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Top 3 Favorite Sessions from the Inaugural POSSIBLE Conference

April 26, 2023

Katie Vick at POSSIBLE Miami Conference.

Last week, Evergreen & Oak attended the first-ever POSSIBLE MMA Global Conference in Miami to learn about future-thinking strategies and emerging technologies in marketing. Our newest addition to the team, Katie Vick, breaks down her top three favorite sessions from the event. 

Of the many interesting sessions I saw, these three were my favorite because of the practical advice. Each speaker provided actionable steps that can be applied to any brand looking to drive loyalty, increase engagement and remain relevant in our ever-changing world. The sessions were grounded in personal experiences and provided strong foundational information for other marketers to apply and build upon. 

#1 – “Fueling Growth And Driving Loyalty With Company Values As Your Anchor” with Zach Kitschke (CMO, Canva)

In his keynote speech, Zach Kitschke shared seven lessons for building a brand and driving loyalty. He explained that companies should first start with purpose and values, such as Canva’s purpose to “empower the world to design.” The values of the company should reflect the values held by stakeholders, both internally and externally. These authentic, shared values help to create a deeper connection with consumers, who are more likely to become loyal advocates for the brand. Second, companies should build a great product for real people. As the fifth employee ever hired at Canva, Zach shared the steps they took to build a design tool that works great for the everyday user. This included seeking honest feedback about what users truly thought about their product, even when if some users hated it. This feedback was sometimes hard to hear, but ultimately helped Canva to improve and grow. Third, Zach argued that a strong community can drive growth. As he said, “It takes a village to raise a company.” 

The fourth lesson he shared was particularly impactful for me because it is at the heart of what we do at Evergreen & Oak. To build a great brand, make complex things simple. “The best of the best reduce complexity,” Zach explained. By concisely communicating to the average reader, you have crafted great messaging. It is not about how many words you use, it is about maximizing impact and eliminating filler. In this lesson, he referenced a Mark Twain quote that stuck with me throughout the conference, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

The fifth lesson is to stay focused, but be agile. It is important to stay focused on your company’s North Star, or ultimate purpose. However, do not get stuck in the same path to your North Star. Consider new approaches and remain agile to explore new, potentially better or faster, paths to success. Sixth, surround yourself with people who are better than you. In order to succeed, you need a group of people who are innovative and push you to be better. Finally, do not forget about yourself or your team. Take breaks. Building a company is a marathon, not a sprint. It is important to prioritize time off for both you and your team to prevent burnout and inspire creativity. By living more fully outside of work, what we create becomes more rich and inspired. 

Overall, Zach’s speech was just part of Canva’s impressive brand activation at POSSIBLE. Their team connected with attendees through several out-of-the-box ways, including branded hotel key cards and interactive promotional products. Conference attendees could even use the Canva software to design and print personalized tote bags. Their purpose-driven promotional products and interesting presentation differentiated their brand from the crowd.

#2 – “How the TikTok Community Inspired the Industry to Think Like Marketers, Act like Creators” with Sofia Hernandez (Global Head of Business Marketing, TikTok)

According to TikTok, 73 percent of users feel a deeper connection to brands they interact with on TikTok, compared to other platforms. This sense of connection influences how users position brands and, ultimately, make buying decisions. Sofia explained how brands can create on TikTok with the “creative codes,” which help brands overcome blocks and generate content that drives business results. 

The first creative code is to go native, or share content authentic to TikTok and the “For You Page” viewing experience. For example, lululemon created TikToks highlighting the benefits of their new wrinkle-free fabric. These videos were unique to the TikTok platform, in both their physical design and how they chose to present content. You can not recycle existing assets for a TikTok, but you can remake them. “If it ain’t broke, remix it,” Sofia explained. By reimagining TV commercials or other social media hits with TikTok’s features, you can create native content that generates connection with customers and lasting business results. 

