On Wednesday we went to our third event of Social Media Week 2012, a look into how we reach the 7 Billion using mobile to create global social engagement. The event was hosted at PR agency Edelman on Victoria Street. The thing is, with so many events during Social Media Week, I have gone into each one not quite sure what each event and it's setting is going to be like, so this was a pleasant suprise to walk into. I have to say this was one of the best run networking events I've been too. The cameramen, photographers, cloakroom attendents, staff serving free drinks and canapes made this event feel it was important to be there. It was also the first event of the week with a live Twitter wall and the first one I've been to that was being livestreamed on the internet.
On the panel were Nathan Eagle - CEO and founder of Jana, Ian Carrington - Director of Mobile Advertising EMEA, Google, Jay Altschuler - Director of Global Media Innovation, Unilever and Gerry Kelliher - Senior Director, RIM. The panel was led by Renate Nyborg - Director of Mobile at Edelman.
There was no doubt that the panel knew what they were talking about and have plenty of experience and respect from within their industries. Unfortunately the event didn't give me anything new and insightful. When following the Twitter hashtag #smwedelman I was surprised by the audience's reaction - everyone found this event to be one of the most inspirational events they had ever attended.
The tone was set by the introduction Renate Nyborg gave every member in the panel, expressing how great they were before they spoke. Renate Nyborg introduced Nathan Eagle, confessing what a huge fan she was, which was slightly cringeworthy. The first question from the audience came with a declaration of love for all the work Nathan Eagle has been doing. Personally, what wins me over at these events is what a speaker has to say, not their background.
So what did they have to say? Listening to Gerry Kelliher was interesting, but it just felt too much like a pitch for Blackberry. Ian Carrington seemed very knowledgeable and down to earth and did make a lot of sense. Listening to Nathan Eagle and Jay Altschuler reminded me of two intelligent politicians delivering one liners about how great everything was.
Sometimes having no initial speakers and going straight into the panel answering questions works as a structure. Sometimes though, this means there is no purpose or agenda to the talk. It also makes it harder to distinguish between the personalities of the speakers and what they truly believe in. I was in a position not knowing much about the speakers beforehand, so because everyone on the panel and within the industry thinks that mobile is important, it was difficult to distinguish between their thoughts. It was all a bit too... pleasant?
When I read critical journalism and posts, I do question their stance, so I shall list some tweets from the event I picked up on the #smwedelman hashtag that list quotes from the panel. I'll leave it up to you whether you think these quotes from the panel reveal anything new and insightful about mobile, social, local, data etc ...
I shall add two quotes of my own to the list...
“The challenge is to get the data from the noise. It goes back to consumer insights and understanding consumer behaviours.”
“We need social media networks to spread the message. If you build a campaign that is appropriate for the audience then it will work.”
In all fariness there were some points made that stood out in my mind...
- In India there are more mobile phones than toilets.
- A mobile phone was compared to a cow. In India someone would buy a cow for a large investment, sell the cow's milk to the locals and in 12 months make their money back, after 12 months they would make a profit. They now buy a mobile phone for a large investment and sell phone calls to the locals and in 12 months make their money back.
- In 2006 in Kenya, Nathan Eagle paid for everything on his mobile phone - I never knew Kenya was so far ahead of the rest of the world.
- 80% of men use their mobile phones as their alarm clocks.
- After a slight dig at Nokia earlier in the discussion, at the end of the event there was then a question from a man from Nokia (quite amusing) which was dealt well with by both the audience member and the panel.
If I were to summarise what I learnt from this event it would go something like this. Mobile is important and it is important right now. Brands need to integrate social and local services into everything they do. There is a lot of data out there. We need ways to find the key data and not the rubbish data. As one audience member asked, we are no longer interested in big data, we need massive data - I think that question summed the night up.
Exclusive Video Interviews (Via Edelman)
Nathan Eagle answers how we can access emerging markets using mobile technology:
Jay Altschuler answers how mobile has changed conversation between brands & consumers:
Gerry Kelliher answers how brands utilise BBMs API:
View the whole conference via Livestream here
View the Edelman photos via Flickr here
View the Edelman Editions blog post on the event here