“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” Daniel Burnham, the famed Chicago architect, knew a thing or two about big ideas. For those not steeped in Chicago history or Erik Larson’s book Devil in the White City, Burnham had a big, bold vision for Chicago as the “Paris on the prairie” and he overcame tremendous odds to make it reality.
Today, nothing embodies the concept of big ideas more than Chicago Ideas Week. This year, from October 15-19, big ideas will be on full display. Now in its 8th year, the event is based on a single belief – “when a broad spectrum of thinkers and instigators share ideas, we have the power to transform our world.” The week will feature an eclectic mix of stage programs and hands-on educational ‘labs’, designed around a wide variety of topics and curated to encourage dialogue and inspire attendees to take action to drive change.
For the first time, W2O, driven by its Chicago office, will be participating in the week by sponsoring a lab focused on content marketing and helping attendees learn how to compete in a crowded, often noisy online space.
As we were concepting our lab, I was struck by how naturally the idea of focusing on analytics and content strategy came to us. I couldn’t help but think about how far I’ve seen our agency come in the last decade I’ve been at the company as the industry has gone through a monumental shift in how communications is practiced. About how far I’ve personally come from a ‘traditional’ communications practitioner to a truly integrated marketing communications professional. And about how Burnham-esque we have been in our vision to challenge industry norms and create unfair advantage for our clients.
What underscores both our company’s approach and the mission behind Chicago Ideas Week, is the notion that no one can tackle these problems alone; we need to bring together different voices and perspectives to approach the challenges of the world – or of the communications industry – in a new way. Daily, I’m reminded of this as I work with a highly integrated team, including analytics experts, creative strategists and social media phenoms, who all bring a variety of ideas to the table and work to create smarter, more cost-effective strategies for our clients. Sometimes it still feels like magic when it all comes together!
And this is what we hope to show during our lab – how marrying data with a fully integrated PESO (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) strategy can be a kind of magic formula to help companies better reach their target audiences and help their messages resonate among the noise and distraction of today’s online environment. And we’ll have a little fun doing it, too!
At W2O, we’ve always considered ourselves a company that challenges status quo so it’s only natural that we’re part of a week that embraces the instigators, the big thinkers and those who dare to make no little plans. And what better place to do this than the Windy City, the city where big ideas come to play.
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