The Path to Enlightenment: Listening and learning with the industry’s brightest and best at Stream Asia 2016
After recently joining Blis, I was given the opportunity that most of my colleagues would kill for.
I was offered a trip to WPP’s Stream Asia event to trade thoughts with some of our industry’s brightest minds. After nearly 16 hours of travel, road worn, and now covered in a thick layer of perspiration – which let’s face it, will happen to anyone in 35 degree Thai humidity – we arrived at Club Med Phuket.
There is an immediately engaging feeling about the place that fills the air. It feels as though it’s just brimming with a thought-provoking energy.
Ally or adversary, friend or foe, competitor or collaborator, at this place you check the b/s at the door. It’s an extremely profound experience.
In a situation where your pitches are less welcome, it takes a moment for a sales manager to adjust. Particularity when your first encounter finds you sitting at a small table sharing a cold beer with Rob Norman…an utter gentleman, might I add.
However, WPP Stream has been at it for a few years now and it all just has a way of making you feel comfortable. This is truly a place where no idea is stupid. The only stupid idea is not sharing your thoughts. Ego is left back at the office… you are entering a bubble of bustling collaboration.
So what did I learn from three days of resort life with 300 other media pioneers (apart from the obvious fact that Mojitos are great by the pool)? Well, below are just few of my more reader-friendly thoughts.
- There is more than one way to skin a cat. To be respected in-market, we must be respectful. Don’t discredit what you don’t know or even what you do know. Be open to understanding our broad working landscape.
- Brands want to use mobile, but they want to trust it first. The lack of true transparency on who really does what, is detrimental to our ecosystem and keeping planners from immersing their brands in a mobile strategy.
- It seems now everyone is a data champion. For example, we are seeing major financial entities move away from the label of being a finance company or brand, and focusing on becoming data companies. Inference has gone out the window, we now need to rely on intelligent, well-defined data plays to not be left behind.
- To listen is to be enlightened. Day-to-day, people in this business jostle for more budget, more briefs, more sales…this isn’t a bad thing, it’s extremely important in a sales-driven business. But what is bad is when we forget how to actively listen. When we actively listen to a colleague or client, we release the true potential of a conversation.
We’ve all done it…sat there listening to someone and thinking about what we can add to the conversation before they have finished. There are countless reasons for this. Excitement, eagerness to impress, ego, feeling uncomfortable or out of depth in a conversation or even just distracted.
All of these are very human traits, but when sitting and discussing topics, or swapping stories over a few drinks at the bar, the biggest and most personally profound learning I took away from Stream was how to actively listen.
This allowed me to be more impactful and find solutions outside the box. It allowed me to leave a positive impression on more people and gain new friends I never would have dreamed I’d make, and lastly to walk away truly enlightened from Stream Asia 2016.
Thanks to WPP for having us…
Tags: Blis, Rob Marshall, Stream Asia 2016