Google Think Quebec 2013 Highlights

Google hosted their second Think Quebec event last tuesday, a unique opportunity for us, digital marketers, to learn and be inspired by industry experts and local stories of success. The schedule had an exciting list of presenters that wowed the crowd. Here’s some highlights of the presenters’ speeches, along with some colorful quotes!

Brand + Performance = Glory, by Avinash Kaushik

“Digital is not a forgiving media, if you suck, you will die!”  – Avinash Kaushik

Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google Avinash Kaushik was the Key-note speaker of the event. His opening line was “Good Morning Toronto” which got some ironic yet shy laughs. He walked the audience through many examples of local companies that do not have an integrated marketing strategy for their traditional and digital channels yet. He explained how this has negative impacts for these brands and how they might be creating value to their competitors. He mentioned that consumers generally go through three stages of behaviour: see, think, and do. He stressed the importance of reaching customers at every stage with a specific message using a specific digital channel.

“Optimize for the journey, not for a one night stand!”  – Avinash Kaushik

Performance should be measured differently at every stage and brands should not just focus on the transaction (the “do” stage) because you cannot expect people to convert when they have never interacted (“see” and “think” stages) with your brands.

The first two stages are more for branding, while the final stage is performance related. He noted that performance should be measured in terms of assisted conversions, not as last click conversions. This is because Avinash also highlighted the importance of content and an engagement strategy to invite consumers to interact and stay in touch with brands before and after their performance interaction (sale). It’s important to measure performance in relation to all stages of a consumers’ behaviour.

He also reinforced the importance of mobile and how the time spent on mobile devices has continued to increase. Time spent in front of the TV has not been reduced, but there is a clear indication that time spent on mobile devices will surpass time spent on TV because consumers are using multiple screens simultaneously. He stated that one of the important reasons of doing mobile is that if you don’t, someone else will have control over your brand on mobile-optimized sites such as reviews sites and press articles.

We heard the phrase “mobile first, mobile always” quite a few times throughout the day – not just by Avinash.

Scientific Marketing: How the best marketers in the world win, by Nicolas Darveau-Garneau

The second speaker was Nicolas Darveau-Garneau, Head of Google Quebec, who showed us many great examples to improve performance by taking into consideration what has been already tested and proven to work around the world. A list of the strategies included: never stop testing, always be present, personalize, measure and create WOW Marketing campaigns. He stated something interesting that caught my attention about user behaviour in Quebec: YouTube is more frequently used by Quebecers than Americans (US) and it is something that should be taken advantage of.

Thriving in a new multi-screen world by Stéphane Gagné

Stéphane Gagné, Head of Industry Google at Google Quebec, presented the results of the 1st Google study ever conducted in Quebec about the multi-screen world. On average, Quebecers spend 6.1hrs per day on 4 different types of screens: tablets, desktop, TV and mobile. This study showed that a great percentage of Quebecers use devices singularly as well as simultaneously. An incredible 70% of Quebecers use a second device while watching TV*. This reinforced Avinash’s statement on the importance of aligning your traditional channel strategy with your digital one.

The morning presentations ended with a rounded table of 3 companies from different industries sharing their experience on how mobile and multi-screens have changed their marketing strategies. They advised to test and analyse different approaches, but to focus on the company’s objectives and not get distracted by the many opportunities available in the market. It was clear from their statements that the need to find a way of tracking performance across devices is increasingly important.

Media and marketing reinvented in a digital age, by Chris Arsenault

The afternoon presentations started with Chris Arsenault, Managing Partner at iNovia Capital, who was able to show us how the digital world has changed consumer behavior and the somber fact that companies who did not adapt to these digital changes are either dead or will be soon.

Owning the Brand, by Geoff Molson

One of the highlights of the afternoon was the presentation of the Montreal Canadiens. Who, with many examples, showed how they have been able to build their brand by always putting their “fan hats first” (quote from Geoff Molson). They continue to build their brand by making fans fall in love and continue to engage with the brand as “brand-lovers” – the kind of fan that will stick with the brand through good times and bad. Their work is an example of the fact that brands are driven by people, and brands no longer build brands, people do! They succeeded to make this brand an identity for Quebecers.

Building a consumer brand for the digital generation, by Hicham Ratnani

“It is kind of fun to do the impossible.”  – Walt Disney. Quoted by Hicham Ratnani

The mid-afternoon presentation was done by Hicham Ratnani, Co-Founder and COO at Frank & Oak. He showed how he built a brand by understanding his target consumer behavior and how digital marketing has helped him develop this brand by building a loyal community around it. What was even more amazing to hear was that this brand was only launched a year and a half ago.

The Digital Ambush, by Seth Barron

“TV ads should never be used on YouTube, TV ads are for TV.” – Seth Barron

Last, but not least, was Seth Barron, Zoo Head of Brand Innovations at Google. He succeeded at capturing the audience’s attention with inspiring stories of creative online development of brands. Brands should start by understanding the role they want to play in their consumer lives, because brands do not sell brands, people sell brands, and consumers just need a reason to believe in them.

Successful brands are constantly listening to their consumers, and if they want to build love, they will take consumers where they want to go and not disrupt them. This was confirmed by the Montreal Canadians and Frank & Oak who have successfully built a brand that embraces their consumers as a loyal community of fans.

If you want your brand to shine, not only in the digital realm, but globally, it is mandatory to have integrated marketing strategies to engage and capture consumers from the early stage and make them love your brand.