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Notes from The Nottingham Digital Summit

Thanks to Hallam, this year’s Nottingham Digital Summit was even bigger and better than last year. Across not one, but three stages there were talks on thought leadership, customer experience, future trends, business management, creative campaigns, SEO and more.

So, after a full-on weekend walking around Glastonbury with inadequate footwear, I hobbled down to the Nottingham Playhouse to a) introduce myself back into civilisation and b) learn some useful stuff. And to no surprise, it was yet another awesome day full of practical advice and inspiration. Here are some of my notebook scribbles, translated.

Storytelling and future gazing — Billy Williams 

Very few businesses have zero digital presence these days, so it’s more important than ever to craft our digital services carefully and deliberately.  

Let’s go back to 2009 when the iPhone had only been around for two years, and Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon had just started becoming Tech giants. They have a phrase in Silicon Valley: “Move fast and break things”. We’re increasingly learning from data and moving at such a fast rate. But with all this data, users become faceless, quantitative data points, and that affects our customer experiences.  

“The thing I have noticed is when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right.”  

– Jeff Bezos 

Digital experiences are rapidly expanding and becoming more diverse. Billy’s example of this was Ikea’s virtual reality app — every part of that customer journey is digital. however, Billy still wanted that personal touch; he wanted to physically go into the Ikea store.  So, what do we do?

Borrow from the past and turn to storytelling 

“Advertising is about one thing, happiness”  

– Don Draper, Mad Men 

Everything in the advertising world of the 1950s and 1960s was about storytelling. We need to take from that and be more ‘user-centered’ and ‘emotionally-led’. We need to be thoughtful about emotive design instead of relying on just data-driven design.  

So how do we tell stories with our customer journey? 

Billy used the 90s TV show ‘Friends’ as his example of great storytelling, which might not be very high-brow, but each episode has a simple story arc that everything leads back to — will Ross and Rachel get together? 

The little touches matter, and each platform within your customer experience should have its own role and lead back to the underlying theme.  

Take Monzo, for example. They claim to be ‘The bank of the future’. Their whole experience is community-led, they make you the star of the show, and they provide engaging imagery like colourful graphical interfaces and emoji notifications. This isn’t anything like any other bank we know!

Why does this work? Because they know it’s the little things that make their customers smile — like sending a mobile notification with a Swedish flag and a hot dog emoji whenever they shop at Ikea. Billy’s conclusion is that digital storytelling can be an optimistic and more human approach to product development, and that we should all be doing it.  

SEO and UX teams, unite! – Ben Wood and Julio Taylor 

The second talk of the day was led by a Digital Director and Creative Director. These guys were discussing the dynamics of SEO and Design, showing us how UX teams and SEO teams don’t collaborate enough, and telling us why it’s important that we change this.  

With the introduction of Google’s Rankbrain, Google is now understanding search queries and measuring how people interact with search results. Specifically, it’s looking at: 

  • Organic click-through rate 
  • Dwell time 
  • Bounce rate 
  • Pogo-sticking 

https://backlinko.com/google-rankbrain-seo

So, SEO needs to consider UX design. And UX design also must adapt to this ever-changing human behaviour.  

Take Voice Search for example. These trends are conditioning users to discover and expect information faster. Design and SEO need to work together to create a great user experience that caters to this.  

Key takeaways? Work from the same brief, make your work visible, control your ego, and believe in the mission. 

The power of archetypal branding – Matt Davies 

Brand is the meaning people attach to you. But the problem here is that it seems out of your control. You need to manage your own branding; you need to create your meaning and own it. So what’s the best way to create meaning? Well, Matt Davies says it’s all in the stories we tell. 

Think back to when you were a child. How did you learn about and understand the world around you? Through stories, that’s how.  

Branding includes your culture, your product/services, your customer experience, and your marketing communications, so we need to have a strong story that feeds into each of these branding elements. Matt Davis says there are 3 key strategies here: 

  1. Know your customer story 
    Make the customer the hero of your story. 
  2. Know your archetypal character 
    Archetypes are a recognizable stereotype of a character in a story. For example, Harry Potter is the hero of his story, right?

    These archetypes help us to manage our meaning by telling better stories. According to Carl Jung, there are twelve archetypes, and Matt says we need to pick one of them for our branding.

