Pivot Conference 2011 New York


Brian Solis @ Pivot Conference 2011
Photo (cc) Kenneth Yeung – www.snapfoc.us

At the start of this week I headed to the Pivot Conference in Times Square, New York, for two days of social fun!

Day one kicked off with event organiser Brian Solis’s opening session; an insightful look into the social consumer. A clear and consistent message that resounded across the two day conference – and that we agree with – is that brands need to “rethink how they’re using social media” i.e. just because someone has liked your brand page, this does not mean you can simply bombard them with information about your brand. Think about “relevance, resonance and significance.” According to Solis “what prevents organisations from moving beyond experimentation social marketing is budget, no clear social strategy and an unclear outcome.”

American Express’s John Hayes gave an honest insight into how they were approaching social media and their biggest learning around the fact that “listening is pivotal”. As a brand with over 160 years’ experience, they are only just learning how to give up control and he highlighted their key principles in social marketing as “speed, the art of listening and the loss of control”. In a time when brands are dealing with an “I will decide, not you” generation, it is important for them to listen to online conversations taking place about their brand, as they no longer have sole control over what is said. Check out one of the ways they are engaging their customers further with their Unstaged series on Vevo.

The most insightful presentation, in my opinion, from the two conference came from Britta Schell, Director of Digital Strategic Insights at MTV. She explained the brand’s recent research on Millennials, those people “born between 1980-2001, digital natives with an intertwined real life and digital life.”  Is that you?  To give you a snapshot of what the research reveals… “90% of Millennials say it is important to them how others view them on Facebook, with a third modifying their photos online, and 93% posting something in a social language only their friends would understand.” This audience know what platforms they should be using and what they should be using them for.   They thrive on feedback and reported feeling more confident when a brand or friend responds to them socially.

There were some pretty bold statements made around brands spending their money in the wrong places. Chris Heuer stated; “Engage or die…” (we are pretty sure he means in a digital sense!) followed by David Roger’s wild claim that “digital marketing is too important to leave to a brand’s marketing department.”

Rebecca Millman hit the nail on the head with her comment: “consumer behaviour has moved around brands, yet most brands haven’t moved as fast as their consumers and have definitely not moved their money.”

Building on the bold, Frank Eliason of Citicorp provided the shock factor, by showing the recent video of a Citi Bank customer being arrested for apparently closing down their account. Both brave and clever to address it at a social media conference, but it comes back to Jack Hayes’ point around brands no longer being in control of what people say about them, or how their activity is shared online.

Did you go to Pivot Conference? How was it for you? For an overview of tweets from the day, see #pivotcon or check out pivotcon. Until next year…