Highlights from W2O Group’s 2017 PreCommerce Summit (PT.1)

From speaker videos to event photos our recap page of W2O at SXSW has it all!

I’ve been part of our PreCommerce events for years, even before I started working for W2O Group 4 years ago. In that time I’ve come to expect great insights from a stellar list of speakers and 2017 marks our 7th event. In my opinion, this was one of the best if not the best.

PreCommerce has always been focused on providing insights into what’s next. We hosted the event to a packed house at the AT&T Executive Education Center and streamed the whole event via Facebook Live for the first time this year.

There’s a lot of speakers to get through here. So I’ll try to keep these entries short to give you an idea of the key points discussed.

Bob Pearson, Chief Innovation Officer – W2O Group; Follow Bob on Twitter @bobpearson1845

Topic: Moneyball 2.0

Key Takeaways:

  • Polling is outdated. We don’t tell the truth when we’re highly emotional or in a partisan state.
  • Tracking the language of the neighborhood gives you broader insights into silence, apathy and noise vs. a true movement.
  • Storytelling is more than words. Think about telling stories with images. One example: Kyle McLachlan’s story of Dune in emojis tweet (Brilliant!) and the other: a 2000-year old white shaman mural discovered by Texas archaeologists.
  • Relevance is the updated version of corporate reputation, and relevance is the new black.

Rohit Bharghava, Founder – Influential Marketing Group; Follow Rohit in Twitter @rohitbhargava

Topic: How to (Actually) Predict the Future

Key Takeaways:

  • If as a futurist, someone asks if your prediction has happened, there are only two possible answers: yes, and not yet.
  • The time we live in is not one of information overload, it is noise overload. The secret of moving from noise to meaning is learning to curate your ideas.
  • 3 habits to predict the future: 1) Buy unfamiliar magazines 2) Don’t lose your best ideas 3) Focus in intersections
  • Predicting the future is about spotting the patterns and connections of the present.
  • Rohit elaborates on these habits and more in 2017 Non -Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future. He re-examines parts of the book every year and republishes in December to rate his predictions.

Arra G. Yerganian, Chief Marketing & Branding Officer – Sutter Health; Follow Arra in Twitter @tonkazona

Topic: The Future of Health

Key Takeaways:

Our own Greg Matthews sat down with Arra Yerganian to discuss the future of health. Arra was recently received a prestigious Officers Award from the CMO Club for bringing a brand beyond the typical scope of marketing.

  • Greg started the conversation by comparing the current state of healthcare marketing is pushing a huge stone up a hill. Arra acknowledged that characterization. At his core, Arra sees himself as a customer experience evangelist. He sees customer experience as a pivot point for healthcare.
  • Arra hates the term “patient.” He prefers the term “people,” and pointed out the term patient comes from the Latin word that means state of suffering.
  • Sutter Health is the largest not-for-profit community-based hospital in the United States.
  • Quality of care should be table stakes in healthcare. Healthcare marketing needs to talk about something else.

Brian Solis, Principal Analyst – Altimeter Group; Follow Brian on Twitter @briansolis

Topic: The Experience When Business Meets Design

Key Takeaways:

  • Customer Experience = The sum of all engagements a customer has with you during the customer lifecycle.
  • Experience is human. It is evolving. How we design it needs to evolve.
  • Experience happens whether you design it or not.
  • Using Kodak as an example, the new “Kodak moment” is when you realize that your customers evolved so dramatically from your assumptions and it’s too late to change.
  • Bryan’s description of the storytelling arc for brands today: HEEYY!!!… and now we’re out of money.
  • Our job is to engage every person in this picture. Who are you designing experiences for? See picture below.

Ray Kerins, SVP Head of Communications and Government Relations – Bayer; Follow Ray on Twitter @RayKerins

Topic: Bayer Partnerships: Unexpected Marketing Innovation

Key Takeaways:

  • People want to engage with companies that make a difference.
  • Employees want to work for companies that are engaged and that do things that impact and benefit the communities they are part of.
  • Every Bayer employee gets 2 days off a year to volunteer. There was a clear consensus in the Twitterfeed that this is a great idea that other companies should emulate.
  • Partnerships are deeper than sponsorships. Don’t just slap a logo on the side of a building.
  • Supporting efforts to feed the world is a key part of Bayer’s mission. And farmers play a key role here. That’s why Bayer partnered with Luke Bryan Farm Tour.
  • Teams of Bayer employees supported the tour at multiple stops throughout the United States. 100,000 consumers engaged onsite during the tour. Bayer estimates it reached 23 million people in social media. Effort earned a 97% positive approval rating (Bayer average is around 74%. Bayer donated 500,000 meals through #Thankful4Ag. Goal for next year is 1 million.

Matt Dickman, Executive Director, Head of Digital Communications – Comcast; Follow Matt on Twitter @MattDickman

Topic: A View from the Inside

Key Takeaways:

  • Practice what you preach. Corporate brands in digital should understand how brand interactions happen. Being active in Twitter is one way to do this.
  • NBC’s $500 million investment in Snap is really a commitment to the future of digital.

