February 16, 2015

Experiences from WPP’s #StreamIndia

WPP Stream, an acclaimed and anticipated un-conference, brings together digital practitioners, industry leaders, communicators, and more, to discuss the future of digital technologies and communication. Increasingly, India is becoming the next frontier for digital growth, and #StreamIndia is just the platform to explore the digital future.

With GBM Digital Studio at the forefront of our digital endeavours, #StreamIndia was abuzz with GBMers. Captured here are experiences by our President, Nikhil Dey and our Chief Marketing and Growth Officer, Deepshikha Dharmaraj.

Nikhil’s experience at #StreamIndia

After an amazing three days spent with over 200 curious minds at WPP’s popular un-conference called Stream, I wanted to share six snippets that struck me as interesting.

1. Serendipity vs the algorithm: We must consciously search for new experiences and information. Otherwise we run the risk of being limited by the echo chamber we unwittingly live in. Go attend an event you normally would not. Pick up a magazine you normally would not read. Break the mould and you will be pleasantly surprised as to how much it opens up your mind to new ideas that you can apply in your work and life.

2. Less is more: We must strive to be short and sharp in our story telling. Nearly all the presentations at stream were done in 4 to 5 minutes and they were more powerful than the 45 slide ppts we churn out. A good reminder of the power of brevity is a site called www.makesmethink.com check it out.

3. Assisted content creation and curation: The future is going to be about finding new ways to bring the best content together. Stream itself is a perfect example which got a diverse set if people together and the content each person brought to the table is what made the event so powerful, but it took a lot of work to pull it together. The content factories of the future will operate on the same principle.

4. Make mistakes as fast as you can: We have a lot to learn from the you tubers. They are a “fail fast generation” or one that has absolutely no fear to try something and if it does not work they tweak it and try something else. Just don’t keep repeating the same mistakes though!

5. Parasitic innovation: Look for ideas that work and then see how you can piggy back on them. An example of this is how a healthcare initiative to distribute ORS solution piggybacked on the distribution network of a soft drink brand to get to the heartland of rural communities. What can we learn from such examples and how do we apply them in our world of PR?

6. The importance of participating: Don’t sit on the sidelines and listen passively. Stream celebrated those who had the courage to participate. It celebrated their effort and their courage. Fear of sounding stupid or failing is what stops most people from doing things. There is so much each of us is capable of if only we stopped being afraid if what others would think. So go ahead and Initiate a conversation. Share the idea. Don’t spend your day only reacting to what others want of you. Be the author of action and while you are at it don’t forget to have some fun :)

Deepshikha’s experience at #StreamIndia

The unconference approach of Stream is a sure-shot winner. Informal interactions with experts across diverse subjects truly helped the learning process, and sessions like Ignite set the mind afire with ideas. With change being the only constant today, Stream gave a lot of food for thought to communication professionals across diverse disciplines. Some of my key takeaways were:

1. Content is king but needs to dress up like a queen: Content is at the heart of a successful digital strategy, and what is becoming more obvious is that the plain written text is passé. Content must be dressed up and made appealing with photographs, short films, and real-life imagery.

2. Power of crowdsourcing: While everyone agrees that this is the most powerful feature that needs to be leveraged in the digital world, there is still a lot more that needs to be done to harness its power and understand how we can make it work for brands.

3. Integration vs specialists: The choice isn’t either-or. The agency of the future will have to focus on collaboration amongst specialists to arrive at the big idea for clients. It can no longer be the responsibility of one agency to first come up with the BIG Idea and then try and integrate other specialists into the idea and its execution. It will have to be a collaborative effort from the start.

4. Changing role of the journalist/media: Like traditional PR professionals are changing rapidly to adapt in the digital world, journalists too need look at reinventing themselves to stay relevant across the multiple mediums available to them to tell the stories people want to hear.

5. Digital beyond brand marketing: How can we leverage worldwide web to arrive at better management solutions like mentoring for leaders and start-up businesses, building thought leadership, hiring the right talent, encouraging diversity at workplace and identifying appropriate CSR partnerships, among others.