Monday, January 30, 2006

Despite all odds, I survived food poisoning, corporate finance and NY last week.

The last 2 weeks have been pretty hectic for me. I started my 2nd term at school and the workload increased massively... especially corporate finance. Playing with figures is not my forte and I am struggling to keep pace. I had a busy time at work with a large pitch and preparing for an internal workshop on social media in NY. I was hoping to spend a few days there but came down with food poisoning (culprit: prawns) just before leaving so had to postpone my flight and shorten my trip. I couldn't do much while ill. I am now back in London, tired and slimmer.

Nonetheless, my time in NY was put to good use. First, we had the opportunity to hear from Jeff Jarvis at Acquavit (great food, great service). Jeff shared with us his views on how blogs are impacting traditional media. When talking about bloggers, his advice to PR agencies was to get out of the way, which we will of course not take :-) On the second day, we had three other external speakers:

  • Nick Desai from Juice Wireless on mobile communication in the US. Although I am not a specialist in mobile communication, I realised that Europe was a few years ahead of the US in terms of brands using mobile phones in their marketing. It must be a frustrating situation for Nick, to see cool stuff happening here while having to go through a lengthy educational process with clients in the US. This is the situation we face in Europe with social media :-)
  • Elizabeth Talerman from Campfire talked about branded entertainment. This is the team behind the Sega Beta-7 campaign with Wieden+Kennedy so I listened. They presented the art of heist campaign they ran for Audi. Pretty good stuff, very guerilla, seamlessly integrated and the experience they create is very compelling for consumers because it provides a lot of fun. And it delivers ROI too.
  • Valla Vakili from Yahoo! showed us how Yahoo! is embracing social media and gave us a great overview of what folksonomy is about and what it means for brands. With loads of cool examples. So cool that they will be promptly recycled, with credits due in my future presentations.

I will try to share some of these insights and these examples over the next few days, when I will digest them, now that I can.

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