#FUSE15 Day 2 Recap: Morgan Spurlock, Field Trips, & More

Sentient Decision Science, Inc.

Day one of #FUSE15 was a tough act to follow. But with speakers like Morgan Spurlock and Michael J. Fanuele, it’s not hard to see why day two’s sessions had such an impact. Here’s a brief overview of the those we were able to attend.

Brand New: How a Complete Business Transformation Changed Creativity at Kraft

Peter Borowski, Head of Design at Kraft, started Tuesday’s sessions with an overview of Kraft’s creative transformation. He discussed the various creative branding choices Kraft has implemented in recent years, and explained how they reflect who Kraft is and how they want to be perceived.

But perhaps Borowski’s most salient point was the importance of workplace design for inspiring employees and influencing potential clients. This tweet from @TBPresearch sums up his message perfectly:

Design of the campus/organization can have a huge influence on the way it’s perceived, and workplace design plays a role in influencing and shaping employee behavior.

Finding Originality & Achieving Social Impact

CNN’s Morgan Spurlock blew us away with his session on achieving social impact through the production and distribution of original content.

Using clips from his films like Supersize Me, We The Economy, and Smartish, Spurlock demonstrated the power of sharing human-focused content to drive change. Then he outlined a few steps for making it happen:

  • Be ready and willing to take criticism.
  • Surround yourself with people who will fight for your ideas.
  • Have persistence of vision (Spurlock’s family told him Supersize Me was a stupid, pointless idea).
  • Don’t try to plan for change. Plan instead for impact and how you hope to affect change.
  • Make your message as acceptable as possible. Don’t gate your content.
  • Create emotional connections in ways your audience hasn’t experienced before.
  • Own your derivative space and own your derivative impact.
  • Take your brand equity and align it with innovative change-makers (this is the point in the session where Spurlock made everyone cry with the short, GE Focus Forward film about curing childhood leukemia).
  • Coordinate with distributors and don’t be afraid of branded content.
  • Get it to your audience!

He closed with the notion that finding an original idea is only the beginning. Getting it into the hands, hearts and minds of your audience is the greatest accomplishment.

The Next Coming of China: The Emerging Consumer Culture

Dr. Keyu Jin, Lecturer in Economics at the London School of Business, discussed the current and future consumer culture of China and the challenges China will face as it continues to become a global player; which are less economic, she says, and more social.

Much of her session focused on many of the unintended consequences (both positive and negative) of China’s one child policy. On the positive side, the one child policy has created a “super generation of highly educated children,” translating to extremely high human capital and labor productivity.

The one child policy also helped influence the extremely high savings rate of the Chinese compared with Western nations. Due to the consequent gender imbalance of the one child policy, parents of male children must mobilize all their efforts in order to ensure that their son will make a desirable partner. This concept deeply affects consumer spending.

On the social side however, Jin noted the challenges that this emerging China must face. The destruction of meritocracy, erosion of Confucian values, and the disruption of the social fabric that resulted from the cultural revolution have resulted in a lack of a common moral code.

So what does China need that they can’t produce themselves? Technology, know-how, organizational infrastructure and intellectual property rights. She also noted the rise of “services.” As China grows, people will shift from consuming just goods to also consuming services.

Other Day 2 Highlights

Field Trip: Moving Beyond Insights into Action

We enjoyed attending Webb deVlam’s gorgeous research lab, R5, where we discussed emerging trends in the male grooming industry, then watched a focus group of local millenials describe both their favorite products, and the ones they couldn’t live without. Notably, those categories differed greatly.

Inspiration From the World of Rock & Roll: Creating Marketing That Moves

Michael J. Fanuele, Chief Creative Officer General Mills, hates Bono. Or at least, he used to. But after reluctantly attending a U2 concert for a bachelor party, Fanuele came to see the international man of wonder and U2 frontman as a source of inspiration for real change.

Fanuele used Bono’s example to challenge brands to think beyond small, contained goals like increasing revenue 5% or breaking ground in a new market, positing that, by thinking bigger, brands can be a real source of inspiration and social change.

How to get there? Ask yourself not “why does this brand exist in the marketplace, but rather, why does this brand exist in the world.” Then work to embody that spirit. In the words of Bono, “You put on the leather pants and the pants start telling you what to do.”

And of course we couldn’t resist this notion, perfectly summed up in the tweet below.

Finally, R5’s cocktail reception was off-the-charts fun, beautiful, posh, and inspiring: the perfect end to an insights-packed day.

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