I'm back from my first CES and besides the side effects of acute lack of sleep and the looooong road to recovery ahead, the buzzing in my head is the best kind possible.
If you've been following my blog or my tweets, you'll know that I went to CES as Panasonic's guest, but also as their partner. With regards to the former, I had the pleasure of participating in a Spotlight presentation to talk about the future of Web Marketing. With regards to the latter, my company - crayon - worked with Panasonic to bring along a diverse and talented group of individuals to the show.
Going into the show, one might have referred to them as blogger, podcasters, vloggers, content creators, or even the slightly cruder but industry appropriate, influencers. However, having been a part of the experience, I would most certainly replace all of those terms with these descriptors: Humans, consumers, customers, Moms and Dads.
(photo courtesy of Steve Garfield of SteveGarfield.com)
Pansonic's whole positioning centers around the harmonious balance and interconnectedness between technology and humanity (ideas from life; ideas for life) and no where was this more prevalent than at CES.
If you think about it, every day we are forced to be schizophrenic - separating our personal lives from our professional lives. In business, we fight every day for integration - but what is integration really? Is it print, TV and online playing nice with one another? Or is it something a lot more profound, namely the ability to join forces with our customers - as partners; the gift of being able to participate in their lives and communities (and to be welcome); the propensity to engage in meaty, healthy discourse and dialogue with them?
...'er yes. That's it. That's what Living in High Definition is all about.
For me, the highlights (if video isn't available yet, it soon will be) of CES and this program were plentiful. They included (from the sublime to the ridiculous):
- Making 6 new friends (or extending existing friendships) in the form of Chris, Steve, Stacy, Ponzi, Melissa and Vicki and in particular the time when we sat down and talked about this experience together. It's not often you'll get to see video like this that gives you a look inside the Kimono, but then again, there was pretty much no restriction in terms of what was on and off the record. All I can tell you is that this was 100% unprepared and unscripted...and there was some additional conversation once the camera was turned off (not intentionally) that I will remember for the rest of my life.
- Meeting the Calandro's (yeah, thanks for that!) and the Pollak's
- The dinner we had with the 6, together with our Panasonic clients - and in particular the moment when we got to share birthday cake with 6-year old Matthew Calandro. This is probably one of the seminal moments in my career....where everything I wrote in "Join the Conversation" came to fruition. Indeed, marketing can be a conversation. I saw it with my own two eyes. Cluetrain was wrong, only limiting this to markets. We - the marketers - are as much a part of the equation as our customers are.
- The time we spent with Panasonic North America's Chairman, Yoshi Yamada. There will be some video of this soon to share. Mr Yamada was amazing...his empathy, genuine interest and care is something that you just can't fake.
- My spotlight presentation
- Meeting Tom Dickson, CEO of Blendtec and the face behind, "Will it Blend?"
- Meeting Mario (of the Mario + Luigi duo) and coming back to a framed photo of us in my son's room
- Meeting Philip Scoble. It's a long story :)
I'm very honored that people are embracing this program so much. Brian Morrissey wrote this piece in Adweek, although I'm not sure I agree with him that this is "Advertorial 2.0." The content creation component was just one aspect of this program and I'm pretty certain that everyone who participated - directly or indirectly would vehemently agree that - even with a 2.0 slapped on it - the crude description of advertorial doesn't come close to capturing the genuine emotion and relationship component associated with this effort.