BlogOn Conference Positive Experience, WiFi Not
Not that you didn't notice the plunge in content yesterday on Adrants but, call me stupid, one would assume going to a conference attended by a cadre of bloggers who can't live without WiFi would have guaranteed Adrants the ability to provide you with our usual level of useless commentary but no. While valiant efforts were made to insure the existence of WiFi access at New York's Copacobana nightclub, not exactly the type venue one would expect to find WiFi, the two day conference, profoundly informative content aside, was filled with intermittent 5 second periods of Internet access just long enough to see that hundreds of emails and news stories were calling our attention causing, because of the inability to do anything, our blood pressure to rise and our head to explode in frustration.
OK. Bitching, aside, the Blog On conference focused on social media, which, among other things, consists of people's dramatically increased ability to produce their own content and say whatever they want about a brand. The primary message to marketers during the two day event was, number one, LISTEN to the ongoing conversation, enabled by blogs, chat rooms, forums, IM, Wikis, podcasting, social networks and innumerable other methods with which consumers can achieve a voice as powerful and widespread as marketers, number two, JOIN the conversation by participating in these new media and three, do not attempt to CONTROL the conversation with bullhorn marketing communications methods of old. That's over. That's so over. Deal with it and move one. Oh, and number four, leave the LAWYERS out of this. If a marketer has an issue with a person denigrating the brand, speak with that person like a normal human being and find out why that person is saying what he is saying. Don't slap a ceases and desist on his ass because all he'll do is post that cease and desist on his blog making the brand look even more stupid, idiotic and out of touch with reality.
I hosted a panel Tuesday with Organic CEO Mark Kingdon, Unilever Brand Development Director David Rubin and Jaffe LLC Founder Joe Jaffe. A hearty thanks to the three of you for participating. We talked about how advertising can fit into social media and discussed a few of the issues swirling in this area. There's Jeff Jarvis who, following a bad experience with a Dell computer, publicly forced Dell to respond, albeit poorly, There's George Masters, a teacher who created a professional looking iPod commercial which raced around the globe. Smartly, Apple, who is lawsuit happy, took a hands off approach There's Converse who asked consumers to submit films about Chuck Taylors. There's Mercedes who encouraged people to send pictures of themselves with their Mercedes which were ultimately featured in the company's ad campaign. There's the proliferation of Million Dollar Homepages. There's Geico and Cadillac who held a contests for people to submit commercials. There's Firefox who raised money from enthusiasts to place an ad for the browser in the New York Times. There's Current TV, a network filled with consumer generated content. There's Alane Golden who created an American Apparel Campaign and posted it on Flickr. There's Ad Candy which set up an exchange where consumer enthusiasts can create commercials for their favorite brand and the brand can opt to use it.
There were other panels which taught marketers how to listen in this new social media, discussed the role of public relations, explored distribution of consumer generated content, revealed the ins and outs of podcasting, taught attendees how to "pitch" bloggers and how to determine social media's ROI.
Co-panelists Joe Jaffe sums up his experience . Oh, and finally, after more than three years of digital acquaintance, I finally met who signed a copy of his latest (no, that's not a typo) for me. Rock on.
Oh, and a long overdue shout to BizNetTravel who gets us painlessly from point A to point B so we can attend these great events.