This week, I attended the Hub Forum 2011, the 2nd edition of this new media executive congress. There was a stacked line-up of people on stage throughout the 1 1/2 days and a good-sized audience. On the social media front, there was Jessica Verrilli (business development) from Twitter and Julien Cordoniou from Facebook. There were a number of headline brands (Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Disney…) and a host of agencies, including Nicolas Bordas (TBWA), Natalie Rastoin (Ogilvy), Mercedes Erra (Euro RSCG) as well as Dominique Delport (Havas Media) who gave an endearing tribute to Steve Jobs.
A filled agenda with delightful surprises
The founder and chief organizer of Hub Forum, Vincent Ducrey, interspliced the event with a few wonderful surprises throughout, most notable of which was the presentation of an innovative, futuristic musical instrument (see on Facebook here). Vincent covered the digital world from pretty much every angle: branding, music, press, news, HR, social shopping, mobile, eCommerce… About the only area not covered was gaming, but you could play some virtual table tennis at the eBay stand. Of all the speeches, three stood out literally because the speakers delivered their speeches standing (the rest were delivered from a chair): Facebook, Twitter and Euro RSCG. However, the one that stood head and shoulders above them all was the speech delivered by Mercedes Erra, Executive President of Euro RSCG Worldwide. Delivered with but one slide, the speech was probably the strongest and clearest, with a core message that invoked the most urgent message: give sense to your brand.
Give sense to your Jobs
Mercedes Erra cited that 90% of consumers hate advertising. She encouraged brands to return to giving sense of their messages, and to stop making consumers believe that their sole function is to consume. Invoking Steve Jobs, who literally changed our lives, Mercedes spoke of a need to find a mission that rises above the base desire to make money.
In this rampantly changing world, with the wide-ranging issues facing pretty much every country in one way or another, the true challenge is not to think digital, but to return to the basics and consider the base meaning and our real mission.
3 key messages for consumers
According to Mercedes Erra, consumers are looking for three things:
- meaning, explanations, service: treat the consumer as you would like to be treated yourself
- humility and sincere relationships: just like in our personal lives
- to interact with people, who are responsible representatives of their company.
In search of brand content
One of the greatest signs of intelligence for me has always been the ability to make sense. Making sense in the way you communicate (outgoing). But, also, making sense of what is happening around you (incoming). Today, brands need to understand better the client, the context, to learn to provide a meaningful message and service that makes sense, resonates with the client — and this in real time. It is only then that brand marketers will be able to create bona fide BRAND CONTENT, that will recapture the client’s trust and earn the hard cash.