Brooke Vines (pictured above right) and Touseef Mirza (left) met at a marketing conference in 2015. To hear it from them, both women knew that something was off -- the conference felt very technical, confusing and not particularly compelling. "The presenters that year seemed focused mostly on techno-babble and certain key issues in digital were not being addressed such as transparency, silos in the full-service agency, etc.," said Mirza. In speaking with other attendees, they realized they weren't the only ones with this viewpoint. Consequently, they started to explore ways to bring a human perspective back into the conversation of digital marketing.
A year later, at Advertising Week NYC 2016, Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB, cemented the direction of their vision when he said during his presentation: "No matter how advertising changes, human nature remains timeless." That became a light bulb moment that brought clarity to their mission and inspired them to create a conference that they would want to attend -- one with a focus on true human connection in the digital age.
One year later, the women launched the CoreConnect Conference in Little Rock -- and sold every ticket. They're hoping for the same results with their second conference, this time in New York City on May 16, 2018.
The premise of their conference is that a comprehensive and human approach creates impact. That's accomplished first by connecting with ourselves to lead effectively, then by building strong, harmonious creative teams, and, finally, by influencing audiences in an authentic way. The content at CoreConnect is aimed at bringing guidance and insights on making confident marketing decisions in an overwhelming and ever-changing digital world. Clearly, with such industry bold face names enrolled to speak as Reinhard, who they secured as keynoter, as well as Janneke Van Geuns, Google's Head of Insights & Analytics; Shareablee CEO Tania Yuki; VaynerMedia's Chief Heart Officer Claude Silver; and Debbie Millman, the Chair of Masters in Branding at New York City's School of Visual Arts, this is a theme that resonates.
Explaining the need and the resulting conference, Mirza said: "We live in a time of marvel and opportunity in digital communications. However, over the past few years marketers have placed tremendous focus on digital outputs and less on the human element. I heard this so many times in meetings: "Let's do strategy X on platform A, strategy Y on platform B ... and so what do we want to say?" It was puzzling to me how my peers and clients where so obsessed by the shiny new toys of digital and technology vs the essence of connecting the idea or message with people. Something felt off; it was backwards. Not only was the primary focus on the wrong place, this was also causing a lot of confusion and stress for the people making these decisions.
"Brooke Vines and I wanted to address this new world of digital confusion full of inexplicable buzz words --and bring it back to a human level. It became clear to me that you need to figure out what you want to communicate that will resonate with your audience first, and then choose the digital platform that can best leverage your message as well as reach your audience," Mirza continued. "Technology is not going to solve all your problems. We were contemplating creating a space to have this conversation with leaders and professionals of the field ... but wondered was our idea even valid?
"Almost two years ago, everything came together. Brooke and I heard the legendary Keith Reinhard from DDB say to a crowd of advertising professionals: 'If you think you are confused and frustrated now with digital ... wait until 10 to 15 years. It's just going to get worse. But, human nature is timeless.' Boom! He cemented our philosophy with such clarity. Thank you, Keith! From that point on, we had the confidence to stand by our belief system and design an event evangelizing the importance of integrating the human aspect into technology. The CoreConnect Conference was born.
"At the end of the day, we remain human beings with genuine human needs, even in the digital age. The only way to thrive is to reclaim our humanity first and then use technology to amplify our creations.
"And to have Reinhard as our conference keynoter? We made it full circle!"
Brooke Vines is co-founder of CoreConnect and owner/founder of Vines Media. Touseef Mirza is co-founder of CoreConnect, an adjunct professor at New York University and a consultant with Touseef Mirza Consulting. Click here for more information on CoreConnect,.
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