EDGE Conference Recap

14 Jun 2011 12:50 PM | Deleted user


It’s been exactly one week since our last annual EDGE Conference, and while we’re still sifting through all of the great pictures, video, and presentations we have from the event, we thought we’d take the time to give a brief recap of the day’s events, highlighting what stood out to us.

While the EDGE conference has always been about innovation in branding, the focus of this year’s conference was on the individual, and how brands connect to customers on a human level. The conference was divided by three cutting-edge ways in which brands are connecting with their customers – through stories, tools, and games.

While the first portion of the conference was all about stories, the first man to take the stage, DJ Patil, spoke about a tool, the official app of the EDGE conference, Color. Color is a location-based picture-sharing app that allows users in a certain proximity to each other “take pictures together.” Through this powerful tool, we can now relive the EDGE conference through a total 288 photos and 33 videos from 42 different contributors!

Follow the link to view the entire EDGE Color album.

First to take the stage was Johnny Cupcakes, lesser-known-as Johnny Earle, who delivered the opening keynote - the story of his brand and what worked for him. Johnny was authentic, funny, weird, and a little random on stage – all elements that he claims have helped propel his brand, Johnny Cupcakes, to the hip, exclusive, Boston-born beast that it is today. He wrapped up his speech with a video from the opening of his London store, which really gave us a look inside his stores, his employees, and his brand fanatics.



STORIES

The story of the Timberland brand, as told by Jim Davey, was one that stuck long after he left the stage. Jim spoke to us about using media to tell stories, which he demonstrated through a series of video and interactive web content that were not only entertaining, but really helped define the brand.



Next, Rob Willington of Swiftcurrent Strategies, reminded us how politicians, especially during campaign season, are telling stories to garner votes. “Yes we can,” anyone?



Sean Carasso, founder of Falling Whistles, delivered the most emotionally charged and engaging story of the day. With the aid of some truly powerful imagery and dynamic video, Sean weaved the story of the plight of the children of the Democratic Republic of Congo with the story of his bootstrapped not-for-profit that’s blowing whistles for change.



TOOLS


One tool that we all know very well is video. What we learned from Paul Hochman, tech analyst for the Today Show, however, is just how powerful a tool video can be in gadget sales and retention. Watch a few of his, "The New Simple," videos for Amazon.com and you’ll agree.



In a rapid-fire panel, we learned about a few new tools, and how businesses are using older tools in innovative ways to build their brand! The highlights in this panel were the new tool Smarterer, and Chef Duarte of Taranta restaurant, who's putting a new twist on an old tool, QR Codes.

You’d think that jaws would hit the floor when author William Powers got on stage at a conference about innovation to talk about his book, Hamlet’s Blackberry, but you’d be wrong. Bill delivered an excellent speech, praising the tools we use, but advocating for balance – a sentiment that seemed to go over well in an audience that were watching Twitter trends for the hashtag #adclubEDGE.

GAMES

Amy Jo Kim of Shufflebrain started off the games section right, getting us all excited about gamification, game mechanics, and social games.



Zipcar CMO Rob Weisberg told us about how fun and games have driven Zipcar’s corporate culture and customer base all the way to the forefront of a category that they practically created – ride sharing.



While the conference opened with a demonstration of a tool, the Color app, it closed with a story – a story about stories from Grant McCracken. Grant stroked many of our marketer-egos when he credited us as some of the best storytellers around with our ability to tell a story in 30 or even 15 seconds!

And finally, we learned a little bit about social influence with the presentation of the EDGE Conference Influencer Award, delivered by Agent 209 and Digitas to Marc Grubb, better known as @ka_POW_er. Another congratulations to Marc, who showcases his award rather appropriately…



And with that, we wrap up the wrap-up of the 2011 EDGE Conference. Be sure to check out our next big event, Breaking the Retail Code, on June 27th!

Don’t forget to join our conversation about all things marketing and communications on Twitter – follow @theadclub!

Finally, be sure to read the AMP Agency EDGE recap, which fills some holes that this post left, and Mike Schneider's post all about Color on the Allen&Gerritsen site!

DISCLAIMER: We know that we left out a few remarkable speakers from this recap, but in an effort to be brief, we will simply name those individuals here and urge you to pay attention to them, their companies, and be sure to watch their video from the EDGE Conference, which will be posted to the EDGE site soon.

Deb Roy :: Bluefin Labs | Micheal Flaherty :: Walden Media |
Thaddeus Fulford-Jones :: Locately | Steffan Berelowitz :: BlueTrain Mobile
Lisa DeSisto :: Boston Globe & Boston.com | Lara Lee :: Harley Davidson
Dan O’Malley :: PerkStreet Financial

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