    This is so we can be consistent throughout everything we do; picking too many archetypes, he says, can confuse people about who you are as a brand.
     

Image result for the 12 archetypes
https://conorneill.com/2018/04/21/understanding-personality-the-12-jungian-archetypes/

3. Live your story 
Finally, allow your story to flow through every part of your business. 

Why is this worth it? Well, just think of a Gucci handbag — functionally, its exactly the same as any other handbag. However, people are willing to pay much more for a handbag with their logo on as they identify with that meaning.

Recommended reading: The Hero and the Outlaw – Building extraordinary brands through the power of archetypes by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson 

Impero’s Cloud Journey – Nikki Annison 

Next up was Nikki Annison from Impero Software demonstrating how they created a fully-integrated campaign for their journey to the Cloud. They went with the four C’s of campaign success: coherence, consistency, continuity, and complementary. They also used Kotter’s 8 steps to change to really make an impact: 

https://www.kotterinc.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/

Impero came up with their desired action, communication objectives, and started getting their team, existing customers, and new businesses involved at an early stage. Everyone on the team was especially involved during the creative process.  

Before selling the benefits with conviction and evidence, they needed to create awareness. So to get people talking, they wanted to pick a fun theme as an analogy. As they were doing a big product launch, they decided to go with a movie premiere theme, and this underpinned the whole marketing campaign.  

And of course, they couldn’t have a movie launch without a trailer. Seriously, watch this — it’s utterly brilliant: 



Key takeaways: 

  • Consistency is key 
  • Involve everyone 
  • Track success and share 
  • Have fun! 

Lessons from working at Google – Robert Craven 

Robert kickstarted his talk with tremendous energy; energy that wasn’t initially reciprocated on such a hot, long day. But he tried again, asking the audience to cheer as if their favourite band had just come on stage at Glastonbury, and it worked.

This is probably the kind of energy that landed him a job at Google, and here’s what he says he learned while working there:

  • Mindset 
    Here, Robert talks about having a ‘can-do’ attitude and asking us what’s holding us back. We were then asked to think of one thing that holds us back every day and talk to the person next to us about it. Then, he noted that most of us would have started our sentence with ‘They, he, or she’ — putting the blame on someone else is something we as humans are really bloody good at doing. It’s never our fault, always ‘theirs’.  
     
    Secondly, he noted how Google uses this concept called ‘Moonshot Thinking’, which is basically thinking outside of the box, being bold and brave, and not being afraid to try new things and maybe mess up.  
     
  • Speed 
    Google moves twice as fast as everyone else. In fact, they don’t even bother with business plans for the year; all their plans are actually 12-week business plans. Robert says he never knew what he’d be doing next quarter. At Google, everything moves faster, everything happens quicker, they learn more in a shorter amount of time, and it makes things more exciting.  
     
  • Team 
    Psychological safety — it’s okay to take risks, it’s okay to be vulnerable in front of each other. 
     
    Dependability, structure and clarity — everyone knows what they’re responsible for and what they’re always supposed to be doing. 
     
    Meaning — each team member knows what they’re doing is worthwhile and that they’re each making an impact. 
     
  • OKRs 
    Google use Objectives and Key Results, which is a goal system that creates alignment and engagement around measurable goals. They’re usually frequently set, tracked and re-evaluated quarterly. The goal is to make sure everyone is constantly and consistently going in the same direction with clear priorities.  

Not only was this a huge day filled with some seriously impressive talks, but we also managed to raise an insane £18,047.21 for Samaritans with our tickets (plus more donations were made via Larry the unicorn on the day!).

Larry the unicorn Samaritans

I can’t wait for next year! What did you learn? Let us know in the comments below!

Upcoming event: Nottingham, UK Salesforce Women in Tech, June 5th

Next month we’re hosting another Salesforce Women in Tech event right here at the Nottingham Science Park, and we’re insanely excited.

It’s going to be a fun afternoon learning about overcoming imposter syndrome, recalibrating our minds with neuro-linguistic programming, self-belief, and authenticity in leadership.

What is Salesforce Women in Tech?

The Nottingham Salesforce Women in Tech group is powered by those who want to share their industry experiences, receive free career advice, close the diversity gap in Tech, and above all, support each other. 

