Notable Top 11 Future Flash Takeaways

Future Flash 2011 has come and gone, and in its wake resides a mass of intriguing concepts. The two-day conference – organized by the Institute of Communication Agencies – brought together thought leaders in the communications and advertising industry to share the latest rumblings from campaigns and innovations. These conversation-inducing developments are laying the foundations today for the digital marketing world of tomorrow. Picturesque Collingwood, Ontario provided an appropriately scenic backdrop for what would become the theme of the conference: story-telling.

Future Flash 2011 began with a networking lunch generously hosted by The Globe and Mail, where some of the most notable industry players chatted about the conference to come. The lineup of speakers was robust, including Paul Kemp Robertson (Co-Founder and Editorial Director for Contagious Magazine), David Lee (Digital Executive Creative Director at TBWA/Worldwide and Co-Founder of Projeqt), Gareth Kay (Director of Brand Strategy at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners), Ty Montague (Co-Founder of co: collective, a Brand Innovation Studio), Noah Brier (Co-Founder and CEO of, Charlie Todd (Founder of Improv Everywhere), Nick Broomfield (a Director and Partner at The Customer Framework), and Asif Khan (Founder and President of LBMA). Notable was front-seat as great minds, propelled by innovative ideas, imbued conference-goers with confidently-infinite concepts tinged with passion. We’ve distilled the important points that, though presented in relation to the advertising and marketing communications world, have direct correlation to young professionals’ jobs across many industries. These thoughts, theories, and ideas are all from the speakers mentioned above. Read on for the Notable Top 11 Future Flash Takeaways.

1 ) Canada is the second leading nation in intellectual capital and innovation. This means we’re on the forefront of the next wave of inventive ideas. Connect with and learn from as many of our talented collective as possible.

2 ) The S&P 500 – Standard and Poor’s Stock Index which is regarded as the best single gauge of the US equities market – shows the life expectancy of a brand is 15 years, which means, theoretically, most of the stocks that will be showing in 2026 are unknown. This presents a massive opportunity for young professionals to either start their own company or work within their current one to become an exception to this rule. Lead the way by extending a brand’s “shelf life.”

3 ) The increase in Canadians downloading/streaming television shows is more than 15 per cent over last year. This is a trend that will see continual growth and permeate other areas of entertainment as technological advances improve usage – providing the potential of usage-based billing doesn’t hinder this trend.

4 ) Don’t underestimate the power of a good story. Ebay has reported significant increases in the final sale costs of items when coupled with a well-spun yarn. DeBeers’ famous Right-Hand Ring Campaign – which saw slogans such as: “Your left hand says we. Your right hand says me. Your left hand rocks the cradle. Your right hand rules the world.” – indoctrinated a generation of power women, leading to increased sales and company exposure. A finely-weaved tale often enjoys powerful pass-around.

5 ) Noah Brier, the co-founder and CEO of Percolate – a company still in development; it aims to find better ways of connecting people with valuable and individualized content using the power of algorithms with human editors – and former executive director of strategy at The Barbarian Group, presented the idea of “stock and flow.” If stock is content, then flow is the conversation surrounding and the dissemination of that content. While stock is (to a degree) finite, flow is infinite, and should be tantamount to content creators.

6 ) Asif Khan, founder and president of the LBMA (Location Based Marketing Agency), argued that in time, all marketing will become location-based at least to some degree, and with this realization companies can begin to take advantage of what will be an immensely effective marketing channel.

7 ) People, especially savvy, young professionals, don’t mind being advertised to…no, really. We understand that amazing things can come from brands and brand alignments, but they must be relevant. This newfound acceptance by smart, young people means that brands are being granted unprecedented access to presenting their message. Look at the launch of Jay-Z’s book, Decoded, conceived by creative marketing agency Droga5 and implemented using Microsoft’s Bing search engine. It gave gave die-hard fans a portal into an interactive, gamified launch, where pages from the book were blown up and strategically adorned different buildings, cars, and the like in targeted areas. The message resounded clearly, but its implementation is what drove that viral allowance.

8 ) Gareth Kay, who runs the Brand Strategy department of Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, spoke about a big problem: thinking big. Often, thinking small can actually achieve greater solutions, and sometimes big thinking to tackle big problems leads to other big problems. Small thinking…what a big idea…

9 ) The future of organizations is leading to a structure more akin to a “team sport” mentality. Multi-level conglomerate businesses are on the decline, paving the way for smaller, more horizontally-structured organizations with even playing fields to ascend. The future is about interactions, not transactions.

10 ) There is right now a massive opportunity to leverage social media effectively that will provide impressive ROI. Unfortunately, because it is still in its infancy, most brands are ineffectual in their execution. Freebies and giveaways are not the key to building true brand ambassadors.

Finally, and arguably most importantly…

11 ) Any advertisement and message needs to be useful, relevant, and entertaining in order to succeed.