Last week, the third annual The Social Shake-Up convened at the W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta.
The event kicked-off with a visually stunning and informative keynote by John Yembrick, the head of social at NASA. Yembrick manages 490 (and counting) social accounts for the agency, and he discussed, among other things, how social has transformed how we get our information. "In the old days, the newscasters would tell you what was news. Today, we can participate in the news," he said.
In regards to NASA's mission for social, Yembrick said, "our main goal is to make people care." He is particularly keen on reaching young girls, and hopes that his agency will get girls "inspired about space exploration and science."
Tuesday was filled with an array of panel topics aimed to engage, inform, and instruct the CMOs of tomorrow. One panel of experts spoke about the importance of organizations cultivating creating thinking for customer experience. The panel defined customer experience as the "narrative of the customer's journey" and the importance of listing to the "voice of the customer" to make decisions.
Another panel discussed the rise of the micro-network, and how some groups such as parent or active and non-active service members require closed networks for privacy and security reasons, while another panel took us from Periscope and Pinterest and discussed the advantages of getting onto a new platform early and experimenting with different ways to engage with your customers.
Daina Middleton, the Head of Global Business Marketing at Twitter, closed the afternoon with her presentation on "Marketing in the Participation Age." Middleton took us through the history of marketing, and the importance for today's practitioners to build relationships through a "nurturist" organization by embracing testing and learning, innovation but without expecting perfection; acting quickly and motivating others; and embracing failures in the pursuit of results.
Day Two began early for some Shake-Up attendees who attend our first "Wake Up Shake Up" session ran by Jessica Fish. During the hour-long session, Fish introduced participants to techniques on how to use mindfulness to reduce stress and boost productivity.
The enthusiastic and entertaining Mark Hatch, the Co-founder of Tech Shop and a leader in the Maker Movement, gave Wednesday morning's keynote. For $150 a month, Tech Shop members get access to laser cutters, 3D printers, welding equipment, and other tools and software to create their own products. Hatch shared inspirational stories from members who have built multi-million dollar companies from the products they've created, and stories of those who have changed the lives of others by developing such items as a life-saving medical technology for babies or by creating the world's first folding kayak.
One of the popular panels on Wednesday was a discussion between Cory Edwards, Head of Adobe's Social Business Center for Excellence, and Andrew Watts, a 20-year-old Gen Z member whom had written a blog post about how teenagers use social that went viral last year. Watts spoke about why "Facebook is dead to teens," and how teenagers "like to sarcastically mock everything" and are drawn to brands like Taco Bell that use humor and sarcasm on social.
Doug Busk, Director of Connections Innovation at The Coca-Cola Company, discussed the company's approach to digital storytelling and how it leveraged a "Mad Men" moment to engage with consumers. Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, had approached Coke about using its iconic "Hilltop" commercial in the series finale. Coke's involvement was top secret, and Busk and his team didn't find out about it until late and the game. But being savvy marketers-and "Mad Men" fans-they suspected that the commercial might somehow play a role in the finale, and created content around it just in case.
Our two-day conference closed with a moving keynote by actor, activist, author, and social media star George Takei. Takei, who is best known for his role as Sulu in the original "Star Trek", spoke about how he and his family spent five years in an interment camp for Japanese-Americans during WWII, and how the forced imprisonment shaped his quest for democracy, justice, and equal rights for all individuals.
But lest you think Shake-Up ended on a somber note, let me assure it did not. Our CEO, Robin Carey, wore a Star Trek uniform to interview Takei, who was delighted by her garb.
A big thank you to all of our speakers, moderators, and attendees for making our third Shake-Up such a resounding success. And for those with connections across the pond, we hope you can join us in London on November 10 and 11 for our first Social Shake-Up Europe.