A few weeks ago myself, Ryan and Charlie attended the Sitecore Digital Trendspot Conference in London. After an early train from Manchester, we arrived in Islington ready for what would prove to be a thought provoking day.
The Theme of the conference was around Story Telling and we arrived to find Cinderella and Prince Charming near the entrance. The Conference centre was buzzing with people and after a quick look around we grabbed some refreshments and found our seats - as the opening talk was about to start.
After the introduction, the first speaker Anders Sorman-Nilsson took to the stage. With a captivating presence, he immediately grabbed the attention of everyone in the room. His keynote was called 'Digilogue: how to win the digital minds and analogue hearts of tomorrow’s customers'. His focus was on how customers now have increasingly digital, rational minds but it is still important to connect with the customers emotional (analogue) hearts and finding the convergence of the two. He told of his Mother’s Suit shop back home in Sweden, where she is failing to connect with the modern digital world and didn't think she needed to. Anders explained that she could still provide the service she always has but in a more far-reaching on-line way; and engage new buyers in the modern age. He also discussed the way in which innovations are causing digital disruption and that it is important to prepare to deal with change and plan for the future.
After some more refreshments (I think I'd eaten 3 Danish pastries by this point) it was time for a talk I was really looking forward to; Nathalie Nahai's presentation on 'The Psychology of Persuasive Storytelling'. Nathalie is a web psychologist and I was intrigued to understand what potential psychological techniques can be employed to encourage customers to buy. We learned that it is important to understand your customer and then tell a story that they can relate to. It is then key to engage them using a powerful emotion such as humour, love or nostalgia - the Dollar Shave Club Advert was a great example of Humour. Finally, tell the story using the 12 steps of the 'Hero's Journey' - a good analogy Nathalie used for this was Lord Of The Rings; where the hero goes outside of his comfort zone, battles against adversity and wins through at the end. You can find Nathalie's slides here, they are definitely worth a read: http://www.slideshare.net/nathalienahai/the-psychology-behind-persuasive-storytelling. Following Nathalie's presentation was a panel discussion and then a break for Lunch.
The Sitecore team had provided an excellent selection for Lunch - Charlie and Ryan both enjoyed the Monstrous Vegetable Lasagne and tasty Lemon Meringue Pie. There were a number of Stalls around the venue from various partners, so we took the opportunity to catch up with a few familiar faces and made our way back in to the conference hall for the afternoon presentations.
Monarch were first to give a presentation on their implementation. It was great to see how they pragmatically approached their roll-out of Sitecore by only implementing it on their homepage, flight booking and checkout pages to begin with, learning and iterating and only then looking at other sections of the site. This is often an approach we recommend to clients at Building Blocks. A 'live demo' of the Monarch site was given showing how the DMS is used to personalise the site search, price grids and adverts for specific customers. It was interesting to see some of the custom rules that have been set up.
Next up was a very interesting Talk by Manchester City on how they use Sitecore to Power their sites in Multiple languages and use it as a central hub to collate, publish and deliver MCFC content to their different sites and channels.
There was a break for some refreshments and networking and then we took our seats for the last time for the final talk by Dietmar Dahmen. No one wants to take the last spot on the bill as at this point people are usually flagging, however Dietmar's energy made it impossible to not be engaged and his presentation on 'Moving from Storytelling to Story Listening' was brilliantly entertaining. My key takeaway was the slide shown above about taking risks and not following others: 'Do what others will not do. Stay unhappy with your product/service & change'.
With the round of applause for Dietmar ringing in our ears, it was time for the Building Blocks team to head home. Along with the hoard of goodies we picked up, we were able to choose a free book from one of the speakers when leaving - I picked Nathalie's 'Webs Of Influence', and so far it's a good read.
All in all, it was a great day out for the Building Blocks Team to see how Sitecore has been implemented for other projects and how it is making it easier for clients to put the customer at the heart of the Story. We've certainly got some good ideas for how we can help our clients do this better in Future. We're already looking forward to next Sitecore Digital Trendspot.