WOMMA Summit 2011 Keynotes

It has taken the whole weekend to completely digest all the amazing learnings we gathered last week at the WOMMA summit. The WOMMA tagline is “Creating Talkable Brands Next and Best Practices” and they totally delivered. Great learnings from great brands like Mattel, Sprint, Intel, Unilever and Sephora just to name a few. But the most talked about sessions were definitely the keynote addresses that carried four themes that will help us navigate the social media industry over the next year.


The summit opened with Sally Hogshead teaching us all what it means to Fascinate, the theme of her recently released book of the same name. One key theme was how brands need to stand out in our cluttered and noisy world. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best, if no one knows about it. And with an average attention span of only nine seconds, consumers will remember the brands that persuade them in the most social ways. The brands with the best word of mouth reputations will stand out and others will fade into the background. Later in the conference, there was a panel discussion of legal counsel from Coca-Cola and American Express, and I was reminded that both of those brands have been able to stand out with plenty of reason to be risk averse.

Simon Mainwaring‘s keynote on Thursday focused on how brands can stand out by partnering with causes to align with the idea of “contributory consumption.” He showed examples from both large and small companies who have embraced this idea to win over consumers and generate positive social media mentions. His “We First” mantra suggests that brands and consumers will use social technology to created shared positive change. So it’s not just a donation to a cause, it’s how you tell people about the donation you’ve made. This brought to mind Games that Give from the Vitrue Facebook platform that rewards consumers for engaging with the brand.

Another highlight was the Thursday evening keynote from the leaders of the NFL Players Association as they demonstrated exactly how social media saved them during the lockout negotiations earlier this year. When you’re up against giant media conglomerates that favor the opposition’s message, you have to look for other ways of telling your story. It was a great study on mobilizing a base to get the right message out there, and it demonstrated the power of social media for one of the country’s largest brands.

The grand finale on Friday morning did not disappoint as our own Virginia Miracle moderated a discussion about measuring online influence. With experts from Keller-Fay, Klout and the Dachis Group, the discussion was passionate and not always agreeable. The difference between advocates and influencers was a key theme, and ultimately, activating advocates to become influencers by using selected tools (or programs) brought agreement. Those influencers can help a brand stand out, and maybe even fascinate, and ultimately drive business through social channels.