Experiment with story structures on TikTok. Recently, Taco Bell posted a TikTok showing how they assemble a taco on their menu. Despite being extremely simple, this video was effective because it gave users a fresh perspective on the menu item and encouraged them to go order and eat the taco. 

The third code is stimulation, or capturing audience attention through fun editing techniques. One editing technique brands could capitalize on is transitions. These create a sense of momentum and make videos more interesting to watch. By switching location or making new items appear within a video, brands can keep users engaged. 

Deeper, layered content is created when brands explore with sound on TikTok. Perhaps consider using ASMR-type videos with creators to highlight the sounds of your brand, whether it is the sound of people eating or tires rolling across pavement. When brands use popular music or sounds, it is important for the video to remain in rhythm and in sync with the pace of the sound. 

Brands should consider participating in trends in order to maintain relevance. For RyanAir, this meant using the popular Nicolas Cage/Pedro Pascal trend to demonstrate how you can save money by not having your group sit together on the same flight with RyanAir. This video got over 106,000 likes and over 500 comments. By participating in trends, brands are more likely to end up on the For You Pages in ways that are fun and lead to an authentic sense of connection. 

The final code is that brands should consider how they want to produce TikTok content. With minimal resources, you can still make a big impact. For State Farm, this was seen when they decided not to participate in the Super Bowl this year and instead generated lots of content for TikTok. This increased engagement with a younger audience who might turn to State Farm when it’s time to insure their first car or home. 

Sofia also encouraged brands to capitalize on the comment section. “Like the friend group you want to break into at a party,” the comment section of TikTok videos is where brands can have meaningful conversations with customers and generate valuable business insights about how their brand is received. Attendees of this session received a deck of cards that they can reference to overcome creative blocks and generate new ideas for TikTok videos. 

#3 – “Remaining Relevant in Transformative Times” with Rishad Tobaccowala

“Change sucks but irrelevance is worse,” Rishad explained. As a self-proclaimed hater of change, Rishad Tobaccowala discussed why it is important to evolve and shared the six steps leaders should take to make positive change happen within their company. First, companies should consider their future competitive advantage or their strategy. How will they differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to maintain relevance? They should consider acquisition of talent. Who can they bring into their circle that will bring new ideas and make them stronger in the future? Also, how can they reorganize themselves to be better? After all, “the future does not fit into the boxes of the past,” Rishad explains. These steps are most common when companies begin to re-evaluate themselves, but many stop there. 

However, the next three are how companies become great, according to Rishad. 

Companies need their employees to understand why change is good for them individually. Rishad argues companies fail when they assert that what is good for the company is always good for you as the employee. Companies and their employees often have different interests and priorities. Rather, companies should help employees see that evolving makes employees more competitive within their industry. Employees should feel that they are benefiting on an individual level from the changes being made within the company. Next, companies should consider their incentive plan. How can they encourage employees to get on board and be excited about change for themselves? This could be financial incentives or public recognition. Finally, companies should consider the training program. Without training, change is difficult for employees and leads to frustration. By investing in training, companies can empower employees to be a part of the change and understand the why behind the new idea. 

According to Rashad, most people do the initial steps, but leave out the messy but most important last three. The session was interesting because of Rishad’s candor and practical advice. He focused less on feel-good mantras and more on the nuts and bolts of successful operations. However, in order for companies to successfully change anything, he explained that they need great leaders. “A boss is a title, a leader is a way of being,” Rishad explained. I left the session with a deeper understanding of the importance of change within a fast-paced industry like marketing and how I, as a young PR professional, can stay on top of what is going on industry-wide. 

Overall, this conference was an exciting opportunity where I gained valuable insights I am bringing back to my work at Evergreen & Oak. I came away from POSSIBLE with a deeper understanding of the strategies driving success and a renewed passion for marketing and thinking creatively. As my first industry conference, POSSIBLE has set a high standard with its interesting topics, engaging speakers, and meaningful conversations with industry peers.