Finding our purpose

A while back, we ran our first Employee Advocate and Influencer Marketing Conference – the Wave Summit.

Creating a conference is quite a thing. You have to pull together a wide range of speakers with different messages and ways of thinking, yet make the entire event have one common message.

I already knew I wanted to tell the story of the day. I wanted to be able to share the knowledge our expert speakers were imparting on social media to a wider audience beyond those in the room. I wanted us and delegates to share photos, quotes and video clips of the event. But I also wanted something more, something different. 

As we developed the conference and decided how the day was going to play out, I remembered my former boss from my AOL days back in the 90s. She’d always been a great doodler when we were in meetings, not the scruffy nonsense I doodle but beautiful little drawings and patterns. She always made her notebooks look amazing.

Over time, she’d turned this into a great side project, doing illustrations for greetings cards and the like. While planning Wave, I noticed her on Facebook and she was now doing her illustrations on a MUCH bigger scale.

It was called graphic recording. 

I’d never come across graphic recording before. Essentially, at a conference, workshop or live event, Caroline Chapple would come along with a HUGE piece of paper and spend the day listening very, very carefully to what everyone was saying. Then, bit by bit, she’d pull out the key points and start to illustrate them on paper  in real-time.

This goes on all day but that is not what is remarkable. What is remarkable is that she creates not a standalone series of images but something that pulls together and works as a whole. It’s a beautiful summary of the day.

She manages to find the common themes and ideas and discover what’s at the heart of what all the different speakers are saying. She finds the common thread.

Caroline’s graphic recording was perfect for Wave. It was the story for the day. It was a story of the journey of the day. It also distilled and clarified the many strands of learning throughout the day, showing how seemingly different ideas built on one another to become part of a whole.

At the end, Caroline pulled everything together with some key words.

‘Keeping the Human Connection in Digital

These words really resonated with me. They’d arisen organically from the content of the conference, from the many different speakers. They were the theme that bound everything together.

In that moment, I knew this had deeper meaning for our entire business. This was exactly what we were trying to do. Keeping the human connection in digital.

I’ve always been fascinated by the latest thinking in marketing. The relentless forward march of technology demands a continuous rethink in how we communicate, our business culture and our impact on society and the environment.

Amongst all this change, I firmly believe people should always be at the centre of any new thinking.

Reimaging marketing with people at its heart was our purpose.

You can watch the keynote from Brian Solis at our first WAVE Summit here.

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