Monday, February 08, 2010
An Evening of Storytelling & Conversuasion
- by Jon Nelson
There was a dynamic energy found inside the Arts and Letters Club on Thursday Night. A fireside chat between the attending industry populace and three of its most dynamic figureheads had a building normally reserved for literary figures, artists and academics to coolly gather, buzzing. This was Ad Lounge’s Conversuasion, and the industry had come to be intrigued, see different views, and take away some well-configured insights.
After initial mingling, spring roll eating, and well-deserved beverages after a day in the ad industry, Conversuasion kicked off with a theme song. The comedic lyricism of Pirate Radio’s Chris Tate was an appreciable way to outline what Conversuasion is all about: 20 minute conversations delivered by characters that shape our industry.
On a stage adorned with a crackling fire (on a flat screen), Andrew McCartney, Managing Director, Tribal DDB, gave a bit of background to the value of an Ad Lounge and DDB partnership, and warmed up the crowd before presenting the storytellers.
First to tell her story, seated in the Conversuasion / Cosby inspired easy chair by the fire, Jill Nykoliation kicked the evening into high gear. Twenty minutes of Jill’s words would move any mountain of a brand to act on the insights she’s gathered on women and applied to their consumer tendencies. As President of Juniper Park, Jill works to resonate with a populace of women who feel they’re unrepresented by marketers. Jill’s hope is to put brands in a position of having women say of them: “this brand gets me,” and it was clear by her vast knowledge of the female mentality and spirit that Jill knows how to make that happen. The audience took a lot away from her story and furthermore, there were definitely a few men who will understand their significant others better than before attending Conversuasion.
Dré Labre, Creative Director at Tribal DDB Canada, took the fireside chair and presented without slides, promising to make up for it with his electric presence. The audience was not let down. Speaking of chance favouring the prepared mind and applying the notion to the evolution of interactive advertising, Dré gave the audience a glimpse of what it would be like to work for a Creative Director so full of passion for creative work. He went on to explain that the prepared mind enables marketers to quickly act in an area of the industry that requires a timely response: social media. “If you’re interested, you’re interesting,” stressed Dré, and the need for a brand to listen and respond is great in these times. Just showing interest in what consumers are saying and giving them a voice goes a long way. Before departing, he also shared his hope that one day soon, the advertising industry will create new technology that allows interaction. Instead of simply piggybacking on tech already developed for communicating online to talk to the right audience, Dré hopes we’ll one day create it internally, freeing us from any boundaries we face now. Interesting wishes for the future that the room seemed to agree with more than a little.
Passion for the business is something everyone in the room had in spades, but Chris Robbins, Chief Customer Officer, WIND Mobile, not being a marketer per se, took his idea of passion down a different road. That wasn’t the only “P” he had a lot to say about, as Chris outlined the new 3.5 “P’s” of the industry. Included with Passion were People, Perspective, Fun (and Luck). It was more than apparent through listening to Chris’s story that he, along with WIND, strive to do it all differently. A company’s internal passion should be exemplified externally, Chris told a focused crowd. Boring is the new evil. No longer should a brand talk “at” costumers, but always “with.” Chris also touched on a passion for corporate responsibility, something WIND has gained accolades for. Chris really did tell a story, sharing chapters of WIND’s short history and future life. The audience was captivated.
After a Q&A session that served to form great epilogues to the three speakers’ stories, attendees had a chance to do what marketers do best. Networking took place over drinks and beautifully architectured cupcakes (a staple of Ad Lounge events). It didn’t seem that anyone was at a lack for conversation while interested little groups formed around the storytellers, hoping to take just a bit more from their vast pockets full of consumer insights. Industry figureheads in abundance, young hopefuls took time to phrase their best questions and it’s more than likely a few beneficial connections were made. After all was said and done, the night wrapped with many smiles, handshakes, and cards exchanged. In the advertising marketing industry, so much value is gained from simply conversing, and Conversuasion succeeded in reminding many of its professionals of this fine fact.