MBD at #DSPDX

We went. we sandwiched. we rode the max. 

This week the whole team was on deck for Digital Summit Portland - a two day event that featured some bright minds in digital marketing, and even a keynote from STEVE WOZNIAK. (The Woz is amazing BTW. "Delightful" is a word that was used to describe him more than once.) We spread ourselves across 30 minute sessions and in two days covered topics such as branding (of course), SEO, humor, content marketing, what it means to crave, UX design, thought leadership, micro-storytelling, and . . . we are sure there might be more. 

AND WE SAT FRONT ROW FOR STEVE WOZNIAK

 

The Woz Aside, It's About Taking Time To Learn

In all seriousness, we are fortunate to be able to take time out of our work schedule to attend a conference as a team. The lessons and affirmations revitalize our work, and invariably, improve our understanding and processes, which ultimately benefits our clients. Some of what we learned underscored much of what we wrote about several months ago in our 2017 Brand and Design Trends Report. Authenticity is still the MVP at the content marketing table, and without it, brands flop. While content is powerful, distribution is so, so, so important, and at the end of the day, it holds more control over how we plan and produce than we might let on. And for those in the back of the room, there were those reminders that if you're not developing mobile-friendly products you are . . . . lost in space. 

Some Takeaways

Whatever we do, we have to be responsible with the content we create. It's impact goes beyond influencing what consumer choices audiences make, it plays into the general ethos and culture of our society. Here is what our own Creative Director said in her reflections on the event: 

It’s no coincidence that there were no less than two entire sessions devoted to humor and that keynote presenter Steve Wozniak himself reminded us how infectious positivity is. Just as Pantone releases colors of the year that they feel define the mood and spirit of our times, I think these themes reinforce what we’re all needing right now, as a country and as individuals. People are craving positive, authentic experiences from brands.
— Kristine Neil

We also have a responsibility to be more thoughtful in how we develop products and services for our clients, whether we are working B2B or B2C. From our Digital Strategist: 

At the end of last year I wrote about how I was going to spend more time staying on top of apps and processes that our clients could use to streamline how they do their work, and how their customers receive their product or service. Digital Summit Portland reaffirmed that decision, but it reasserted the value of approaching that work from a customer journey, rather than technological, perspective.
— Mike Wagner

The theme here is that much of our work as brand strategists, designers, and marketers has to be human-centered. In fact, there was more than one session on the power of human centered design thinking - a process that asks you to engineer everything from the user perspective. Consumers reward brands they trust with loyalty when those brands make an authentic appeal to their humanity. That's what we try to do at Markon, and it's what we will continue to do post Digital Summit Portland. 

Michael Wagner