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?

Listening.

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 –

LISTEN.

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.