Kara Bartone, PhD; Scientific Scouting & Portfolio Management– Johnson & Johnson, JLABS; Follow JLABS on Twitter @JLABS

Topic: Teachifying Life Science Innovation

Key Takeaways:

  • JLABS provides infrastructure and technology so small companies can focus on important healthcare discoveries.
  • Rely on internal experts to build a strong company brand.
  • Innovation comes from creating strong networks of people.
  • Find intersections. Make them where they don’t exist, and capitalize on them.

Robert Hastings Jr., EVP Strategic Communications, Chief of Staff – Bell Helicopter; Follow Robert on Twitter @RTHastingsJr

Topic: Lead Like a Warrior

Key Takeaways:

  • Most important guiding principle of leadership: People first, mission always.
  • People are the best and most important resource any leader has.
  • You have to build a high-performance culture. It doesn’t happen by itself.
  • A high-performance team is made of courage, candor, commitment and competence.
  • Three components of leading like a warrior: 1) Build high-performance culture 2) Build a shared purpose 3) Build trust
  • Shared purpose is the glue. It comes from shared risk and shared reward.

Haroon Ullah, Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff – U.S. Department of State; Follow Haroon on Twitter @haroonullah

Reva Goujon, VP of Global Analysis – Stratfor; Follow Reva on Twitter @RevaGoujon

Fireside Chat Topic: 5 Global Trends Impacting Business

Key Takeaways:

  • Myth 1: Technology is the way to defeat extremism; extremists have already co-opted technology to advance its efforts.
  • Myth 2: Extremist groups are selling a dark narrative; Not for those who join; According to Haroon, 80% of the ISIS narrative is positive. ISIS sells hope. Top languages they use to communicate? 1) Arabic 2) Russian 3) French. English is not in the top 5.
  • Myth 3: Integration beats nationalism; Not necessarily…
  • Myth 4: Recruiting methods are simplistic; the reality is that ISIS uses gaming and videos for recruiting. The average Saudi teen watches 5.5 hours of YouTube videos per day.
  • Myth 5: Poverty drives militancy; Most militants come from the middle class. It’s really about identity grievances.

Katrine Bosley, CEO – Editas Medicine; Follow Katrine on Twitter @ksbosley

Fireside Chat Topic: Innovation in Gene Editing

Our own Mike Huckman facilitated the fireside chat with Katrine, the CEO of Editas Medicine, a company focused on making the science of repairing broken genes a reality. Gene editing is a nascent field that many agree holds staggering potential.

Key Takeaways:

  • CRISPR is an acronym that stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat. It is a dynamic versatile molecular tool that allows geneticists to target nearly any genomic location to potentially repair broken genes.
  • Editas has grown from about 20 employees to over 100 employees in the past three years. That growth has allowed the company to make progress against their goals faster, but it creates challenges from a culture perspective.
  • When the company moved into a new building, Katrine opted for an office in the middle of the building vs. a corner office with a window. She did this because her office has a huge whiteboard wall that she uses frequently, but she also thinks those kinds of gestures matter from a cultural perspective.
  • In biotechnology companies, women are outnumbered 10 – 1 in board of directors; only one in five senior managers of the top biotech companies are women.
  • Katrine has a degree in Cornell University, but she does not have an advanced degree. She started her career in biotech as an administrative assistant. She used some of her time on that job to educate herself about the biotech industry.

Lorie Fiber, Global Communications Lead – IBM Watson Health; Follow Lorie on Twitter @loriefiber

Francesca DeMartino, VP Communications – Medtronic Diabetes; Follow Francesca @GetFrescaFresh

Fireside Chat Topic: Adding Patient Value Through Partnerships

Key Takeaways:

  • Lorie and Francesca’s collaborative relationship is at the heart of the partnership between IBM Watson Health and Medtronic Diabetes.
  • Over 415 million people are affected with diabetes
  • Over the course of 3 months, about 90% of the day-to-day management of diabetes falls on patients.
  • Since diabetes is such a data-driven disease, the two companies are have developed an app called Sugar.IQ that is currently in beta testing with users. They are co-creating it with users.
  • This work they are doing has potential to help people with Type 1 and 2 diabetes.

Dan Bartlett, EVP Public Affairs – Walmart;

Topic: Walmart: The Journey to Become a Digital Enterprise

Key Takeaways:

  • Walmart has 11,000 stores in 28 countries and 2.5 million employees; 60% of the U.S. population visits a Walmart store at least once a month.
  • Bet you didn’t know that com is the second-largest e-commerce site on the Internet, behind Amazon. It’s a $14 billion business for the company.
  • The digital transformation is forcing Walmart to rethink how they can best serve their customers. Dan sees this ultimately being a blended experience that includes both retail and digital.
  • Walmart is partnering with a venture capital firm to build bots they use to predict potential issues.
  • They are working with IBM Watson to power an internal app that does a tone sentiment analysis of Walmart senior executive communications compared to hundreds of CEOs.

The discussion with Dan Bartlett starts about the 1 hour 12-minute mark in this video

Stay tuned for the second half of my recap!

Lionel Menchaca
Lionel Menchaca

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