Silicon Beach has arrived on Bournemouth’s shores once again. Another year of insightful talks, fascinating takes on tech, and Matt Desmier’s exotic suits. Given Bournemouth’s newly gained status of being the fastest growing digital hub outside of London, this year’s event was set to be the best yet.

It certainly delivered on that promise. Bringing together the UK’s leading strategic thinkers, digital innovators and people who look at brands, Silicon Beach is two days of brain bending antics set by the sea. What more could you want?

Here are our highlights from the conference, the two days leaving our creative juices flowing and our minds buzzing.


Dan Machen – Director of Innovation at Hey Human

Dan asked whether behaviours are changing, he wants to dive into the brain and see what technology is actually doing to our minds. It’s in our hands almost all day, and every day and we’re all victim of the occasional phantom vibration – the perception that the phone is vibrating when it isn’t, arguably the tech alternative of phantom limb sensation.

The main point to keep in mind is that we are not machines; we have a limit to what we can take in. We can’t have it all, he coined the term ‘pancake people’, that we’re spreading ourselves too wide and too thin.

Make messaging easy to process. The processes we employ need to be simpler, particularly when targeting younger people, their brains are all over the shop thanks to technology and social media. Keep your brand stories simple, don’t over tell, and conquer the context of your campaign.

Follow on Twitter @danmachen

felix_morgan-300x300Felix Morgan – Innovator at Brave Creativity

Advertising is something that we’re so accustomed to in our current day and age that rational advertising is no longer the way forward, it may drive quick sales but it doesn’t build long term value for your brand. We need to get emotional – if you can evoke an emotion in your audience then you are sure to be stuck in their minds.

We’re exposed to 3,000 adverts a day, making it harder than ever to cut the wheat from the chaff – only 4% are genuinely liked, whereas 7% are disliked and the remaining 89% go completely unnoticed. Where do your adverts fall?

Agencies should no longer be looking to win awards. They should be focused on giving clients effective work, and make jobs more enjoyable for staff. Focus groups are inherently flawed, Brave Creativity has been exploring biometrics as a way to test its creatives before they go to market; skin responses, facial coding, and eye tracking.

Follow on Twitter @felixjmorgan

alastair_duncan-300x300Alastair Duncan – Co-Founder at Alternative Genius

Alastair, aka the ‘disrupter of things’, brought an enigmatic presence to the stage on Friday morning, giving a talk full of wit and laughter – despite promising not to make any jokes. The Co-Founder at Alternative Genius discussed the scene of digital marketing, and how cliché it has come to be. His four key points though, are applicable everywhere; be provocative, be memorable, be different, and be better. His mantra for work is so glaringly obvious once spoken aloud, “Being different is easy, but being better is difficult.”

He really hit the nail on the head when he illustrated the way in which marketers are clawing for the attention of their audience with his slide focusing on those buzzwords titles we’ve all come to know and loathe, ‘Here’s How Big Data-Led Interactive Branded Content Marketing Is Growth Hacking Influencer Storytelling By Leveraging The Blockchain To Control 3D-Printer Drones in the Cloud #ffs #clickbait on Facebook, oovoo, LinkedIn’.

The overriding thought comes with the fact that 62% of clients are considering forming their own in-house agency, meaning that it’s more important than ever to give your clients hope – take their problems and give them an intelligent answer.

Follow on Twitter @AlastairDuncan

anjali_ramachandran_2-300x300Anjali Ramechandran – Head of Innovation at PHD

Marketing is becoming increasingly personal – but how do we feel about it? Mostly popular when addressing those ‘Millennials’ we hear so much about. Brands like Starbucks and Coke really brought this concept to the attention of us all. The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign means that if you have a common name you’ll have seen yourself on hundreds of thousands of bottles over the past few years. Let’s not forget that classic Starbucks trick of spelling your name wrong, when you and your friends post it online and laugh at their faux pas, they’re rolling in the free advertising.

One fantastic example of targeted social advertising that Anjali presented was a campaign by TV channel Dave, advertising their ‘Modern Life is Goodish’ show by Dave Gorman. They really drilled into their metrics with posts specifically addressing users based on what they had liked such as ‘Hello there person who works in sales and likes acting…’

It’s worth noting though, that this will work best with millennials, or people under 35 as they are also known, as they’re so present in the world of technology. Just make sure that if you are doing it, ensure that you’re upfront about it because if you get it wrong they won’t hesitate to string you out in front of their followers.

Follow on Twitter @anjali28

rina_atienza2_0-300x300Rina Atienza – Associate Director at OMD Worldwide

Rina’s talk was delightfully soulful, advising that we should all find our own beach, asking “Why would you want to be plugged into everything all the time?”. Half an hour filled to the brim with excellent quotes that we can all live by in our day to day lives. ‘Economic viability needs a human society’. ‘A life of consumption – owning fancy sh*t isn’t good enough’. ‘Creativity flourishes outside of creative agencies’. ‘The effect you have on others is the most valuable form of currency there is’.

The one that really appeared to stick with everyone – not least because of the demented image of a monkey that accompanied it – was ‘Don’t work for applause, live for a cause’.

Follow on Twitter @eevilmidget

It’s safe to say that Desmier knocked it out of the park once again for Silicon Beach. Some of the world’s best creative minds gave us two full on days of innovative thoughts, ground breaking ideas, and we can’t forget those exotic suits. Sign us up for next year!