It was a privilege to attend Silicon Beached 2016 (Conway Hall, London) last Tuesday – a day of inspiration and education.

The speakers were amazing, each with their own stories to tell and information to share. The atmosphere was amazing and the cakes were out of this world! It feels an appropriate time now, to congratulate and thank Matt Desmier for all his efforts to make the day as amazing as it was!

For those who missed it, 1) make sure you go to the next one, it’ll be in September back in Bournemouth and 2) here is the low down on everything Silicon Beached. Hopefully you’ll take something away from this blog. You will find some useful links to clips and videos that were used on the day giving examples and providing evidence for what was being said. Enjoy!

The day was opened by the fabulous Lindsey Clay. She spoke about the positive changes in which the TV market has and still is experiencing. Interestingly enough, although TV has changed, the consumer is still watching TV and it’s a relatively stable market. In fact, the amount of TV being watched has only dropped by 4% in 10 years. However, how TV is being watched has changed. Fun fact; 9% of TV is now watched in the bath and 12% in the garden. The rich access to Television on tablet and mobile has allowed us to watch our favorite programmes anywhere. This is good news for those currently looking to advertise on the TV. On average, TV ads can get up to 234 million views. Lindsey also spoke about an investigation where they removed the ability to watch live TV from households for a matter of days. The results were hilarious; the participants didn’t know what to do with themselves. This reveals that TV has a social connection and habitual role in the household. Although, with technology developing, the consumer now expects the following; addressable, interactive and flexible. Now, services such as Sky AdSmart allows advertisers to target a specific target market. For example match.com can show their ads to single people and single people only! If you thought that was freaky, Channel 4 asks you to create a log in to watch on demand. Then in ad breaks you’ll often see adverts with YOUR NAME ON IT! Such as the Coca Cola ‘Share a Coke’ with the advert personalised to the viewer. Creepy!  However it grabs the viewer’s attention and that’s what we all want to do, right?

Next up was Liz Pavitt from Rubber Republic. She compared video branding to online dating. In society today there are different rules; videos must be watchable, shareable and most importantly remarkable. A promotional video must be constructed carefully in order to create magic and be the best it can be. Today many companies come across as desperate, a trait no one likes to see. What do you want for your brand? A one night stand or a marriage, three kids and a Labrador? What magazines would your brand buy? What would it wear? Humanise your brand, be honest, self aware and self confident. A really good example of this is Pringle Jumpers of Scotland’s advert, find it on YouTube. Also, be sure to empower your audience, stay true to your roots and remember not to tell how many people you’ve slept with on the first date! Oh and ask yourself, would YOU date your brand?

The next lovely lady spoke of the initiative called creative equals. It comes from the scary fact that 1) when you search Creative Director on Google, a man, in a black t-shirt sporting a beard appears for pages and 2) only 11% of creative directors are female. Creative Equals is trying to change this. They are asking agencies to try and create better pathways for females to enter creative roles and be able to take on more authoritative and leading roles also. They want to provide support for young female interns and also for returning mums.

Lauren Currie took to the stage next. Lauren is one of ELLE’s 30 under 30’s to watch and she sure did prove why! She talked of her projects in design that she has worked on in the past few years. She is frustrated that the amazing designs we get the privilege of interacting with on websites and mobile apps haven’t become mainstream yet where government websites are still clunky and every day procedures are still so analogue. She also created a ‘Dearest Scotland’ system during the Scottish Referendum where the Scottish could write in a formal manner about their experiences and memories as a Scottish child. This platform aimed to collate real people’s feelings on a political topic. These letters were taken to Parliament and read in front of the Ministers, some of which got quite emotive. The ‘Dearest ___’ scheme is open for anyone to use. One of the highlights of Lauren’s talk, was getting 10 other women on stage to voice their opinions on design, women in the industry or anything else they felt like saying. The reasoning behind this was to give women who might be frightened to speak in front of 200 people the opportunity to do so in a less daunting scenario. The women spoke of their jobs, how they felt out of place as a female and how they are frustrated that public places such as libraries don’t have the technology to allow users to access beautifully designed websites that others experience. I spoke about my hope that girls like me aren’t put off by the male-dominated creative industry we wish to enter.

