Work table with various design tools.

4 Takeaways from FutureM

FutureMReCap_ICS

MITX’s FutureM Conference was a three day whirlwind of over 100 speakers, 3000+ attendees and enough nuggets of information to make your brain vibrate for days to come. While each speaker, panel, and question brought new information, theories and ideas to the forefront, I found there were a number of major themes overlapping amongst the talks. You want me to cut to the chase? Here’s my best attempt to summarize all 52 sessions that occurred last week in 4 simplified themes.

Number 1: Absolutely no more silos.

If you are part of the project you should be in the meeting. Project managers, designers, copywriters, developers, and even clients need to be involved from the get-go. Why? The only way to avoid familiar problems like “Oh the developer said this design you guaranteed the client, and spent weeks on, actually isn’t possible: start over,” is for the developer to intersect that problem from project meeting #1.

Ok, internal collaboration and communication, got it. But why the client? According to Leslie Bradshaw, COO of Guide, what’s the best way for creatives to avoid acting as servants? Get your clients to partake in part of the work. Ask them to brainstorm, sketch, test. Level the playing field and let both sides get a grasp on the blood, sweat and tears it takes to produce memorable work.

Number 2: Create scalable content

In 2013, 56% of Americans have a smartphone (source), 35% have a tablet (source), and by 2018 the wearable tech market is expected to grow from 1.4 billion to 19 billion (source). We are now sharing and receiving content on a large amount of mobile and wearable devices, and now even surfaces – walls, counters, closets…

Content is alive and it’s spreading faster than many of us can keep up with. Developers, designers, and marketers need to now anticipate this and build content that is ready to adapt. Scott Noonan, COO of Boston Interactive discussed the strategy C.O.P.E in his talk, 360 Degree Content, which is a way to Create Once, Publish Everywhere. Similar to the principles behind responsive designs, C.O.P.E is intended for scalable content that eliminates tweaking the presets for each device.

Number 3: Stay quick, light on your feet and pivot

Since content is being shared literally everywhere, our audiences are getting hit with ad campaigns all… the…time. Campaigns used to be quarterly and targeted at the newspaper, radio or tv. Today, just digitally, we have tv, radio, browsers, blogs, apps, games, google+, facebook, twitter, linkedin, instagram and probably even a few more that I forgot or am unaware of. How can we possibly reach our audiences on all these platforms, all these devices and at this pace? Act like superheros…or act like well trained creatives. Build lean, agile campaigns and iterate across the platforms. Quickly test out a few mini campaigns then flesh out and serialize the idea that stuck with your audience. Tweak what didn’t stick and test again. Aim for the “best next” experience, not the next best.

Number 4: Deliver the experience

“We want to reach our customers!” That’s every client’s goal. But how can we help them do that? Is it the brand or is it the experience that resonates with the customer?

It’s both – humanize your client’s brand, allow the customer to see themselves in that brand, and give the full, holistic experience. Gather data on the customer, deliver what they ask for, and personalize the experience. Make them feel special enough that they want to tell everyone about that brand.

 

Annnd….that was a lot to take in. Think I missed a major takeaway from FutureM aside from teamwork, scalable content, agile campaigns and delivering the whole experience? Add your comments below, I’d love to keep these conversations and ideas going, even though the conference has come to a wrap!

For more information on Image Conscious Studio’s role at FutureM, check out our Fast Cheap or Great Presentation page at fastcheapgreat.com.

 

(instagrams borrowed from @icscreative and @futuremboston)