iMedia Summit

Yesterday evening I got back from the iMedia Summit at Sopwell House. It was an interesting event – the most interesting speech by far was by a non-advertising person – Hamish McRae, giving an inspired 45 minute talk about the state of the world economy, and – just perhaps – how it might impact us as communicators.

The reason I think this was the most interesting was because it was from a non-industry person. Conferences have a habit of becoming a bit of a navel-gazing marathon – either too self-congratulatory, or too self-damning – either way, there’s a lot of “self” involved. It was really refreshing to hear from someone outside of the industry with information that was fascinatingly interesting and very, very useful.

Hearing Johnny Vulkan from Anomaly was also interesting – what he and the other partners at Anomaly have done is create an entirely new business model for agencies. Anomaly is described by Ignacio Oreamuno as

Anomaly is not driven to make ads, it is driven to solve business problems.

(full write up here)

What is so interesting is that this has forced them to work out new remuneration models for their business. Sometimes they work on a standard agency fee, but more and more they’re getting paid by taking royalties in the sales of the products they help create, even launching their own products under their own IP.

Can you imagine the extra drive and passion you’d feel if you were directly tied into a product’s success? How much more of a partnership you’d feel with your clients. I think this is probably the agency business model of the future, where agencies tie themselves into to the absolute success of their clients’ projects, taking their fee as profits based on these successes.

Brief moment of self-congratulatory ego-boosting: I was asked to give one of the opening 5 minute speeches. Inspired by a recent Cory Doctorow post on Boing Boing, I briefly, and I think rather nervously, discussed the idea of the Conversation as King, and what this meant for agencies and brands (I’ll get round to writing the whole thing up and posting it at some point). What was pleasing was that “conversation” was a recurring theme of the 3 days, with many other people discussing similar themes. In general, that was probably one of the best things about the conference – to hear from and talk to a lot of people with similar theories, and to feel that perhaps we’re all moving in the same direction.

Having said that, as Russell Davies said in the funniest talk of the conference by far, “If you haven’t changed already, you’re not going to now”. So maybe it was just a bunch of navel-gazing after all ;-)