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iStrategy Experience London 2013

Once again Michalis Schizas and I visited one of my favorite digital conferences, iStrategy.  Last November iStrategy took place at Twickenham Stadium in London. I will not write about how magnificent iStrategy was because I  wrote an article last year on how much I enjoyed it. So for those of you who didn’t read it, you can just watch the iStrategy testimonial video below:

Day 1 kicked off on Monday, with the magnificent Adam Burns whom I admire greatly, he always makes you smile.

Day @iStrategy

Day @iStrategy

This year iStrategy had three conference themes: content, context and distribution. This helped everybody to understand how vital these three aspects of digital marketing are. Adam Burns introduced Hamish Pringles who made the opening presentation with “How To Plan The Ideal Channel and Context Mix”. We were reminded that one fact we must all remember before running any advertising campaign is that each UK household makes on average of 21 purchases a day with the main shopper buying at least 16 items daily! Quite impressive isn’t it? Brand communication has to be relevant and useful; this is common sense however we do need to remind ourselves of this every single day. Emotional advertising is a much stronger form of advertising than rational as explained by Hamish Pringles, which I couldn’t agree more. The reason for this is explained in Dr. Steve Peter’s book (Mind Management) Dr. Steve Peter describes how the human brain works, explaining that we all have installed in our brains a ‘chimp’ that makes decisions based on emotions and feelings. So what Hamish mentioned and explained makes sense. We have to create emotional advertising (digital and traditional of course). Advertising agencies use around nine channels to promote a campaign, but that doesn’t mean it is effective. Using 3 or 4 channels can be just as successful with the same or better impact if used correctly. So if you have a budget of £50,000 to spend it’s more effective to break it down to 3 or 4 channels and target the ad to your core audience using emotions to capture the market.

There was one part in the presentation which I was not expecting. In the beginning Hamish said that TV is still king, which is a statement that I do not agree with, I guess I am to bias towards digital marketing. I have always supported the principle of mixing traditional advertising together with online. I agree that if a company has a budget that can support TV campaigns, they should, BUT I believe strongly that brands should pay less on traditional media. It is over-priced, that’s my personal opinion. Whenever we (vivid network) advertise in the offline world, I always make sure we get the best price available.

TV & #socialmedia are very powerful if combined together. #iStrategy

2013-09-30 09.52.39

Check your Google analytics and see what the two top resources you receive traffic from. Based on research the top 2 are: 1. Search Engines (SEO) and 2. Social Media. If you have a high engagement on social media of course search engines will support it. Just this morning I read an article that Bing is including Pins from Pinterest to show as results on images, that is amazing. There is a huge gap in users trusting branded websites:

58% of users trust branded websites.

Alexander Novicov

Alexander Novicov

Great content is the key, we have to embrace it and understand how important it is to us all. We have to tell stories (storytelling) to our followers and fans, without storytelling, without push and pull brands will lose ground, engagement and their audience.

A WOW web presence is not an option anymore, it is a must. I have written articles about this dozens of times, user experience is everything and without a WOW design/user experience brands will undoubtedly fail.

I believe everybody attended #iStrategy was inspired by David Trott. He was outstanding. His presentation was a traditional presentation ‘Bunkr‘/ ‘Prezi’.

David’s speech was absolutely incredible. Let me ask you one question, how much money do you think your company throws down the drain? Here is what David said about ads:

I have said it one thousand times and after hearing it coming from an advertising expert I had a smile on my face. Experts are studying very hard every channel that there is to promote brands. However what they should be doing is studying human behavior. Fifty years ago if you were satisfied with a product you would go and tell your neighbour and your relatives about it. Nowadays we do the exact same thing but via social media channels with access for the whole world to see.

I’m currently reading this book on my Kindle. I advise all of you to read it  too. Predatory-Thinking-by-Dave-Trott



And here is David’s awesome and funny presentation:        Brian Solis did not attend this iStrategy, but for those of you who don’t know (Brian is one of my mentors) I met him at previous iStrategy conferences and I have read all of his books. He is a remarkable guy! I had the opportunity to read his book (WTF: What’s The Future Of Business). I highly recommend reading his books especially The End Of Business As Usual & Engage. 526945_10152691800480038_501013943_n

It’s a cliché, but I will say it:

You have to love what you do, if you don’t love it, you will never succeed.


