Last week, thousands of marketers attended our Festival of Marketing at the Tobacco Dock in London.

It was a two-day celebration of the modern marketing industry, featuring speakers from brands including LEGO, Marks and Spencer, Coca-Cola, Buzzfeed, KLM and many more industry experts sparking discussions in a unique mix of Q&As, debates, case studies and workshops.

Although it would be impossible to condense one session into a single quote, or even cover every single session in each strand (there were 10 stages featuring approximately 120 sessions plus five keynote speeches), here’s a quick round-up some of the key takeaways from our event. 

Adobe

Meghan Falter from Adobe had the following insights…

Airbnb

Andrew Schapiro, head of brand creative at Airbnb on the controversy of its redesigned new logo: 

Surprisingly it wasn’t difficult to deal with, it was something we had fun with. We were close to it for many months so to get that kind of response you might expect it to be disheartening but we all felt confident that this was the right direction for the brand in the long-term.

On the impetus behind the rebrand:

There was a disconnect in the way we spoke about ourselves internally and the way the world outside saw Airbnb as simply a platform to book a place to stay. The exercise was how to reflect externally our values as a brand and the way we know our brand internally. 

Asda

Asda’s senior director of marketing innovation Dominic Burch talked about how PR delivered YouTube success for the supermarket.

With Mum’s Eye View, Asda set itself a target of 750,000 views in the first year. It achieved that after eight weeks. The channel now has nearly 87,000 subscribers.  

BP Castrol

Adrienne Liebenberg the global B2B marketing director for BP Castrol revealed how it improved the customer journey by overhauling its website. 

It was confusing to navigate and 15,000 SKUs were too much. This was simplified, the product range was halved and international brands were reduced by 90%.

62 websites were combined into one and a comprehensive translation service was put in place to make sure that the sites’ often technical language was properly represented in the 48 languages needed to hit 98% of the web’s audience.

Buzzfeed

The creative director of Buzzfeed Philip Byrne offered some advice to brands and revealed the core values or shareable content…

  • Identity: content reflects the reader’s identity, what they express through sharing content is how they’d like to be perceived.
  • Inspirational: readers want to show that they have an interest in the real human world and that they can provoke a positive emotional reaction.
  • Information: telling people something they didn’t already know.
  • Humour: everyone wants to look funny.
  • Human rights: we want to show that we’re empathetic, caring people with a heart.

Alastair Campbell

Tony Blair’s former communications director Alistair Campbell, or the ‘king of spin’ as you might prefer to call him, had a lot to say about using social media the ‘right way’.

If you’re not on social media, you are dislocated from your markets. You are simply the subject of other people’s opinions, whether right or wrong, about your business. If you’re there, you can help shape the dialogue, demonstrating a willingness to engage and explain, building trust and, crucially, shortening the gap between the institution and the audience. It may all seem tactical. Social media used properly is a modern strategic tool.

Coca-Cola

“The [mobile] screen is now more superior to TV. TV is dead” stated vice president of European marketing Javier Sanchez-Lamelas. He went on to say…

In 2014, there has been a change that very few marketers noticed. This was the year that many people gained the ability to watch in real-time anything they want in high-definition. The problem to overcome now is that consumers have full control over what they watch.

You can read more about the Coca-Cola session over at Marketing Week.

The Fabl

The North Yorkshire content marketing agency stated…

Gov.uk

The Government’s digital strategist Russell Davies stated “you are better off making a product that works really well than taking an average one and promoting it.”

Davies also argued that user experience is more important than innovation when creating successful online services: “Avoid innovation like the plague. Focus on usability and fixing the things that don’t work.”

Read more from Davies’s talk here: Gov.uk is a better website than yours.

Information is Beautiful 

Data journalist & information designer David McCandless shared these amazing data visualisations…

Doug Kessler

Velocity’s Doug Kessler spoke about ‘insane honesty in content marketing’. Mere honesty is something that should be a given in marketing, for ethical reasons, but insane honesty is a choice.

It means sharing your weaknesses and showing them openly. Sharing weaknesses and minus points makes the rest of the marketing much more believable. 

Kessler provided his six reasons for insane honesty here.

KLM

KLM makes €25m per year from social media according to its social media manager Karlijn Vogel-Meijer.

This is a result of its focus on customer experience. This is no simple task bearing in mind that KLM receives 45,000 mentions per week, of which around 5,000 are genuine queries that need to be investigated. The brand still manages an average response time of 23 minutes, and communicates in 11 different languages (soon to go up to 14).

LEGO

Lars Silberbauer is LEGO’s global director of social media and he spoke about being the ‘human voice of your company’.

He also revealed that LEGO ensures constant real-time engagement because it has social teams positioned in all major territories. As soon as one country goes to bed, another wakes up to pick up the baton. 

Also that LEGO requires every person in its social teams to take a licence to operate a social channel. Much like a driver’s licence there’s a practical and theoretical test, and if the successful licence holder makes any mistakes the licence can be revoked at any time.

Here’s a little window into its social ROI…

Marks and Spencer

Laura Wade-Geary is the executive director of multichannel at Marks and Spencer, these are some of the many highlights of her talk…

Microsoft Mobile

Marketing director Adam Johnson revealed the following…

Naked Wines

Here are Naked Wines’ five steps to social selling…

Paddy Power

Harry Dromey talked about the benefits of being ‘mischief champion’ at Paddy Power… “I now know the C word in 38 languages”.

Pitch and Synch

According to music agency Pitch & Sync, 95% of the money spent by brands on music is wasted. John Lewis is the one getting it right.

They argued that predominantly music is treated very tactically for short term marketing objectives by brands and, as a consequence, rarely says anything strategically about them.

Read more over at Creative Review.

Professor Green 

The UK rapper had the following to say about being his own personal brand…

Ryanair

Ryanair’s CMO Kenny Jacobs has a new focus on digital and customer experience. Its marketing plan is very simple, Ryanair just needs to be likeable, useful and different.

This entails several key elements:

  • Need to start to listening to customers.
  • Stand for low fares and better service.
  • Use data and digital to drive conversion, not just retention.
  • Develop product without losing the low cost leadership.
  • Innovate: mobile, Google, content.
  • Add new capacity, bases and route.

Selfridges

Head of digital marketing Claire Higgins revealed that the retailer currently gets 60% of traffic from tablet and mobile devices (rising to 70% on Christmas Day), so catering to these customers is vital.

The site is an extension of the brand and gets more visitors than our physical stores. It’s the global gateway to the Selfridges brand. 

Read about Selfridges use of multichannel experiences here.  

Sony 

Tim Lion, the head of social media art Sony Electronics Europe revealed the following…

Sticky Content

Founder of Sticky Content, Catherine Toole revealed this stat…

Universal Pictures 

Albert Hogan, the head of digital strategy, revealed that Universal is using social data to influence its franchises. The next instalment of Fast and Furious will film in locations where the most number of Facebook fans are situated.

More on Universal and social here.