Salesforce has Trailblazer Community groups located all over the world, and we’re the UK East Midlands one! Along with Salesforce Women in Tech, we also run a Salesforce Administrator’s Group, so if you’re a Salesforce user, check out our previous events here!

This is an all-inclusive event that aims to encourage, empower, and support those who want to thrive in their career. Anyone who wishes to learn some new skills or how they can help close the diversity gap in the technology industry is welcome. And to make it as accessible as possible to our community, this event is totally free to attend!

We’ll have four awesome speakers come to give some practical advice, share their stories, and spark ideas:

2pm — Welcome!

We’ll start with a short intro from myself.

2:10pm — ‘Thriving in the face of the imposter’, Rebecca Godfrey

Do you ever worry that your success is down to being in the right place at the right time, down to luck or down to some kind of mistake rather than being due to your own ability? Do you ever worry that one day your colleagues will realise that you are not as talented as they think you are?

This isn’t modesty, this is something a lot deeper. Imposter Syndrome is experienced by up to 70% of us at some point in our lives. It can prevent us from enjoying successes we have worked so hard to achieve and can really hold us back from realising our full potential. In this talk, Rebecca is going to take us through her own personal journey with imposter syndrome and how we can thrive in the face of the imposter!

Rebecca is the founder of Etheo, a Team & Leadership Transformation consultancy with a focus on the highly regulated technical industries.

Rebecca is a scientist by background having completed a PhD in Immunology at the University of Cambridge. Since leaving academic research, Rebecca’s career has given her the opportunity to build and develop a successful drug safety consultancy business, work with and lead colleagues from more than 90 countries, live and work abroad and lead organisations and groups in roles ranging from Company Director of a small consultancy to Global Head and Global Director roles in two of the world’s top 10 pharma companies.

Having thoroughly enjoyed a fruitful and successful career so far, in 2018 Rebecca took the leap to set up Etheo bringing her wealth of business experience, outstanding leadership skills, strategy and process development expertise and passion for meeting new challenges to support individuals and leaders build cohesive, high performing teams with a focus on operational excellence.

2:40pm — ‘Recalibrate to Great’ with neuro-linguistic programming, Elaine Grace

Imagine a world where your belief system responsible for how you experience life could be very closely likened to our modern world of tech. They are not too dissimilar and, just like we can update our apps and scan and deal with viruses in our tech systems, we can do just that with what our belief system is about ourselves, our environment and even our relationships.

Imagine what life could look like if you could reprogram your mind; if you could enter a new code of belief and set that program to run as your main operating system and… it was exactly as you had designed it?

Elaine is an NLP Master Coach who specialises in working with people to get them to train their mindset and brain to develop positive thoughts and habits that lead them to confidently take action to be the architect of their own reality. Join us to see how this is possible for everyone to benefit from and even make real changes in the very moment.

3:10pm — Break

Tea, coffee, and Doughnotts!

3:30pm — ‘The Neuroscience of self-belief’, Kirsty Hulse

What is happening in the brain when we stutter, stumble over our words or our mind goes blank? Why are we hardwired to perceive and avoid social threat? And how can we train our brain to be happier with risk and less afraid of failure? In this practical and inspiring talk, Kirsty will help us navigate these questions and provide tangible advice to improve our self-belief.

Kirsty Hulse is the Founder of Manyminds, a marketing agency working with clients such as Virgin Atlantic, Claire’s and IBM. For nearly ten years, she has travelled around the world speaking at conferences to audiences of thousands, and is a seasoned stand-up comic who ran a sold out one woman show at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe.

She has trained with ICF accredited Neuroleadership Institute, to apply the fundamentals of neuroscience to enable better conversations, grow self-belief and regulate nerves. She believes, passionately, that a recognised, empowered workforce improves collaboration, creativity and internal and external communication and recently founded Roar a confidence, communication and allies training company that levels the professional playing field for everyone.

4:00pm — ‘Leading as Yourself’, Emma Watts

In this talk, we’ll explore how to show up and lead as yourself, whatever your role may be. The workplace is changing rapidly, but often those at the top got there through adhering to an outdated set of rules around leadership, what it means, and who should do it. Is the corporate mindset fit for the modern world? Who created it? Who perpetuates it?