Some brands say that they get thousands of web visits. Here at IQDigital for example because our URL is three digit URL ( we get a lot of web visits, but it’s not just about web visits, it’s about what each user (person) likes and dislikes. Successful brands try to personalise everything.

The other key point that was discussed is that brands say that they ‘love‘ when we as users talk. The truth is that brands pretend to listen, that’s what most brands do, pretend to listen. Well it is time for change, people are catching on so don’t do it. Think about your campaign and listen carefully to what is being said.  Read Dale Carnegie book “How To Win Friends and Influence People” If you fail once with your campaign it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. EA-SPORT explained that they failed many times. The key point is we should learn from our mistakes and move on, embracing our failures as a learning experience. work EA-SPORTS showed us examples of magnificent videos that they created to launch new campaigns and promote them to their core fan base. We here at vivid network also create videos explaining to our clients that any video created should be outstanding, the quality, sound effects, images and designs should be WOW. Here is a video example that we saw:   Not to mention the FIFA2014 advert, which I’m a huge fan of: You might say that EA-SPORTS have millions to spend to create these videos, but trust me you can create wonderful videos with low budgets. For example we’ve done some brilliant work here at vivid network that did not cost our clients a fortune: Our Story: We have done over 70 videos and my point to you is that you can create high quality videos that do not cost an arm and a leg.

Don’t focus on everybody, but focus on who you should be talking to online. I hear clients saying all the time that everybody is our customer. Well that is a hard task to fill, no business can be everything to everyone. There is always a core target audience and good marketing research will result in a successful campaign. The below tweet says it all. Get influences, you can see the value of it. x1000 better than the traditional media! What are you waiting?

We also had a very good presentation by Oliver Snoddy (@olisnoddy ) he is head of planning @TwitterUk. He is the guru of presentations. It was amazing; no bullet points just a good story with examples of how brands use Twitter effectively. Speakers should take a leaf out of Oliver’s presentation,  it was ‘The Steve Jobs Way’, telling a story, simple and effective. The reason I mention this is because I was shocked when on the first day of the conference I saw two presentations with bullet points. I mean, really? They had knowledge, they had a lot to say but it is hard to pay attention when there are a lot of text and bullet points. No matter how good you are when there is no passion behind the drive your audience will get bored. Here is the famous most retweeted tweet:

The most amazing things get retweeted, remember that, people’s reactions get tweeted. When Andy Murray won Wimbledon there were 3.2 million tweets sent in 2 hours, simply astonishing. We all know whatever happens offline goes instantly online,  we have lived it and see it so many times.

There are 15 million UK users on @Twitter. I wonder, is your business engaging on twitter?

It is not just about being on twitter and tweeting three, four times per day. That’s called ‘push’ you push your information to consumers. People don’t like to be sold. I don’t anybody who came up to me and said ‘sell to me’. We have to engage, which is a cliché. But let me define: There are so many tweets that are tweeted by users using difference hashtags. Let’s take #hungry. People tweet that they are hungry. Restaurants should be on twitter suggesting what to eat, where to go, tweet healthy food and other exclusive content. For example now that I searched on twitter #hungry this ad came up by Subway UK & Ireland: Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 5.46.27 PM  That included this ad:

Creative or what? In my opinion the concept is. I was hungry and now I’m actually thinking of going to Subway, here in Harringay and grabbing myself a sandwich.  The breakfast ad is a bit irrelevant due to the time of the day (It is 21:40). But eventually we will get there

Oliver showed us an example of brands that integrated TV with Twitter and showed us that this action drives better results.

The last keynote presentation was by the amazing BJ Cunningham. I don’t even know where to begin; I think you can tell I was mesmerized by this guy





To close my opinion on iStrategy, I would like to say, anybody that is in Business/Marketing should defiantly visit iStrategy.  The whole experience is mind-blowing. The teams are always ready to help you, they are organised and passionate. You will get the opportunity to meet great people in the business world and connect with them.

Here is an addition, Oliver Snoody Presentation is here on YouTube:


You can stay engaged with iStrategy on Twitter using hashtag #iStrategy. Their official website and blog is here: If you want to view how iStrategy works, they have videos explaining here:

Again, thank you very much iStrategy it was a pleasure meeting all of you there!

P.S Thank you for following and engaging with me on twitter! 🙂 Stay in touch!

Thank you iStrategy team:



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