Some Takeaways from Last Week’s #unGeeked Chicago

As expected, #unGeeked was a great experience, and the new friends and knowledge we took from that conference was well worth the trip. There’s already a great recap of what made #unGeeked so special, but we thought we’d share some of our takeaways. We didn’t catch everything, so I apologize if I missed someone or a particular topic.

Sam Fiorella: Enterprise Internal and External Communities
Sam started #unGeeked by saying, “Too many businesses focus too much on the online and not enough on the offline components.” True words. Sam’s discussion went on to point out that both marketing and communication now lie within all the individuals who make up your business.

This is something we at re:group have had to recognize, that there are multiple touch points of communication. We now live, as Sam Fiorella puts it, in a “many to many” marketing age.

Amanda Hite: Make Meaning With Social Media

“Finding the meaning in what you do and why you do it is what will drive the success of your business, i.e. make money.”

Amanda had a great message in that social media, though good for businesses, doesn’t necessarily have to be all about business. That there is something bigger that a company’s social media effort can be a part of. Social media can be about enhancing lives while building projects with meaning. It shouldn’t just be about followers.

Lou Hoffman: Storytelling and Brand Authenticity

Lou shared some interesting statistics:

  • 66% believe that when dealing with people, you can’t be too careful.
  • 37% Believe that most people would tray to take advantage of you if the got a chance.
  • 85% Believed that people they know personally “try to be fair”.

Lou shared that this is where the power of story telling can bridge that gap between your brand being just a product and being personable.

Troy Janish: Leveraging Employees in Social Media

Troy talked about building and transferring the culture of a traditional company into the world of social. Few industries are as conservative as insurances, but Troy positioned the internal brand evangelists into the driving force of change. And in the field of Insurance, you have to make up the play if you are playing in a field where nothing exists.

Every employee has a role when it comes to social media – and if they are not provided a role, they will find a role. Regulations are important, but they can work within social. The key is internal communications.

Curt Hanke: From Blanding to Branding
Thanks to Curt’s presentation I discovered that there is no such thing as a rational purchase, or rational marketing. We live in an emotional world that dictates our buying and marketing decisions.

This plays big in the agency side. Successful firms teach people about their business, not application. They start with business objectives and sell their clients on the squishy or scary points – things that are not 100% solid, but that the agency believes will work for the client, because they understand their business.

Diane Matigian: When is a Tweet, Comment or Update Slander or Libel? The Legal Implications of Transparency and Digital Tools

Defamation is a big issue thanks to social. Slander and libel still plays – traditional laws exist through the content and publishing of the social web. So, the original laws still apply.  For those who argue freedom of speech, just know this is limited. You can say whatever you want, but you better be prepared to back it up.

When it comes to social media, there is a very fuzzy line between an opinion and slander. The most frustrating thing about social media and the law is there are no 100% correct answers. This space is still being sorted out.

Spike Jones: 93% of word of mouth happens OFFLINE

Did you know that 93% of word of mouth happens OFFLINE? Did you also know that 76% of people still feel companies lie in their ads? This number drops from 58% to 38% when people are asked if companies will do the right thing.

The biggest challenge for marketers right now is marrying word of mouth and credibility. Mr. Jones even had the nerve to state that social media creates weak ties. We agree. Social media is great for networks, not networking. Building and participating in communities that exist solely on online social networks doesn’t work. Businesses need to combine the online with the offline interaction to succeed.

Spike recommended Malcolm Gladwell’s article on social media. I’ve read it, and you should give it a look, too.

Jason Falls: Channeling Mayberry: What Small Towns Can Teach Us About Social Media

Not many would call Ann Arbor small, but there is definitely a small town feel here. Jason’s presentation on how small towns and social media work hand in hand really hit home. Some of his takeaways included:

  • Communities are Networks of trust.
  • Facebook is built on an intentional openness. Small towns are built on unintentional openness.
  • Loyalty is huge in small towns.
  • Being loyal to the community – no one person is more important than the other.
  • Communities celebrate and mourn together.
  • Hospitality and honesty – big in small towns.
  • Local search is the big thing right now in social media, because it has to do with relevancy.

All of what makes small towns what they are can easily be translated to social media best practices.

Sima Dahl: Personal vs. Corporate Branding

Can one separate their personal Working on the personal brand? That was the question asked by Sima. Employees need to ask themselves: Who you are, why you do what you do, what makes you special, and how can you take the special and make it work for a company.

To be successful at anything we have to own what you want to do. The brand, personal or corporate, helps with the buy in – access.

Barry Moltz: Now Build Yourself a Business

Barry gave is five things to build success business

  1. Hire the right people
  2. You’ve got to meet the right people
  3. Get rid of the “s” word. Successful businesses don’t sell, they solve. People buy when they are in pain and when they have money to solve that pain
  4. We can’t sell – we just have to be ready when people are ready to buy
  5. Customer service is the new marketing – it is the only way to be competitive in today’s market.

Sorry we didn’t get everyone on this list. Check out the #unGeeked hashtag as reviews are starting to pop up from attendees and speakers.

Congratulations to the organizers of #unGeeked Chicago, and thank you for having us. Hard to believe it has been a year already! See you in Toronto.

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