After lunch, Bostonian Jessica Gioglio told the audience some of what she had learnt working as Social Media Manager for big companies such as Dunkin Donuts and TripAdvisor. She cleverly named the fact that we are all information junkies, seeking to know more because the FOMO.. Infobesity! Today we are hyper connected and desire to know more. Brands need to grab the consumer’s attention and give them a seamless customer experience. She spoke of the power of visual storytelling and actually, the power of anything visual at all. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text and ultimately can convey more emotion and capture the audience in a far stronger way than words can. She suggested looking at creative videos, GIFs, memes (check out Ikea’s clever campaign using memes AND customer interaction) cinemagraphs, infographics and for B2B interaction, SlideShare. Most importantly though, Jessica highlighted that brands need to respond to their customers and use the power of social media to make them feel loved and rewarded for their loyalty to the brand. Even ‘haters’ can give brands a golden moment to show off their incredible interaction skills, check out how Smart car took this opportunity and aced it. Overall Jessica emphasied the need to seize opportunities, create movements and co-create with the customer.

Next up, was another 30 under 30 but this time she was all the way from SAN FRAN! Savannah Peterson spoke on an individual basis and how, to her, goals are a waste of time. She spoke of how by setting a goal, you merely have an idea of where you want to be in 3, 6, 12 months time. She says as an individual and as a business, you have to make decisions. Decisions are commitments based on your values; your choices define you. You would die for whatever you choose to do. In summary, Savannah said to be motivated and decide to do something, then you will. So in her words, go forth and do!

The lovely Thea Hamren from Mr President and Hyper Island spoke of her vision for CSR (Commercial Social Responsibility) and the power it might bring to PR and marketing in 2016. “Purpose is more important that money” – wise words that she thinks every marketing effort should stand by. By taking a responsibility for issues that are currently affecting a population and aiming to try and solve these, the customer will engage and the financial reward will be more natural. Don’t expect the customer to see your true company values through a desperate looking campaign, makes your projects walk the talk. Take a look at this Volvo Life Paint movie clip and this Nivea Doll movie clip – see how both brands have taken a social issue and branded it. Her closing words were powerful: Be true for your audience are no fools.

Pip Jaimeson from The Dots spoke of life as a busy businesswoman. Her top tips were:

-Take a break when you’re feeling your stress levels peak, find your sanctuary.

– Encourage your staff to work hard but know the level at which they will begin to feel the pressure.

– Engage your team; let them be creative with ideas for the business.

– CELEBRATE THE WINS! It’s so hard to focus on the negatives. Consider creating what Pip calls ‘The Glory Wall’ where team members can pin achievements and highlights and also little things that make them smile. Review the board as a pick me up on the low days.

Penultimatley, Nimsah Robb from YouTube and Google spoke about video and how it’s evolving massively. We are watching twice as much video as we did last year and we are watching more video in order to learn. In her recent research, 26% of people chose to watch longer but funnier adverts on mobile, however this behaviour was very different on desktop. Her overall points were to look beyond the view as the unexpected may be more powerful, be flexible and have a variety of formats and approaches up your sleeve and finally experiment, it doesn’t always have to look like an ad.

This amazing day was concluded by the legend that is MT Rainey, who reflected back on history, sharing amazing stories she learnt from living through the true rise of digital. MT was at the launch of the first apple Mac and had to persuade the Apple directors to stick with the somewhat crazy 1984 super bowl commercial introducing the Macintosh computer. I found it amusing that in 1997 she was asked to speak about the imminent “Death of Newspapers” thanks to the rise of computers – in 1997. This fear that lingers today has been around a long time! She concluded by saying that digital is a lot more subtle now than it used to be and maybe we should take time in our lives to pause and think in the moment as we will look back and realise that what we were a part of, was revolutionary.

10 bullet points to summarise my fantastic day: 

  1. TV is still around, be creative with your Ads.
  2. Would you date your brand?
  3. It’s about time women were seen as equal to men in the creative industry.
  4. Make use of the incredible resources we have to make seriously cool designs and think practical too.
  5. Give 1 on 1 attention to your customers and make them feel loved.
  6. Make capturing yet honest visual tools such as videos.
  7. Decide don’t aim.
  8. Be purposeful.
  9. Recognise your achievements.

and…

  1. Pause and recognise what incredible moments we are living in.