5 things on Friday #4

Five things of note from this week

  1. This Shangri-La Hotel ad: ‘It’s in our nature‘ – it’s gorgeous
  2. New job. New job. New job. Even managed to get my first speaking gig by day three! Amazing.
    Great work, inspiring people. This is my mantra, remind me to revisit this one day and I’ll explain where it comes from. Or just ask me when you see me next.
  3. DRIVE. I loved it (as you might know) and on 8pm on January 30th, it’ll be #DriveTime – it’s a hashtag. Get involved. I am, and as such, I’ve got a [free] copy of DRIVE on Blu-ray – Yes!
  4. Speaking of DRIVE, it gets a special mention in this Like Minds talk that I gave back in October. The video went live this week (hence the link love), it’s only 20mins long and well, you should check it out.
  5. My ex-client friend!! Carla was over from Dubai this week and, alongside picking me up a bottle of one of my favourite whiskies, she also placed a bet with me on how long RIM will last in 2012. She thinks by June, I say September or later. The Blackberry makers aren’t going through very good times at the moment and well, as a keen observer said to me recently – ‘they’re not for this world’. 

Bonus: I lost my pen – #sadtmes.



Like Minds: the five word of mouth moments of 2011

Last October I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak at the fantastic Exeter-based conference, Like Minds.

Like Minds 2011 Day 3

— pic via the extremely talented Harry Duns

My topic? The five word of mouth moments of 2011.

Easy, right?

You don’t need me to tell you the first five that spring to mind, so let’s look what happens when you probe a little deeper –

[your comments and feedback, as ever, are welcome]

Oh, and the best thing? I just managed to lay my hands on a ticket to the rather exciting TEDxObserver 2012.

Speakers include one Miss Camila Vellejo.




1000heads: Creativity + Curation

This past week saw the Exeter-based gathering that is known as the LikeMinds 2010 Autumn Conference.

likeminds starting day 2

Photo via the lovely Benjamin Ellis

If you’re a regular reader here at 1000heads you’ll know that LikeMinds has become one of our favourite things ever since our first attendance back in February of this year. I’m pleased to say that last week’s event – based around the themes of ‘Creativity + Curation’ – was no disappointment.

Unlike February’s event, where the one key takeaway (for me at least) was the audience-wide understanding of the importance of listening, this time around the lessons were much more broad; touching upon various different subjects, specialisms and industries including; Music, Film, Publishing (traditional and new) as well as other, more thought-provoking pieces along the lines of the impact of social technologies and the much-discussed ‘Big Society‘.

For me personally, the highlights came in varying forms. First, the opening Publishing ‘immersive’ session hosted by Andrew Davies of Idio was rammed to the rafters as everyone came together to discuss the impact of the social web upon the traditional publishing industry. For such a packed event, Andrew facilitated well as the rest of the group swiftly leapt from one area to another covering off not only the real value of brand/consumer relationships (throwing in some real world examples to boot) but also whether or not true curation is just filtering other people’s content.

LikeMinds resident live-blogger, Adam Tinworth, happened to be in the room also and his blow-by-blow recap is definitely worth a look.

Second, Chris Carey from the PRS, yes really – the PRS. Chris is an in-house economist for the music industry and he used the patterns that he is paid to spot day-in and day-out, to illustrate the pitfalls in any market of relying on what you think you know. His example of NBC’s mistake of turning off the Gossip Girl stream on their website was a lesson to us all.

And the third and final one (again, that spoke to me personally) was that of Benjamin Ellis. Who, with one phrase, captured the whole audience:

“A fish would be last to discover water”

— and to give that context, I’d spend some time looking over his rather awesome presentation –

Benjamin Ellis: Why the ‘We’ Generation ‘Knows’ Different

View more presentations from Like Minds.
We’ll be back with more LikeMinds analysis at some point later this week (or maybe next).
In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you on any of the above.. So why not leave us a comment! 🙂

1000heads: Likeminds 2010: If you do one thing…

Yesterday, Molly wrote about the pros and cons of having and implementing a set of social media guidelines into your company. While this kind of policy is virtually essential to any modern day brand, the problems that arise more often than not spring out of employee reluctance to take part.

How do we change that?


Photo credit: The fantastic Paul Clarke

Listening was a key theme at Friday’s Likeminds conference and nearly every keynote touched upon its importance.

“Listen, listen and listen again.”

Here at 1000heads we have two main streams of work; word of mouth activation and word of mouth tracking & monitoring. The former is what you’ll probably read about here the most. The different ways we help our clients spread the word range from helping brands make their consumers feel special to building long-lasting relationships between people and brands who love each other.

