MKG creates experiential programs that connect trendsetting consumers, influencers and the media to brands. They exist to engage, entertain and brighten people’s lives through the experiences they create. So, obviously, it was a no-brainer when we chose them as our partner in crime for the production of this year’s Ideas Connected at Global HQ. While we’ve enjoyed working with the whole MKG team, we’ve got a real soft-spot for Dave Brown, MKG’s Director of Digital Strategy. Here he shares his thoughts on social marketing, digital innovation and our upcoming event!
1. Tell us about your goals for SMW. As co-host of Ideas Connected and our first Global HQ, what do you hope attendees will take away from the experience?
We’re totally excited about co-hosting Social Media Week’s first Global HQ. We’ve all attended way too many conferences that left us feeling underwhelmed, so this event provides us with an opportunity to flip the idea of a typical conference on its head and create something new and fresh with Crowdcentric. It’s been really enjoyable working together and we hope to make this a memorable experience for our attendees. From the very beginning it’s been our goal to create a space that’s warm, inviting and would organically facilitate networking, connections and the sharing of ideas. We hope attendees walk away feeling like they’ve had a powerful and encouraging experience.
2. As a pioneer in experiential marketing, how has social media affected the field? How does that inform MKG’s work?
Social Media has evolved to the point where we don’t see it as a separate strategy for experiential marketing. It’s fully integrated into the entire vision of a brand and we bake that into our approach here at MKG. You can’t discuss marketing or branding without deeply considering social media. That’s the most exciting part. It’s a new language. It’s a new craft. And, whether you’re a community manager or a digital strategist it’s become an art form to bridge online and offline experiences for audiences so that it’s a frictionless experience which ultimately delivers meaningful results.
3. What has been MKG’s greatest success with Social Media to date?
Fortunately, I’m part of a team at MKG that has seen a lot of success. Our creative execution of ideas is notable. But, if I had to pick one event that stood out for me, it would be the Delta Instawalk at Madison Square Garden. The challenge was to break through all the noise found at major sporting events. We solved this by inviting a talented group of Instagram photographers to come in and document the New York Rangers’ playoff run. We provided them with unprecedented access and experiences that even traditional media hadn’t done before. The outcome was nothing short of beautiful. Our use of Instagram as a storytelling mechanism created a really rich experience for audiences. It reached millions of people in an organic way and set a new standard for what can be done in the realm of social media.
4. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?
I love the level of personalization I’m seeing across the board. From social connections to anticipated results based on my actions and networks, it’s really exciting. It’s the humanization of big data and how its service is relieving pain points in peoples’ lives so we can spend more time focusing on the things that matter. A great example of this is the social connections feature on Airbnb. There’s no doubt we’ll be seeing more brands and services incorporating this level of personalization and speed of delivery into their offering. This is where things get really exciting and we’re just scratching the surface.
5. What brands do you think are leading the way in innovation with social and digital?
There are so many I admire. Holstee is one of my favorite brands. They’re a great example of how creativity and positive inspiration can build an eco-friendly brand. Another is Photojojo. They consistently remind me that passion, personality and strong communication can build audiences. Oh, and I can’t forget The New York Rangers. They have a really strong digital presence and provide fans with so much access and information through the use of various social channels. As a die-hard hockey fan, I find this both valuable and engaging. All of these brands use social media in fascinating ways to do basic storytelling. It’s exciting to see them grow and resonate with their audiences across the globe.
6. What are you looking forward to most at SMWNYC 2013?
I’m looking forward to watching people connect with what we’ve been building for the last three months. It’s been an incredible, collaborative process and I’m really excited for people to take it all in, get their hands dirty, build things, learn and share skills, make new connections and forget that you’re even at a conference. In one section of the experiential space we have an area called HQ Office Hours where we’ll be offering our ideas and advice to attendees. Anyone can approach us on anything from social media marketing, pitching us their ideas, asking for advice, sharing tips on their favorite app or wanting a restaurant recommendation for the night. It’s going to be a blast and the team and I can’t wait to engage in great conversations with the audience and give out a few solid Hi-Fives.
7. This year, our global theme is “Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World.” How does MKG embody or support this idea?
Our founder, Maneesh K. Goyal is an architect for brands and his expertise is at the heart of our company. We’re passionate about creating memorable experiences that bring people together and deliver meaningful results. This matched with Social Media Week’s Open & Connected DNA spawned our natural partnership. We’re not just saying “ideas connected,” we’re living it.
8. What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?
I’ve witnessed so many creative applications of social media. Everything from crowdsourced funding for positive social change to neighbors helping each other in moments of crisis. Social Media always finds a way to surprise me in its application. Its beautiful. But on a more simple level, one of the most creative applications of social media (that anyone can do) is when a brand or a person recognizes a need and fills it with unbending kindness. We call this love bombs and they’re some of the best bi-products of social media. I really enjoy when I see someone say they wish XYZ would happen, and someone with the ability to make that happen does. It’s awesome. You see brands do it. You see people do it. And I hope that contagion continues to spread as social media grows into the future.
Follow Dave_Brown on Twitter: @holidaymatinee