Angela Brown, Marketing Manager
After ten consecutive days of parties, seminars, projects, picnics, yoga sessions, meetups, tweetups and outdoor movie screenings, Digital Capital Week (DCWEEK to the initiated) came to a close over the weekend. For those who don’t know, DCWEEK is the brainchild of iStrategyLabs and Shiny Heart Ventures, two organizations that are moving the needle when it comes to the way that agencies and technology companies are structured and how they do business. According to the DCWWEK website, the event is “a 10 day festival here in DC focused on technology, innovation and all things digital in our nation’s capital.” Boy was it. Since no one could possibly attend every DCWEEK event without having access to some sort of cloning technology, I do want to give you a recap of the numerous options that were available to attendees and what I experienced. I have a lot to say based on the handful of events I attended, so I’ll be breaking this into two parts.
The Big Picture
Where to begin? To say that this was a big event attended by a lot of people just wouldn’t do DCWEEK justice. Between June 11 and June 20, DCWEEK participants had the opportunity to build a schedule around 100+ events and more than 8,000 Washingtonians showed up for DCWEEK. During the day, participants could attend breakfasts and workshops where they could learn best practices and hear case studies related to some of the biggest topics in digital – mobile technology, social media, game design, and more. At night, attendees could kick back by taking their pick of happy hours and cocktail receptions.
Session speakers and panelists ranged from local bloggers, techies, philanthropists and social media rock stars to true celebrities in the world of new media and engagement like Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh and Groundswell author Charlene Li. From nonprofit marketers seeking social media best practices to mobile application developers and philanthropists, DCWEEK had something for everyone. The media quickly became aware of the scale and significance of the event, and the festival received coverage from The Washington Post, WUSA9, and The Huffington Post to name a few.
First, let me start by saying I wasn’t able to attend nearly as many events as I would have liked or was registered for because of a cold. That said, I was really happy with the people I met and the insights I gained from the events I was able to attend, both in-person and via Twitter (gotta love those hash tags). The festival was a great way to get a feel for the most top-of-mind topics in digital and to identify takeaways that I could share and apply as soon as I returned to my desk. My DCWEEK began with a happy hour hosted by MediaBistro and Social Times at Skye Lounge. The venue was packed, but it was a great opportunity to see some new faces and catch up with a few old friends. Our Creative Director Marcos Ballestero and new Project Manager Angel LaBell joined me for the event.
Next up was a Tuesday session on The Future of Media at the National Geographic’s gorgeous downtown campus. The panel discussion, which was moderated by Washington Life Magazine Group EVP Michael Clements, included Kelly Day, EVP/COO Discovery Digital Media and Commerce and Vijay Ravindran, VP, Digital, The Washington Post Company. They key takeaways for this session were the importance of content regardless of the medium used to distribute it, and the fact that technology enables brands to target customers and tailor messaging in ways that were not thought possible before. These aren’t new concepts, but they are worth repeating.
With that being said, there is also a point that I find myself making both in and outside the office, which is that thanks to social media, conversations about your brand are going to happen whether you want them to or not. While new media enable brands to communicate in new ways, the same is true of their audiences. The panelists pointed out the fact that social media have democratized content creation so that traditional journalists, news media and corporate spokespeople no longer control the message. Ignoring the noise won’t help – you have to join the conversation and actively participate to earn the trust of your constituents and to have any chance whatsoever of shaping the message. Forget about control.
Finally, a great point from the session was the importance of thinking about the way that content is being consumed beyond traditional channels. Many companies have caught on to the importance of web basics, but what about optimizing their websites or online communications to be viewed on mobile devices? Are they incorporating new advertising platforms and networks into their advertising strategies?
That’s it for today kids. Later this week, I’ll recap a stellar session on mobile from the boys at PointAbout and Friday’s Social Media Club Breakfast with the people behind the Save Screen on the Green Facebook movement.
This entry was posted on Monday, June 21st, 2010 at 3:13 pm and is filed under Digital Sales and Marketing, Interactivity, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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