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Digital Beached: Humans – not tech – create relationships

Speakers at Silicon Beached in London challenged delegates to think about their personal purpose in applying marketing and technology for good.

Photo by Paul Clarke | paulclarke.com | @paul_clarke

Silicon Beach is a one day version of a conference that was founded in Bournemouth in 2011. It’s up there with Herb Kim’s Thinking Digital series for the quality of inspiring and thought provoking speakers.

Founder Matt Desmier kicked off today’s event with a pitch for Bournemouth as the digital capital of the UK. He said that he created the one-day Silicon Beach event in event to persuade people to make the trip in September to the two day conference.

Matt is a fantastic curator and host. He brought together 10 fantastic speakers to talk about digital, marketing and technology.

The speakers were all female.

“It’s a deliberate and personal response to the dominance of male speakers at conferences,” said Matt.

Gemma Greaves (@gemmahgreaves)
CEO, Marketing Society

Stronger together

Gemma’s session started with a three minute mediation. It was a disruptive way to kick off the event. She called on delegates to discover and live their purpose. Hers is being curious and bringing people together.

Her message was that purposeful people attract other like minded individuals. “Instinct will always trump data”, she said.

Gemma is a straight talker who is breaking down barriers in management, failure, gender, and mental health. We need to break down taboos was her key message.

Melissa McVeigh (@melmcveigh)
Product Director, Photobox

The ethical challenge of artificial intelligence in photography

Mel told the story of Photobox. She reckons that the business is the largest repository of photos other than Facebook and Google.

“We’ve been able to watch how attitudes to photography have changed in the 16 years since the business was founded. Quality is the big shift.”

It takes us 1/4 second to process a visual cue. 2.5 seconds to add context. We process visuals 60,000 faster than text.

Mel described how machines are beginning to impact the photography business. Machines can recognise images and objects, and start to make judgements about images.

She cited examples of identifying relationships and automatic enhancement. The critical issue is ethics, she said.

Hannah Matthews (@hattiehats)
Managing Partner, Karmarama

Ageing, the great equaliser

Digital and marketing is age obsessed. We’re a young industry which is disconnected from older people.

Hannah talked about how societal challenges meant people have moved away from their family and parents.

Technology also creates divisions. Algorithms don’t represent older people as they’re driven by young people who are searching and using social media.

Hannah shared example of products from SxSW such as Alexa, that offer the potential to reconnect older people with technology.

Older age is a time when people typically have higher levels of satisfaction and wellbeing.

“Ageing is a a global mega trend that brands need to wake up to,” said Hannah.

Nicole Yershon (@nicoleyershon)
Founder and CEO, Nicole Yershon – Innovation People

Shit happens, embrace disruption

Nicole used her personal story of divorce; redundancy from Ogilvy Labs; and sick parents; as a means of managing disruption.

She described how her life was straightforward and drama free until she faced the breakdown of her lifelong relationship.

In an uplifting, standout session Nicole shared advice to help people deal with change. She cited the grace to be kind, and empathy to share another person’s point of view.

Like Gemma, Nicole called on delegates to be themselves and avoid negativity.

“You can’t move forward if you’ve if you’re carrying negative energy.”

Patricia McDonald (@PatsMc)
Chief Strategy Officer, Isobar UK

The imperative of hope

The world is split into two: people who have hope; and those who don’t.

It’s a stark divide that results from digitisation and globalisation, said Patricia.

Brexit shows that globalisation hasn’t benefited everybody. She said digitisation had the potential to democratise society.

Patricia described four areas for how technology could be applied to improve society:

  1. Systems engineering to support dynamic payments and eliminate bureaucracy;
  2. Sharing to repurpose and remix products and services;
  3. Applying legacy skills using technology such as Pass My Parcel; and,
  4. Using emotional triggers and nudges to engage people with products and services.

Patricia called on Digital Beached delegates to apply their expertise to promote inclusivity, and crucially hope.

Shnoosee Bailey
Executive Creative Director & Partner, HeyHuman

Selective attention is a survival skill

HeyHuman uses data and science to drive insights and make braver creative.

The big challenge for marketing is attention.

“We used to consume six pages worth of information per day, now we consume six newspapers worth,” said Shnoosee.

She cited three attributes that organisations should adapt to build relationships with people.

  • Recognition – consistent brand assets than make people stop
  • Resonance – be human, using emotion in language and images
  • Relevance – being contextual and appropriate to the moment

Savannah Peterson (@SavlsSavvy)
Founder, Savvy Millennial

Go live

Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are democratising live broadcast said Savannah. Organisations need to embrace livestreaming as a means of engaging with their audiences, or publics.

Creators remained obsessed with audience numbers or viewers. It’s a nonsense. The most important number is one. The person that you are talking to in the moment.

The stats are compelling. Savannah numerous data points to make her point.

100 people followed the session in the conference room at Silicon Beached. More than 300 joined a livestream via Savannah’s Facebook page. Her point is well made. Look her up.

Anneke Schogt (@Anschogt)
Influencer Marketing Agency

The power of influencers

Anneke’s agency has built a networks of 10,000 bloggers and vloggers. She shared a random selection of eight people from the network that had a combined reach of 92 million people.

People follow people, not brands, said Anneke. Word of mouth is the oldest form of advertising.

Influencers are building audiences on every platform. It means they provide brands with a means to break through the walled gardens of social networks and drive Google search ranking.

Anneke cited micro influencers as a major trend. I’d rather work with 1,000 influencers with 1,000 followers, rather than one with 100,000. It’s has far more impact, she said.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

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