Working in tech as a woman has its own particular challenges which intersect with all of these questions. We’ll discuss what it means now to be ‘professional’, to lead, and to be yourself despite the pressure we might feel to be a different version of ourselves at work.

Emma is a certified Transformation Coach who heads up the team of Implementation Consultants at makepositive, a leading Platinum Salesforce partner. She’s also the founder of Many Measures, a private coaching practice for people who want to create success on their own terms.  

4:30pm — Giveaway, buffet food and drink!

We’ll be doing a giveaway! Sign up and tweet about it with the hashtag #SFWiTNotts for a chance to win some goodies! There will also be a free hot buffet and drinks to end the day. Stick around with us for a chat! We won’t close the doors until 6pm.

Sign up for free below! Spaces are filling up fast, so don’t miss out. With this line-up, you’ll be kicking yourself if you do.

How we planned for the Sales Innovation Expo in 3 weeks

Three weeks ago we were offered an exhibitor’s spot at the Sales Innovation Expo to support Salesforce, and while it was short notice, we definitely couldn’t pass up the opportunity. With absolutely zero plan, no branded merchandise or stand design, and very little exhibitor experience, we instantly felt the pressure. Here’s how we managed to pull it off.

Read moreHow we planned for the Sales Innovation Expo in 3 weeks

9 things we learned at Marketing Week Live 2019

Last Thursday I was up at the absolutely hideous hour or 4am to head down to London for Marketing Week Live – or as I more accurately called it, ‘Marketing Wednesday and Thursday Live’ – catchy, no?

Taking place at Olympia, MWLive is a free two-day event that provides practical, hands-on advice from some of the most respected leaders in Marketing. I couldn’t make the Wednesday talks due to our Women in Tech event taking priority, but managed to head down on Thursday to learn some new and exciting marketing insights. And here they are.

Read more9 things we learned at Marketing Week Live 2019

Workplace diversity helps your business grow. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

It was recently found that businesses with a balance of men and women on their executive teams are 21% more likely to outperform their competitors, and those with team members from a good mix of ethnic backgrounds are 35% more likely.

While gender and ethnic diversity obviously doesn’t automatically translate into profit, the correlation is there, and it suggests that when businesses commit themselves to diverse leadership, they actually become more successful at what they do.

Read moreWorkplace diversity helps your business grow. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

Event: Nottingham, UK Women in Tech Group | October 24th 2018

Our first Women in Tech event was such a fun, inspiring afternoon that we just had to plan another! So join us on Wednesday 24th October for our second Salesforce Women in Tech event in Nottingham, filled with insightful career stories, practical tips and advice, and eye-opening knowledge. Oh, and doughnuts. Mustn’t forget to mention the doughnuts… 

Read moreEvent: Nottingham, UK Women in Tech Group | October 24th 2018

Search in a screenless world: How voice search and contextual triggers change everything

Barry Adams got 12 words into his talk at The Nottingham Digital Summit before he started swearing, and we get the sneaking suspicion that’s a pretty good record for him: apparently, all we need to know is that he’s been doing SEO for ‘way too long’ and he’s ‘really f*cking good at it’. Barry is the straight-talking guy behind Polemic Digital — a specialised SEO consultancy which has won multiple awards at 2016 UK Search Awards, including the Best Small SEO Agency. He came to the summit to chat to us about the future of voice-based search and contextual triggers. Here’s what he told us.

Read moreSearch in a screenless world: How voice search and contextual triggers change everything

How to make your content marketing cheap, scalable and effective.

Kirsty Hulse from Many Minds once wanted to create a structurally-sound pillow fort for a client’s campaign. Yep, you read that correctly — a structurally-sound pillow fort. So who better to ask than an architect, right?

Now, the hardest thing about this funny campaign was asking established, serious architects around the UK to create the blueprints. But luckily, they eventually found two architects who agreed to create them. This was brilliant because, it actually only took 2 days to do and the blueprints were shared a crazy amount online — so that low-cost, low-risk idea turned out to be super fun and effective.

In her talk at this year’s Nottingham Digital Summit, Kirsty explained to us how we can create effective campaigns like this too, without needing to invest too much time, money, and risk. Here’s what we learned.

Read moreHow to make your content marketing cheap, scalable and effective.