LaunchSquad Does the 2015 In2 Innovation Summit

in2 innovation summit 2015

LaunchSquad Does the 2015 In2 Innovation Summit

By: Riley Steinmetz

This year, a few LaunchSquad team members had the opportunity to attend the In2 Innovation Summit, a two-day conference that “shines a spotlight on work that is truly breaking new ground and challenging assumptions around the boundaries of communications.” The conference culminates in the In2 SABRE Awards, where the year’s best communications efforts are celebrated (full disclosure: LaunchSquad was nominated this year!). With great speakers on hand from companies like Starbucks, Twitter and Mastercard, there were plenty of great insights into the ever-changing world of PR and communications. Here are a few of our key takeaways:

Content is definitely king, BUT—

—In a world with 695,000 Facebook posts, 98,000 tweets and 168 million emails sent every 60 seconds, how do we grab someone’s attention? How do we stand out? Companies are still trying to determine just how they can make content work for them, and a few leaders in the area offered their thoughts.

Twitter’s Daina Middleton suggested that, in our information-saturated world, participation is key. If our content isn’t helping people learn, empowering or connecting people with others, it likely isn’t going to grab readers’ attention.

So how do we know if our content is holding others’ attention? MasterCard’s Andrew Bowins suggested that we need to be “listening twice as much as we are talking” by embracing analytics and other insights platforms available. He also looked at content from a different perspective, pointing out that it isn’t only about getting customers to buy a product but learning about an audience. When companies engage with stakeholders to create advocacy and conversation, companies learn something they didn’t already know—how people want to consume media, what messages are resonating with them and more.

Ultimately, though, as Jonathan Martin of EMC said, it boils down to thinking like a human being and making the kind of high quality pieces you would enjoy yourself: “The best content inspires, educates or makes people laugh. If you’re not doing one of those items, your content will fail.”

Data and measurement are more important than ever.
While your company is probably browsing through Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and other measurement tools regularly, are you actually using them to drive decisions? And are you looking at the right metrics?

Instead of obsessing over follower counts, it’s engagement that’s actually key. It’s the old adage of quality over quantity. As Martin said, “Instead of measuring tweets and likes, we should be assessing what the data means to the business, identifying data that confirms that a brand is effectively interacting with key influencers and that brand messages are resonating within conversations.” That means actually paying attention to what people are saying. Rather than fixating on the number of retweets or comments a post receives, dig deeper—where are followers posting from? What other interests do they have? Use analytics to guide your strategy to make sure you’re having the right conversations with the right people on the right channels.

Culture is vital for success.
We’ve all heard stories about corporate culture, but does it really impact whether or not a company hits its goals? At LaunchSquad, we put a big emphasis on our corporate values and company culture, and we definitely feel like it is a major factor in our success, so we were particularly interested to see what others had to say on this one.

In one of the summit’s standout sessions, Starbucks’ Head of Global Communications, Corey DuBrowa, discussed building advocacy from the inside out by setting up a genuine corporate culture. At Starbucks, DuBrowa has implemented a policy of sharing success at every level. That means that as a company, they spend just as much on coffee—clearly, their major product—as they do on employee healthcare. They also try to have important conversations with everyone in the company. Recently, their CEO held a town hall forum with everyone from baristas to upper level executives to encourage discussion and understanding amongst employees about the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner.

Ultimately, communications right now is about engagement. Whether engaging employees in a corporate culture they truly believe in or tracking just how customers are participating in social media and web content, it’s up to companies to make sure they’re encouraging conversation and interaction.

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