What we don’t tend to talk about is what drives this activation.

That’s where our word of mouth tracking comes into it. ‘WOMTrak‘ is a whole suite of products originally designed to provide insights and analysis to inform our ongoing activation ideas. Like I said to a number of people at Likeminds on Friday, there really is no point coming up with an amazing idea if you have no information or insights to base it on.

With all of our clients, old or new, we always advise a period of listening first. Obviously with some of our more long standing accounts, this system is already in place; constantly defining and refining our creative as well as our engagement strategies moving forward. Building in reactive and creative strategies that we can execute on a six-pence.

It’s a fantastic resource to have.

Coming back from both the Likeminds conference and the subsequent summit at Bovey Castle, I feel inspired and invigorated. Each and every practitioner we met spoke of the importance of listening first, then engaging. Be that through using something as simple as a Google Alert or a fully fledged monitoring program from a specialist system like WOMTrak; make sure you listen.

Listening will provide a mean of what your people already think of you. Once you have that, you can start researching and discovering insights… and once you have that, you can start educating your staff and your stakeholders about why this is important. Sell that in and you’re on course to begin creating informed strategies that provide useful, engaging content that will not only improve your bottom line but ultimately, improve the experience of your end user.

So remember, when it comes to WOM, if you do only one thing –


Likeminds 2010 – The Event

The Likeminds conference is quite unlike any other conference I’ve ever been to before.

Informal, respectful, conversational, relaxed, open, chilled and intimate are all words that I heard other people use to describe the event throughout the day. Organised and setup by the combined genius of Drew Ellis and Scott Gould, Likeminds 2010 is held in the south west of Britain in a city known as Exeter. To call this conference ‘unique’ wouldn’t really do it justice.

Note: Exeter. Not London. We’re not just talking the next village outside of the the city, I mean really, really far away.

Likeminds get plus points for this. Big time.

Why is this a good thing?

Well, there are a few reasons; first and foremost – as much as I love love love London – sometimes (and just sometimes) there is a tendency to be a leeeetle bit cynical. Maybe a touch pretentious?

Can I say that? I think I can. I just did. So sue me…

Throw in a smattering of ‘oh, it’s just the same faces talking abut the same things’ and you have a recipe for familiarity breeding contempt (only in minority, admittedly – but it still happens). However, while there were some faces that I recognised at the Exeter Conference Centre this past Friday, the majority of attendees were brand new. In fact, of the names and faces that I did recognise, I’d never actually heard them speak before or seen them on the conference scene a long while.

Secondly – and this is something that we could all remember from time to time – there are other people that live and breathe outside of London! Would you believe it? I know. Amazing. The amount of locals – aka ‘Exonians’ – who I spoke to before, during and after the event who said to me ‘If this event was in London, I doubt I would’ve gone, but it’s on my doorstep – so there’s no excuse…’ really brought it home to me how important the conference was to the local business community. From representatives from Devon County Council to local entrepreneurs who have started making the first forays into twitter; this conference mattered.

Like Minds Part I

Photo credit: Benjamin Ellis

The speakers were superb, not just in the quality of their presentations, but also in the delivery of their ideas and thoughts. Like I said on the day, even if you took nothing away content wise, at least we all experienced a master class on how to present to, and engage with, a capacity audience. I’m going to come back to this in more depth another time, but it has to be said they really were all fantastic. Moving on, another thing stuck out for me (in a good way) was the format. Each section ran as follows

  • Keynote
  • Panel
  • Endeavour

The first two parts of this trio are not a new format, in fact they’re relatively par for the course; the keynote speaks on his/her chosen area and the panel then discuss and take questions on the themes raised by that talk. The Endeavours however are a completely new idea that I’ve not seen before. To quote Scott Gould, Likeminds co-founder:

“The original idea was to showcase and support like-minded endeavours that were doing good in and around the Exeter area. This itself came around they came around because (after looking at the schedule) I realised how hypocritical it was to have no actual action out of what we were talking about. It started when Twestival approached us asking if they could have a five minute slot to talk about their endeavours and then it rolled from there. Including Hospice Care, Leap Anywhere and HeartFM.”

A great addition to the format and one that I hope to see Likeminds repeat in the future.

There’s more to come on this subject soon (covering both the speakers and the key takeaways), but for now I just want to say an extra special thank you once again to Drew Ellis and Scott Gould for a fantastic event. You guys should be proud.

Well done.