Dots conference 2016

Unfortunately I missed the first session in the morning, as I wasn’t feeling well. But after deciding that some sea air would do me some good, I headed to Brighton for Dots.

Nishma Robb – Google
Nishma talked about the stereotyping and discrimination of women in marketing. She referenced the Bechdel Test, which analyses the gender portrayal of women in film. And called for the introduction of a similar test in advertising. She also referenced the Lean In Image Collection on Getty: a library of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women. I’d never heard of it before, but its a great resource.

Prof Vyv Evans – Bangor University
Vyv talked about adding value to brands with emoji. Some brands have already used them in interesting ways. Tacobell lobbied unicode to introduce a taco emoji. And the NYC subway system are trialling emoji to show updates for individual lines. He also talked about Domino’s introducing ‘one-click ordering’ via emoji texting and tweeting. He’s the man to speak to if you want emoji research for a PR story; he took us through some of his recent studies that have hit the news. Including the soon-to-be released Business Emojis for O2. Which include an emoji for out of the box thinking. I can’t help but think ad agencies will end up using that one sarcastically.

Duncan Hammond – The Guardian
Duncan is the delivery director at The Guardian. In 2021, the Guardian will be 200 years old. So they’ve started relooking at their working practices ahead of that date. He took us through the recent changes they’ve been making. He talked about the importance of establishing a clear common purpose. Of creating goals that unite focus. And adopting a common language. He referenced the founding essay written by CP Scott on the creation of the Guardian, which I must dig out. And an interesting stat: for every new dollar spent on digital marketing in the USA, $0.85 goes to Google and Facebook. Which leaves all the other platforms (inc. The Guardian, Buzzfeed, MailOnline etc) scrambling for the $0.15.

Dan Schute – Creature
Dan presented 10 golden rules of advertising. And talked about how Creature and the Green Party broke every one of them. He called his presentation ‘People like dogs, don’t they?’ after a senior Green Party leader suggested they do ‘something about dogs’ in a briefing session. A funny talk, buoyed by the incredibly funny work they created for the greens during the election period.

Martin Gill – Forrester
Martin talked about ensuring your company is customer led, rather than customer aware. Companies shouldn’t just do surveys, market research, or descriptive analysis with structured data. They should also do ethnographic research and predictive analysis. They should take on unstructured data, and allow their customers onboard to co-create products. He also talked about collaborative journey mapping, whereby all departments work together to create customer journey maps. These maps track Actions, Thinking & Feeling, Experience, Front Stage (touchpoints), and Backstage (systems). Along that journey, you can then prioritise the highest impact interactions for development. Barclaycard recently did analysis whereby they found 144 interactions; way too many for development. So they prioritised only the top few.

David Greenfield – Adidas
David’s talk was a little lost on me to be honest. He talked about working for ‘the best sports brand in the world’. And how Adidas have approached premium service development in digital transformation.

Andy Whitlock –
Andy Whitlock’s talk was the best of the day. He talked about the journey have been on since launch. And how he’s been working on creating cheaper/free experiences as gateways into the brand. Really smart things like Blinkies, Clever Ideas, Tiny Magic, Frog Mail templates etc.

Will Hudson – It’s Nice That
I’ve followed It’s Nice That for years, so it was a pleasure to hear Will speak. It was interesting to hear that he created the site in response to a university brief: ‘Put something into the public domain that makes people feel better about themselves.’ He also had some great references. Including the Arnold Schwarzenegger video series ‘Rules for Success’. And this quote from Willie Nelson: ‘The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.’

Caroline Webb – SevenShift
Caroline is the author of ‘How to have a good day’. BrilliantNoise were kind enough to buy every Dots attendee a copy of the book. She talked about how we all have the power to edit our own reality. Because we all experience a partial view of reality, and thus fall foul to a type of confirmation bias. Whatever we’re looking for, we find. it’s why sad people discern hills as steeper. To edit our own reality, we need to ask ‘what’s your real aim’, ‘ check your attitude and your assumptions’, and think ‘where do you most want to focus your attention’. She also talked about how you can make time go further, by adopting approaches like the pomodoro technique. And she discussed fundamental attribution error, whereby our motives aren’t considered by those around us. So when we behave badly, we attribute it to circumstance. But everyone else simply attributes it to us having a bad personality.

Overall, a fantastic day. Look forward to visiting again next year.

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