Festival of Media 2015: Information v/s Inspiration

The Festival of Media 2015 has been close to my heart for 3 key reasons:

1) Re-connecting with folks from the industry

2) Getting selected for Twitter’s Young Promising Leader (#YPL)

3) But most of all, Getting Inspired. 

The Festival of Media was packed with great sessions from thought leaders across the industry – Joanna Flint (MD of Google Singapore), Shiv Shivakumar (CEO of Pepsi Co India), Cheryl Goh (Global VP, Grab Taxi), Rohit Jawa (CEO of Unilever Philippines) and Sunita Kaur (Managing Director of Spotify) to name of few.

I absolutely enjoyed myself learning more about the rapidly evolving media space that is increasingly being dominated by Digital, Social and Programmatic discussions. While a lot of these conversation were super informative and thought provoking, there were some sessions that really inspired me to ‘dream a bigger dream’ and imagine a marketing world so different from the one we live in now. My top 3 Inspirations are as below:

1) Jeffrey Yang, CMO China at Huawei

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Jeffrey asked deeper philosophical questions about what marketing really is. He drew parallels to ancient Chinese Philosophy such as how the five elements are relevant to marketing. He talked about how we are not targeting men or women but actually the masculinity and femininity in both (much like Yin and Yang). But something that will stick with me for the rest of my life is how the ability to analyse things (in this big data age) can sometimes cloud our long term vision and marketing strategy. He talked about how when we try to understand a tree, we look at the leaves, then analyse the leaves, understand chlorophyll and end up analysing that. But the question is, do we end up losing sight about the tree itself?

2) JC Oliver, Global Head of Innovation at Microsoft 

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Gosh. What a ball of Energy! JC Oliver is obviously extremely passionate about what he does and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone thinks. That is exactly what I love about him. JC Oliver talked about Innovation in a way no one has ever talked about – he didn’t break down complex equations (Yes, there are equations!), talk abstract things that no one understood or throw the word around like a Frisbee. He gave numerous examples and explained what Dragon Slayers really do. His example about Microsoft Cloud’s collaboration with Virgin Airlines to create a multi-sensory in flight experience during Christmas got me jumping in my seat. What we can do together is so much powerful than what we can do alone. Just imagine the possibilities!

3) Brian Wong, CEO at KIIP 

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This 23 year old CEO got everyone at the conference thinking – What have I done with my life?! Brian has a great sense of humour, is driven and talked about something that sadly no one talks about in the marketing world – (Real) VALUE. Often, we think we are adding value to the customer but the excessive conversation about programmatic (blah. blah. blah.) really just adds value to ourselves. Brian talks about capturing moments – specifically conquering the amygdala (the part of the brain associated with pleasure) when people ‘progress to the next level in a game’ or ‘check off a to-do-list’. The ability for brands to reward these crucial moments with delightful surprises (Ex: $20 Uber Ride) gives brands to the ability to maintain a really intimate relationship with the customer (& maintain a robust CRM Model). He urged the entire industry to not just bombard people with ads on every different screen but really engage with customers in a meaningful and respectful way.

Genius might be 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, but I think marketing is really 100% Inspiration (everything else will fall into place).

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