What I really took away from the 2019 Adobe Symposium

By Jacqui Gage-Brown, Jul 25 2019
4,000 people, a line-up of engaging speakers, free coffee and insights into the global domination of Adobe, HGB director Jacqui Gage-Brown reflects on the 2019 Adobe Symposium and shares her key takeaway points from the Sydney event.

The single biggest statement that clicked with me at the Adobe Symposium in Sydney, 2019, was there is no such thing as digital strategy, just strategy in a digital world.

So often a client can come and enquire about digital. Can you do digital? Should we be doing AdWords? What about social advertising?

The bigger question is, what are your business objectives and how can we develop a marketing strategy to hit these? Who are your buyer personas? And how can we best communicate with them? And then, yes, it is 2019 (and we do live in a digital world), so how can we maximise your ROI across your marketing mix?

Clear understanding of purpose

Ok, so it may feel like we harp on about this at HGB, and we do. But for good reason. At the Adobe Symposium in Sydney last month, the need for a clear understanding of purpose came through loud and clear. Because, if you don’t know who you are, how can others?

Embed this into everything you do. Adobe shared a (yes tear jerking) project of restoring water-damaged photos to hurricane victims. Staying true to their purpose, Adobe was challenging students “to make this mark on the world by using creativity for good”.

This purpose gives you clarity around messaging in the market but is a powerful transformation tool internally as well.

Delight or disappoint

As business owners, each day we have a choice to make. Are you going to choose to delight or disappoint? And this isn’t just directed at our clients.

Look internally, how about we give everyone in our organisation the job title of “Chief Role Model”? Let’s all be leaders. Let’s show each other what we can create and how we can collaborate and be innovative.

At HGB, we know first-hand there is a war for talent. We have poached staff (sorry about that) and we have had staff poached from us (damn!). But at the end of the day, we need to think differently to grow our amazing teams. We need to find opportunities and diversify our talent.

We need to focus on more than just salary. The values and culture that we develop should be something we are proud of, and I mean proud of. Are they values you want your family to live by? Because your team is like family (we often spend more time with them than we do with our family each day!).

Externally, with our clients, we need to reimagine the customer journey. It is about delivery of relevant and emotional experiences. Yes, the E word – emotion!

Positive experiences (that delighting moment) don’t happen by mistake. We need to orchestrate experiences where we can expect consistency and delight. By focusing on people, process and technology we can manage our customer experience across physical and digital spaces.

Remember, keep it relevant, foster emotion, and yes, this can be achieved through AI and automation. But it also requires a human to human (H2H) component.

The state of automation

Marketers and businesses need to know data. We need to be able to read statistics and trends, but then blend these with storytelling and emotion.

The Deloitte Digital team state “the future of work is human”. Yes, there is the automation of repetitive jobs, but anything less routine remains harder to automate (good to hear for those of us in the creative space).

Customer experience management (CXM) gives us real time data at our fingertips, and the ability to make decisions based on facts. The trick then is to encourage experimentation within our teams. We can respond to data quickly, execute with speed, and fail fast. Within our organisations, we need to build a culture that feels comfortable with testing and trying (and yes sometimes failing), removing that need for perfection every single time.

The F word

Yes, FEAR! Start being comfortable with being uncomfortable. What your marketing team did 24, 18 or 6 months ago might not be what is needed next week. Step outside your comfort zone, test, try, (fail) and try again. Things we are afraid of, we need to do.

We are in a time where our brands are shaped by our customers, with us being the brand stewards.

So, set yourself a 24/7/1 plan and act. How does 24/7/1 work? Just ask Ann. She has come away from the conference and did the following:

24 – commit to one action in the next 24 hrs (Ann emailed her supervisor at the University of Waikato regarding her thesis for her masters)

7 – bigger action within 7 days (she met with her supervisor to plan her topic)

1 – whole month to make it happen (she will be enrolled to tackle this project for B Semester!)

Side note: Adobe Symposium 2019 saw four members of the HGB crew take flight to Sydney, Australia. Our senior designer Katrina Wilson took to the creative streams, while marketing consultant Ann Graham represented us at the content sessions. Jacqui Gage-Brown and Kylie Harcourt spread out to cover enterprise, business and the future of marketing streams.

Side, side note: Ann and Jacqui did leave early to go for a run around Darling Harbour.

Side, side, side note: Jacqui and Kylie also found a CrossFit gym to give Jacqui her daily fix 😊

Food side note: Have to say I was won over on the food side of the Adobe Symposium. Tasty and healthy breakfasts, snacks and lunches were a highlight along with the continuous supply of various hot drinks (full credit to the team having multiple milk options available too!), coupled with a fresh fruit stand – great job Adobe!

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