Casey’s Boston storm

March 2014

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February 27

To begin where I last left off – the 2014 IPREX GLC Conference was due to begin, and amidst a snowstorm I might add.

Being a Kiwi girl from Auckland it will come as little surprise that I haven’t actually witnessed first hand the magic of light, fluffy snow appearing from seemingly thin air and dancing on the wind.

I have to admit, I was quite mesmerized and strolled along happily in the cold conditions, letting a thick blanket cover my shoulders and coat. At one point – without even realizing – I stopped and opened my mouth, out of some subconscious desire to catch one on my tongue (by this stage I looked a little deranged).

So there I was, the slightly odd foreigner choosing to walk openly in the snowstorm when something happened. The East Coast wind picked up. No matter how magical it is to have a soft fluffy snowflake land on your nose for the fist time, all the joy goes out the window when they start to pelt you in the eyes.

At this point I began to channel my inner Bostonian and scurried along to the hotel with haste – head down and arms tightly crossed to keep in the warmth and hide my fingertips.

After drying off (and defrosting) it was time to kick off the 2014 IPREX GLC. We headed down to the beautiful Legal Harbourside Waterfront restaurant, home to the best seafood in town I’m told (ironically I had the steak).

Starting with a bang we had the pleasure of hearing from Brian Kenny – CMO of Harvard University. What an insightful, witty and engaging speaker. He talked about the key themes communicators need to keep in mind when developing messages – two that really caught my attention were ‘ME’-ification and ‘YOU’-tility. He used these to describe the future consumer, noting we need to become more in tune to how they want to receive messages and what it is they actually want to hear – and what is it that we can offer them to meet their needs.

He also talked about the importance of humanizing your brand. For example: who are you more likely to trust on your doorstep; your next-door neighbour or the random guy in a suit with a large briefcase? The neighbour, right? (Assuming you don’t live next to a 40-something doll collector who only goes out at night and has a minivan).

99 per cent of the time you are going to trust who you can relate to and have a history with. It’s the same with brands. If you can’t relate on a personal, human level to the brand or product, why would you feel a connection to them?

Now, I’m getting a little carried away – I could sit here all night writing about Kenny’s different insights but I can’t reveal all the tales at once… and it’s 1am so I am fear I may be starting to ramble.

In conclusion – the food was sublime, the speaker fantastic and the company of the other attendees was exceptional. First day down and IPREX you have set a high standard!

Until next time, thanks for reading and try to avoid copping any stray snowflakes in the eye.