2007 Fall iMedia Brand Summit Recap

 Web 2.0, social media, innovation and how to monitor, facilitate and activate these within agencies and big brand markters were the big themes at the iMedia Brand Summit this week. Here’s a quick run-down of what went down:

You could have made a fortune at “Buzzword Bingo” if your card read “Consumer is in Control”, “engagement”, “non-paid media”, “social media” and “Danny Sullivan.” The latter is a bit of a dig on Broadband Media’s jovial President who inspires the same from summit speakers. The point is that there is a groundswell of interest and buzz from big brands about consumer engagement and a largely unmet demand for forward-leaning, strategic suppliers to chart the course in these new waters. Below is my experience at iMedia Summit this week:

Sean Finnegan, CEO OMG Digital, keynoted. As clever of an extemporaneous and humorous speaker that Sean is, the larger statement made by his presence on the main stage is the growing prominence of digital within large holding companies that mirror development with client marketing organizations. Conversations about Sean’s promotion were linked with Sarah Fay’s advancement over traditional and digital—having come up through the latter—to lead Carat. Innovation Panel moderated by our own SVP, Susan MacDermid, was declared by some as “the best panel we’ve seen.” It included strong anchors with Jack Haber of Colgate-Palmolive representing marketers and Dave Smith of MediaSmith representing pure media discipline. In the middle and stirring things up were the thoughtful, entertaining and provocative pair of Alan Schulman—founder of Brand New World and recently joined IMC2—and Joseph Jaffe, author, speaker and founder of Crayon, a digital strategy firm. Conversation ranged from how to establish framework for dialogue and innovation around digital and create opportunities and ways to facilitate adoption in corporations. Some out-take comments from the panel can be found at http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/coverage/16576.asp Building on the innovation panel message, Scot McLernon lead a panel that included Detla CMO, Tim Mapes, Oglivy digital lead, Jean-Phillipe Maheu and CMO club founder, Peter Krainik about creating cultures that can handle the change digital introduces. Mapes advocates that big ideas often require big failures.“If you have 10 big ideas, eight of them are probably going to be absolute failures,” Mapes said. “But that’s actually good. You want those failures. Only the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world actually do it. We need a lot more crazy people.” Krainik’s build:“There are a lot of organizations out there that are thinking about how not to fail,” Krainik said. “What they need to be doing is creating the inspiration to want to win.”http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/coverage/16573.asp  Sean X. Cummings of Ask.com provides a great recap of Adam Curry’s presentation on Consumer Engagement entitled: “Where Will You Spend Your Next Billion?” He chronicles Curry’s journey from original MTV VJ to “podfather” and co-founder of podcasting innovator and network, PodShow. Natch, Curry believes the next billion-plus $$ valuations will be in content. http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/coverage/16575.asp Next Stage Chief Research Officer, Joseph Carrabis gave a great presentation on usability and interaction design that actually fit will with the “consumer in control” theme. He began by asking what objectives marketers had for their website and got the usual “revenues” and “conversions” responses. Carrabis noted that “relationships” were absent the responses, and then deconstructed a couple of websites to point out opportunities to enrich relationships and consumer engagement through User Experience Design. http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/coverage/16572.asp Brand Monitoring and response was covered in a smart panel—if the user is in control, how do we understand and respond to what they’re promoting about our brands if we’re not watching? http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/coverage/16571.asp  Networking, networking, networking. If you have not attended an iMedia Summit for agencies or brands, try to get an invitation to an upcoming summit. An amazingly open environment of peer-sharing and energetic discussion has been carefully fostered by the iMedia Team of Rick Parkhill, Mike Pubentz, Jeanne Carlson, Jo Jacobson, Kurt Indvick, Brad Berens, Masha Geller and too many others to list here. If you look at my iMedia Connection profile you’ll see that I’ve attended 13 iMedia Summits since 2004 and have not intention of cutting back my participation or support. It’s a great community forum for digital marketing leadership. 


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