Northern Voice 2009 took place on Friday and Saturday. invoke had a great time, and appreciated the top quality presentations from prominent local and international speakers and panelists. Here are our highlights:
One of Kate’s favourite speakers was Chris Heuer.? Chris is the founder of Social Media Club and although the talk may have felt rushed to him, he asked one very important question – is advertising dead?? Heuer thinks interruptive advertising is certainly headed that way, thanks to services like PVR and TIVO, which allow viewers to bypass regularly programmed advertising.? He also pointed out that search engines are killing product advertisement. Why would anyone look at advertising for product knowledge when they can Google it, see reviews, and make the choice for themselves? Chris reminded us that we have access to more rich and valuable information through our friends and networks.? So if advertising is dead (or dying at least) what happens next? Chris’ suggestion: take the lead. Be the one people go to to answer the questions. By educating people you gain their trust, which in turn adds value.
Ryan found the Citizen Media and The Olympics presentation by Robert Scales, Kris Krug, Dave Olson (of Raincity Studios) and Dr. Andy Miah to be very relevant. The presentation reviewed the role of citizen journalism (a.k.a. ambush journalism) on past Olympics, and put forth some potential scenarios for it in the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Scales and Olson gave a warm impression of the camaraderie and human interest stories they found while attending past Olympic events. Olson recounted the experience he had when seeking accreditation for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. A representative from BC’s International Media Centre explained how unaccredited media professionals could gain access to the games. Finally, the presenters outlined their plans for an Alternative Media Center which will likely be the hotbed for some controversial content delivery through the Olympic event. Unfortunately representatives from VANOC were unable to attend.
Nadia noted that while conferences are often not altogether funny (everyone can agree to that, right?), Saturday’s second keynote speaker Rob Cottingham proved the tides were about to change. Accompanied by a live installation art piece by Nancy White, and a virtual heckler (himself) via HootSuite, Cottingham provided an arsenal of comic meditations on online topics from license agreements, to beta testing, to memes. After a moment of silence for all the services that have died since the last Northern Voice, (SocialFM, Pownce and Rogers Customer Service), Cottingham attacked the un-funny ‘Drive a 6 inch stake through your hand meme,” and counter-offered a potential replacement: the “3 people you’ve cheated on your spouse with” meme.
Grace was impressed by Nate Elliott, a Principal Analyst at Forrester, who gave a presentation called “The Future of Influence.” Using simple graphics, Elliott broke down the prior and current statuses of influence. According to Elliott, of all the types of influence, the reactive personal recommendation is the strongest. (For example, the endorsement of a restaurant from a friend whom you’ve asked for a recommendation carries more weight than, say, a review as part of a radio advertisement.) The take-home point of the presentation? We have reached a critical mass of these reactive personal reviews online. (e.g. all the reviews available on CitySearch, Amazon, and TripAdvisor). Now we must implement a filtration system to determine which of these consumer responses are of most interest to us. The idea here is that a business traveler has a very different set of criteria for evaluating a hotel than, say, a backpacker or a honeymooner. Elliott identified a need for the increased visibility of responder profiles. By letting consumers know who is responding, the responses will take on more relevance.
David was a Northern Voice first-timer and although he was only able to attend a few of the events’ sessions, he felt that the great turnout and overall vibe made this year’s conference a qualified success. The sessions were well attended and informative, and stimulated some great followup conversations during Q&A periods and after the sessions. It was great to meet and talk shop with Vancouver marketers, social mediaphiles, bloggers, and photographers, as well as the out-of-towners that came to enlighten and engage the conference-goers as speakers.? David was particularly excited at the discussions Friday, on the prospect of a Vancouver chapter of Chris Heuer’s Social Media Club in Vancouver.
A big thanks to the organizers of Northern Voice 2009. We can’t wait for next year!
Monitoring the #northernvoice09 hashtag kept us in the loop.
A rapt audience looked on as Dave Olson spoke about his fictional work, Letters from Russia.
Laptops galore at Chris Heuer’s talk.