For the past two days, I attended the mesh conference in Toronto. Billed as “Canada’s Web 2.0 conference”, it was an opportunity for people across multiple industries and disciplines to come together and explore how new innovations in technology, marketing and communications are redefining how organizations and people connect.
The event was a real-life mashup. I was really impressed with the variety of speakers and the consistency of insights regardless of people’s expertise. Not everyone agreed though. There were some great dialogues and debates. At the end of the day though, if I had to pick three topics that emerged as the general principles (from my perspective), here’s how they’d look.
- Organizations need to find comfort in relinquishing control over their marketing. Instead, they need to focus on ensuring that the quality of their products, services and overall brand experience are relevant to what customers want from their relationship with an organization. This was reinforced by Jonathan Ehrlich of Chapters Online.
- These are early days. Conference participants are ahead of the curve and need to focus at this point on defining strong models and measures for success. The mainstream will follow, but only once the value is defined. Early adapters see the value and need to package value.
- Those engaging in social media and new communications need to embrace authenticity. This hit home on several occasions by the likes of Steve Rubel who in my opinion correctly dismissed character blogs and Tara Hunt who introduced some great principles for the new communication climate.
I also left the event wondering why people were really there. There were many traditional PR folks I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the years out in full force. Was it because people realize the need for change or simply because the event was coordinated by some of Canada’s most prominent journalists and new media/marketing minds? Regardless, it was a great turn out and an excellent event. Congratulations to Mark Evans, Stuart MacDonald, Matthew Ingram, Rob Hyndman and Mike McDerment.