Despite All of the Tech, Data and Buzzwords, H2H is How Business is Done

After shaking off the late night reggae rhythms of the Wailers and the slow traffic that happens when 64 new people are added by move or by birth every day to Raleigh / Wake County, I walked into the buzzing of day two of the annual Internet Summit. And once again, I was impressed by the smart people that are moving to North Carolina. I am fascinated by brain gain as I work on this issue in Wilmington, NC.

These two days were overloaded with buzzwords and acronyms like B2B, B2C, but the brilliant Melanie Spring of Sisarina nailed the most important theme, H2H or Human to Human. We are still humans as these automation robots start to take over more of our lives. And humans still buy through emotion. (If you are putting on this kind of event, you should call / email / tweet / text or send a drone to her first and go from there to build a meaningful event.)

Smart People have been moving to work in North Carolina for 50 years

I was instantly impressed by two guys from Raleigh based Bandwidth.com, with a session on branding called “Your product is Your Brand. Your Brand is a Product. “ And they are not a brand agency or maybe they would be called bRandwidth.com. No, they work in the telecom industry. They had the most informative slide of the day on the ABC’s of Brand Maturity. The most memorable quote of the session was “Your brand is what others say it is, influence what they say.”

What would the dog do if it ever caught that big bus he has been chasing?

Ok, I might not have been the most appropriate person from Wilmington, North Carolina to be at this Morgan Spurlock keynote given our struggling film industry. Spurlock has been in the public eye as a filmmaker for over a decade. The audience was very excited and inspired by his appearance at the event as Twitter exploded at #ISUM16.

Spurlock had dreamed of presenting a film at Sundance Film Festival. After his film SuperSize Me premiered and he was walking around, a well known journalist pulled him aside and said “What is it like to be the Belle of the Ball?”

It had not yet fully occurred to Spurlock that his film had become the buzz of the high profile film festival. But what to do with that new opportunity in the spotlight? Spurlock advised the audience to have a plan for impact before you get the huge opportunity. Have a plan if things go great and / or if things go horribly wrong like if the film had been booed at this film festival.

Spurlock gave the audience three pieces of important advice. First, “Don’t be afraid to do things other people think is crazy.” Next, keep in mind, no one wants to be your first client, everyone wants to be the 2nd client and nobody wants to be the last person to sign up. (FOMO) And finally, “the more risks you take, the less risky things become.”

Truth is, Spurlock and his firm Focus Forward Films have been doing amazing things since the SuperSize Me film. He has worked with General Electric, Toyota and much more including WeTheEconomy.com with Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.

What if a company is so confident about their brand, they want to CHOOSE YOU?

In my favorite session of the day, Melanie Spring gave an upbeat and colorful presentation in a room full of people wearing black. Again, I would HIGHLY suggest you hire her for your next conference. (I had never met her before this event, just a new fan.)

“Stop Selling. Build a Club” was a great presentation starting with the emotions behind the feeling of belonging to a cool club. Ok, I am never going to get on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. But we all have seen them give the low five sign to other people on Harleys like they are the cool kids club.

Spring told the story of how she became a Mini Cooper owner and how she cried when she damaged the car on a drive due to pothole because the Mini is lower than her previous car. Her previous car was a Honda that she loved because of the reliability, but did not really have a pride in being a Honda owner. ( I know the feeling after being a proud past owner of an Audi wagon.)

Why, oh why do you create friction between you and your prospects and clients?

Michael Barber of Barber and Hewitt and is an Internet Summit regular as an expert speaker. He gave examples of these ways that people who create barriers that prevent more business with their prospects. And of course some great examples by Southwest Airlines on how they do things right.

He gave examples of the 5 C’s of removing friction. The most important are Convenient and Connected. The best example was Lowe’s Home Improvement. Lowe’s has a mobile device shopping app that shows a map where your desired product is physically located within the HUGE warehouse store.

Beetlejuice works for AOL

Ok, maybe I am just jealous as a newly bald man.

The Digital Prophet for AOL, david shing, has a unique fashion style and that is an understatement. Imagine if Kanye meets Jackson Pollock meets Beetlejuice with an Australian accent. But you only care about his content of course.

He mostly shared pictures of where the technology is heading. The most shocking picture was a flock of drones with marketing messages flying over the road full of cars.

Shing maybe had the most memorable line of the two day event, if not for your business life, maybe more for your social (media) life — “If you follow all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.”

In my experience as a bootstrapping pioneer in the startup world, sometimes there are no rules.

See Jim’s Day 1 recap: Making Social Media Conference More Social IRL.


Article originally published at StartupSoutherner.com