A few weeks ago, a group of Swanson Russell employees attended ThinkTank 2012, a one-day communications workshop hosted by University Communications and held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. ThinkTank’s tagline is “Big Day - Big Brains - Big Ten,” and because the event was a great learning experience, we have added a fourth item to that list – “Big Takeaways.” We tried our best to cover the event by listing the lessons we learned below, but we were bound to miss something. Fortunately, other attendees were tweeting throughout the event, and you can check out their tweets at #UNLB1G.
While ThinkTank speakers from across the country covered many ideas and topics, they focused heavily on three specific areas: digital communications, analytics/measurement and social media.
Greg Andersen, UNL graduate and current CEO of BBH New York, spoke on the concept “Brand Engagement in a Digital World.” His hour-long presentation centered on a few case studies from his agency, including Google Chrome, intern projects and pro bono work to raise awareness for the homeless population. The key ideas from his presentation included:
Brands have to be thinking in real time.
The digital realm is creating a world of direct dialogue between brands and consumers.
Corey Johnson of Solve opened his presentation with a Winston Churchill quote: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Johnson reminded attendees to think through the “scientific method” when planning a project. The key components of the method are to “observe, hypothesize, test, experiment and measure.” By implementing each of these components, we can make sure we don’t just deliver a campaign of great creative strategy, but one that also has clear, measurable objectives. Johnson reminded us that we must invest in measurement to allow us to look to the past and learn, so that we don’t just repeat it.
The third ThinkTank speaker, Caleb Whitemore of Analytics Pros, said, “If you can’t measure, you can’t manage.” His presentation, “Making Google Analytics Your Digital Analytics and Marketing Hub,” reminded us of the common issues and the keys to success.
Keys to Success
Ken Christie of 543 Group and Matt Waite of PoltiFact both spoke on the topic of social media. While both had their own unique perspectives, there were a few key overlapping trends in each of their presentations.
ThinkTank 2012 was only a one-day conference, but we took away a ton of applicable lessons. Digital communications is becoming more and more important for our clients, and opportunities like ThinkTank allow us to better develop, implement and measure our strategies in a digital world.
Did you attend ThinkTank and leave with your own unique takeaways? Do you have questions about the lessons we learned? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.