It’s intermission time at Future Midwest and since lunch we’ve had some interesting presentations.
The afternoon started out with local iPhone app developer Henry Balanon of Bickbot and Damian Rintlemann of Hart Associates having an on-stage conversation about the future of mobile in “The Mobile Rundown,” in point-counterpoint style. They touched on everything from the mobile web vs. apps, to location based tools (think FourSquare), to even the iPad. (Verdict: Wait until the second generation of iPad.)
Following the mobile conversation was Chris Barger, Director of Social Media for General Motors, who spoke of crisis management and reputation repair online. He stressed the importance of not just listening, but engaging and reaching out to those who are offering constructive criticism. Redefining influence is also of importance. Says Barger, “Every community has an Oprah, someone with tremendous influence. Your job is to find the Oprah and arm them with what they need to influence the community.”
Evan Gotlib of blip.tv followed Barger with an enlightening discussion of successful content creation and monetization of it, stressing consistency, engagement with audiences, and conveying passion. “In the end,” Gotlib said, “authenticity trumps production values every time.”
Next up was Sam Valenti of local record label Ghostly International, who blew the audience away with his presentation on creating a permeable brand and identifying your brand as an ethos. His slides were extremely well done, aesthetically pleasing, and the speech came not only from the heart but showed a lot of Michigan history and pride. Rumor has it that the applause and enthusiasm from the audience was heard outside the venue on Fourth Street!
Shiv Singh of Razorfish followed Valenti, speaking about the “Digital Renaisance: Why This is Just the Beginning and What it Means for Marketers.” Singh insists that, in his opinion, the “digital age” is already yesterday’s news, and that the “digital renaissance will be a bridge between the Digital Ages and a Post-Digital Era.” He touched on many points, but drove home the point that soon, storytelling will replace advertising.
Up next is a panel discussion moderated by David Murray.