CIM Spring Conference 2012

The Forum, where BBC East is based

The Forum, where BBC East is based (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Along with around 100 other marketers from across the East of England, I attended the CIM Spring Conference for the first time last week at The Forum in Norwich. I’d encourage you to visit the conference microsite where I understand the slides will soon be available, so this post is intended to give a flavour of the content along with the key takeaways.

The event was chaired by Rachel Sloane who was an excellent host and facilitator throughout the day and provided a seamless link through the array of content, asking highly relevant questions and sharing personal anecdotes that really helped stitch the sessions together.

First up was Eamon FitzGerald, a former management consultant and wine blogger who is now Wine Development Manager at Naked Wines and travels the world finding new wine makers (a tough job, but someone’s got to do it).

We learned how in just 3 years the business has grown to 200,000 customers and now ships 10,000 bottles of wine every day with sales in 2011 totalling £20M.

The business philosophy seems to be built around a lovely phrase Eamon used throughout the day, whereby they strip out ‘what you can’t taste’ in the wine. For example, as all sales take place online, packaging is less important so heavy bottles, corks and fancy labels aren’t needed.

Key takeaways

  1. Invest time and money in creating a product so good that people want to talk about it anyway, rather than focusing on building a social media strategy (i.e. “strip out what you can’t taste”)
  2. An engaged and relevant audience can be a source of finance. £120K was raised in just 8 hours to fund Carmen Stevens (the first black female to graduate in winemaking in South Africa) to make her own wines

Next up, Luisa Leone of Cambridge-based Hewitsons LLP gave an overview of the potential pitfalls of marketing around the Olympics.

I won’t be able to do Luisa’s content anywhere near enough justice here, so look out for her slides on the conference microsite. As an acid test, if you’re planning on running any kind of campaign that includes these words… 

…then STOP!

Key takeaways

  1. If you’re even thinking about referencing the Olympics in your marketing activity there’s probably a provision in the act that prohibits it, so check the CIM’s Marketing the Olympics Fact File.
  2. Get professional advice
  3. Repeat 1 and 2!

After coffee we heard Robert Jones from Wolff Ollins and UEA give a fast-paced overview of the concept of ‘Brand Next’ by illustrating how the “5 immutable laws of branding” were mutating.

  1. Positioning….to purpose
  2. Persuasion….to platform
  3. Consistency….to variation
  4. Ownership….to becoming boundaryless
  5. Control….to liberation

I found the idea that these ‘laws’ of branding were mutating to be extremely thought-provoking and we could have had a whole day conference dedicated to this subject alone. Again, I’d recommend looking at Robert’s content from the day.

Key takeaways

  1. Marketers should remind themselves of Robert’s words before embarking on any new product development “Old model: Make people want things; New model: Make things people want”
  2. The Wolff Olins report, “Game Changers” is well worth downloading

Ben Strutt, Head of Industrial Design at The Cambridge Design Partnership kicked off the afternoon with a lively and participative session which was a great way to avoid the post-lunch lull these events can sometimes have.

He talked about the need to create products surrounded by an ‘ecosystem’ of touch points, the value being derived from the experiences generated. He introduced us to the Dollar Shave Club to illustrate the point that ‘More value = more unmet needs, more effectively satisfied’. At the time of writing, this had achieved 3.9M views in just over 3 weeks:

He then talked us through a case study for Akzo Nobel‘s Dulux brand, where the challenge was to make painting more convenient. By observing video footage of people using the product, they gleaned the insight that there were a number of stages that people went through to get to the desired end result (perfectly painted walls)

  • Purchase
  • Prepare
  • Paint
  • Clean up

The answer was to develop a product system, containing a durable and a consumable, and thus the Dulux paint pod was born.

Key takeaways

  1. More value = more unmet needs, more effectively satisfied
  2. Creating a product system provides a number of benefits to consumer and producer alike
  3. The cost of technology is plummeting, so use it to deliver more value to your customer base

For more of Ben’s thinking, check out the Wired article on ‘designing for greatness’.

Finally, Julia Kenyon, Head of Global Brand, BBC Worldwide gave an excellent overview of the regeneration of the Doctor Who brand in 2005 after a break of 15 years. The show is currently sold to 185 territories worldwide and celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013.

Julia discussed the challenges involved when people want content NOW, not when content creators want to give it to them and the need to seek mutually reinforcing, distributed digital ecosystems. This is not just about creating websites, but going where your customers are. The advice was to put your content on the platforms that are successful in reaching your target audience- why would you not ‘fish where the fish are’?

As the show is only on 13 times a year, Julia discussed the need to create engagement with the fans in other ways in a digital world and after building a presence on Facebook as recently as 2 years ago, it now represents their most successful ad platform.

Key takeaways

  1.  Know your fans; Go where they are; Be interesting; Be generous; Don’t just talk, listen
  2. Whether fans of a TV series or customers of just about any business, I would argue the above still applies
  3. Use social media insights to inform business decisions. Through analysing Facebook data, BBC WorldWide were able to demonstrate the large number of fans in Germany, which led to them selling the rights to German TV

Final thoughts

I have been to conferences in London at 5-6 times the cost of this event and haven’t learned half as much so will certainly be heading back next year. Well done to the CIM East of England team and I look forward to seeing next year’s programme.

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