High Five 2016 inspired creative and marketing professionals with fresh perspectives and bold ideas.
Downtown Raleigh gave a huge “high five” to the Triangle’s creative and marketing professionals at the 2016 High Five Conference.
Now in its third year, High Five was originally conceived as an opportunity to celebrate the talent and creativity of marketing and creatives working and thriving in the Research Triangle. This year’s 2-day event offered several half day workshops, over 20 breakout sessions, 5 keynote speakers, and tons of networking opportunities, all aimed at bridging the gap between creative professionals and traditional marketers. High Five’s big idea? A truly holistic piece of content—one with creativity, strategy, and charm—is only possible when marketing and creative collaborate.
As thought-leaders in the Triangle, the creative workflow experts at inMotionNow attended High Five 2016 with enthusiasm and excitement. Our own Rob Munz, chief innovation officer, even led a breakout session! His talk, “Why Can’t We Be Friends? Communication Breakdown” covered the common pitfalls marketers and creatives are faced with when they collaborate—and better yet, how to solve them.
Photo courtesy of the Triangle AMA
Here’s what else we learned:
The biggest missed opportunity in content is playing it too safe.
“The key to creating ridiculously good content is to be bigger, bolder, and braver,” urged keynote speaker Ann Handley, celebrated content marketer and co-author of the best-seller Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.
We know that in 2016, organizations in nearly every vertical are embracing the idea that content is integral to an effective marketing strategy.
In fact, 76% of B2B orgs plan to produce more content in 2016. 51% of B2B orgs plan to spend more money on content in 2016. But only 30% of B2B orgs know that their content is effective.
So how can you push the envelope and create crazy-good content?
Tell bigger stories.
Take Blue Bottle Coffee, a California-based roaster and retailer. Their 1-hour Skillshare video on how to brew the perfect cup of coffee, is the perfect example of bigger content: It’s a real class, with real information…and it’s really engaging. Blue Bottle made their audience feel smarter, and like a part of something bigger, and as a result converted many viewers in to customers.
Be bolder marketers.
Bolder means thinking outside the box when it comes to the kinds of content you create—but always staying true to your brand’s story. “Would your audience recognize your content without your label?” asks Handley.
Develop a braver voice.
“Your tone of voice is your gutsiest, bravest asset,” says Handley. “Voice reflects your culture, tells your story, and amplifies your empathy.”
A great example? Chubbies, the infamous purveyor of short-shorts for men, maintain their brand voice in every aspect of their website: Think referring to pants as “leg prisons” and announcing free shipping with “Sky’s Out. Thighs Out.”
Use voice as a tool for persuasion.
“When we read, our brain translates the written language to the spoken language,” says Jonathan Opp, Partner & Chief Poetics Officer, New Kind. It’s for this very reason, he reminds us, that grammar and style are so important. Maintain the basics of good writing to ensure your copy is always compelling.
Think of your brand as your organization’s personality.
Remember that the best brands stand for something—just the way people do. “Brands are personalities,” says Opp. “We react to them the way we do people.”
Take Ponysaurus Brewing Co.’s tagline, “Willfully stupid. Possibly genius.” It perfectly embodies the whimsical, off-the-wall nature of the brand’s story—you know exactly what they’re all about as soon as you read it.
Remember that marketing is driven by human emotions.
“The two keys to marketing are trust and attention,” says Scott Monty, principal, Scott Monty Strategies and one of Forbes’s “Top 10 influencers in Social Media.” “When you look at the influences people use to make purchasing decisions, it’s still by and large the people they trust.”
But the notion of trust and attention commonly fall away when we are producing content for social media, says Monty. Take a look at banner ads, for example:
0.12% is the standard click-through rate of banner ads. 0.14% is the standard click-through rate of mobile banner ads. And most telling of all? 41% is the year-over-year growth of adblocking use.
“Social media has been used as an amplification tool instead of a conversation tool by too many brands,” says Monty. “I constantly remind people that social media is about talking to other people, and who do people trust? People like them.”
Leverage social media as a means of communicating directly with your audience instead of compounding a message they’re already receiving in many other places. And always rely on the basics of human conversation when crafting social content—it will ring more authentic.
And finally, nurture your creative spark.
Speaker and author Denise Jacobs, also dubbed “the creativity evangelist,” recognizes that at conferences like High Five, we all feel that initial spark of creativity, but often fall back in to old habits within a few weeks. “How do we incorporate that spark feeling in to ways of moving forward?” she asks.
Avoid obsessing about preventing bad things from happening, because that stunts creativity. Instead, stay in the positive when you work: Live in the present, and don’t forget to congratulate yourself!
“Strive to cultivate an atmosphere of creativity around you,” says Jacobs. “On a personal level, be your brilliance.”
Did you attend this year’s High Five Conference? Tell us what you learned!
Ellie Baldini is the Content Marketing Manager at inMotionNow. Having been a member of several creative teams herself, Ellie knows the challenges of inefficient workflows. Ellie draws on her experience to connect creatives and marketers with the benefits of inMotion, so more teams can get back to doing the work they love.