Good to see a few fellow socials at the PSFK conference in London last week including Flo from Dare and Johnny from Anomaly (both on panels). Fair to say that the half day I managed to make was extremely inspirational. Highlights included Iain (from Poke)’s ‘Ten Reasons Why Digital is Better than Advertising’ (post to follow), Hugh Macleod’s case study on how he has managed to increase sales in Stormhoek from 50,000 cases a year to 280,000 (forecast for 2007) through targeting bloggers and geeks (extract of presentation above) and Dan Hon from Mind Candy blowing our minds with what is happening in the world of APGs.

The thing I could not help by notice is how few people from traditional agencies were there (something that I also noticed when I was at Future Marketing Summit and PSFK in New York earlier in the year). If digital is so important to them, why are they not at these events? This was echoed by the final panel who then enjoyed a little BDA bashing (Big Dumb Agencies as defined by George Parker of Adscam).

However they also had some really constructive points especially in relation to how marketing used to bring thought leadership to business but now business is looking at designers and technologists for this thought leadership. Their view was agencies need to stop focusing on ideas and brands. Ideas are really easy to have, the execution is the hard bit (something traditional agencies are still struggling with on the digital side altthough there are exceptions e.g. Goodby). In relation to branding, we need to start focusing on the product, the company and the reputation rather than the talking about the brand (as this will be earnt from these core areas). It is no longer enough to try and build a brand through marketing alone – if the company does not live its values, it will be found out.

The conference was nicely closed by Johnny who echoed the sentiment from a previous panel that we all need to ‘be good’ which means we need to get in the business of making our clients better. Hoping to hear more on this from Johnny. Johnny?