owning brand


The secret sauce for a truly collaborative workspace

The presentation was by WeWork (bordering on Unicorn status and all about coworking office space)

Basically a nice idea if you applied WeWork for good/ communities rather than for profit.

SESSION SUMMARY: A poor session that was a sales pitch for WeWork


Reaching and recruiting millennials

UKTV = have a good WoW by rotating teams around zones every quarter to aid engagement between teams, education and retention.

SESSION SUMMARY: A poor session that was a sales pitch for the agencies on stage


Romance vs algorithm

The session was by Tim Leberecht who wrote ‘The Business Romantic’.

Tim argues that we are moving from a smart age to a new romantic era in which only organisations comfortable with ambiguity and emotion will thrive. In light of a data-driven algorithmic society in which everything is quantified, automated, and predictable, he suggests we find meaning through mystery, friction, and the beauty of the unexpected. Drawing from art and philosophy, he wants us to reclaim romance as the ultimate differentiator, the ultimate humanizer in a world of maximizers and optimizers.

Key points:

-Got to watch we are not optimising out romance from storytelling and marketing

-Need a new romantic movement against the datafication of society

-Humanise business:

Feel more (key and often forgotten)

Feel good

Do good

SESSION SUMMARY: After the previous sessions I wanted to shoot myself in the face however this session gave me faith back in the event. Now I LOVE data, personalisation and algorithms however this was an excellent thought provoking session by Tim


Avoid social chimpery : use social roi to build quality campaigns and stop flinging crap

The session was hosted by the salesman (Matthew Zito, VP of Product at Synthesio) and the excellent David Parkinson (Head of Social Media).

Key takeouts:

Nissan use synthesio in particular for blogging / forums conversation engagement and management

Nissan do not equate anything e.g impact or discussion volume to dark social

I liked their predictive analytics model to chart success for EVERY social campaign (below).

predictive analytics

REALLY focus on what to measure e.g reach, brand health, sentiment, virility, etc.

…Nissan use brand power and sales power as 2 key metrics to report on to the rest of the business.  Social Reputation score (mainly around sentiment) and share of voice (of conversations) against their top 5 competitors.

SESSION SUMMARY: A few good takeout’s and thanks to Nissan for sharing their on the ground (no sales pitch) insight.



This was an interactive one hour workshop (and not in a painful way!) with Michael Townsend Williams, author of ‘Do Breathe: Calm your mind. Find focus. Get stuff done.’ and founder of Breathe Sync – the biofeedback breathing app for iPhone.

The session concerned learning practical ways to increase productivity and reduce stress.

Firstly I liked the fact he understood the pressures of business e.g he had a background as a senior executive in major ad agencies and previously dealt with stress via excessive doing and drinking = why he turned to his current profession.

Secondly I liked the below pocket guide to mindful productivity.

productivity 1

productivity 2

Awesome yoga type dude. Breathe. And. Breathe.

Get rid of stuff in your head = write it down.

Aim for inbox zero. Process your emails rather than polluting your inbox/mind with them.

Find focus. Get attention and intention. Turn of notifications. Emergency channel should be text and not email. Avoid interruptions and get in the flow. Do not waste time with people interrupting you.

Be mindfully afraid to bring in courage.

Make sure your ladder that you are going to climb is against the right building. If you look up at leaders and do not want to be like them but you are climbing to be there then you are climbing against the wrong building. #awesome

Most successful people hit imposter syndrome. I am not an imposter. You are not an imposter.

On low energy days do easy donkey work that will ultimately move the project along.

Eat that frog. The first thing you do in a morning should be the thing that dramatically moves you forward.

Perform in bursts of focus each day as you cannot stay highly productive throughout the day.

Sleep more = more productive. 7-8 hours at least (per night that is 😉

SESSION SUMMARY: I’m not convinced by the app he has developed however everything else he said was amazingly powerful.


The era of Living services

The Era of Living Services describes how brands will use the Internet of Things and powerful data analytics to create services that come to life; predicting and reacting to consumers’ changing needs and circumstances. In other words, branded services that are personalised and change in real-time for every individual wherever they are and whatever they are doing.

The session was hosted by Fjord and the panel made up of Accenture (Fjord is now part of  Accenture).

Key commentary:

-It’s not about the amount of sensors we have but how we interpret them and tie them together.

-Can we trust our data to one company to look after it for us and act as the broker to better, more relevant and timely deals? No one (stray poll of people in attendance) was comfortable if this were your bank. In my opinion there is absolutely space for a company to fulfil this role.

-Be awesome and flawsome (in other words absolutely have flaws) and understand and adapt to your flaws

SESSION SUMMARY: Overall a good debate and one where the panel didn’t try to sell their wares.


What consumers, brands and agencies in the West can learn from Asia

Censorship, poverty and extreme connectivity in Asia combine to create a unique series of digital ecosystems. Censorship of external platforms has made China’s social media landscape almost entirely home-grown; Indonesian rice farmers have better cell phone connections than central London while South Korea has more high speed Internet users per population than anywhere on earth. By examining social media usage in Asia, agencies and brands can learn to look at digital in a different way.

He talked a lot about the impact platforms such as WeChat could have in the west (something I blogged about in detail a few weeks ago)

Come visit mum by British airways = super powerful video about emotion (below)

For me the above video highlighted the need to filter out the dog shit of content we are flooded with online today (as people are often turning to dark social to overcome this torrent) and to truly connect and engage with people by bringing them back into the light.

SESSION SUMMARY: The host, Thomas Crampton, was a knowledgeable and passionate presenter and this was a good overarching education on the impact Asia COULD make on our lives in the West.


Anticipatory design: the next development in design will be to eliminate choice, making and executing choices for consumers

Technology has made our lives more convenient, but it has also subjected us to a tyranny of choice (the end result is that our lives are burdened with approximately 35,000 decisions a day).

In this session Aaron Shapiro from Huge talked of a movement towards the elimination of needless choices from our lives and for businesses to make them on our behalf, freeing us up for the ones we really care about.

Nest is a good example of anticipatory design.

I agree that data is becoming an art. Designers are becoming more data scientist and vice versa.

Semantic content will reign.

In my opinion though a new definition of privacy will need to be developed/accepted as I still feel people fear anything other than basic decision being made on their behalf by computers. Trust is also an issue and if the consumer doesn’t trust your brand whilst also not experiencing impactful reciprocity then they will not give over their details for this data/value exchange to occur.

SESSION SUMMARY: Whilst I didn’t fully agree with the ethos (at least pertaining to the next decade) I did find the session though provoking and Aaron was a knowledgeable and captivating presenter.


Community building

SESSION SUMMARY: A poor session where the panel behaved like giggling teenagers with little substance or imparting of education to the audience.

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