5 things I learned at High Five 2019
The High Five Conference, now in its 6th year, came to downtown Raleigh on Monday and Tuesday this week. At High Five, hosted by the Triangle AMA, marketing and creative teams from all over the Triangle area come together to network and learn from each other. During this year’s conference, 5 key themes emerged:
1. Everyone is Creative.
Perhaps the single most resonating message that permeated the entire High Five conference in 2019 is that everyone has the capacity to be creative. As Mihali Stavlas and Aaron Templer said in their session “Leading the Creative Mind” on Monday, “Creativity isn’t talent, it’s a lifestyle”. They emphasized that creativity needs to be fostered and given a nurturing environment, but that it is not the singular domain of some mystical creative personality type.
Similarly, keynote speaker Tim Allen, Director of Design at Microsoft, shared that while we are all born geniuses, those of us that work as designers in specifically creative roles have the responsibility to use their “magic telescope” to practice inclusive design.
2. The creative team must be a strategic partner to their business.
Its clear that creatives are dealing with larger workloads than they ever have before. Taylor Cashdan shared during his session “From Morning Coffee To The Cardiac Wing” that 71% of creatives report being responsible for 10x more content than 5 years ago. This can lead to stress and burnout for creatives, and it also reduces the amount of actual creativity taking place.
As Eddie Opara highlighted in his keynote “The Evolution Of A Graphic Designer’s Language”, the creative process is becoming increasingly boiled down, replacing true design thinking with increasingly bland design choices. This issue of “bland over brand” represents the treatment of creatives as production machines, rather than strategic partners.
Alex Withers, CMO of inMotionNow and Ed Roberts, a Global Brand & Creative Strategist, agree with Eddie. As they discussed in their session, “A Meeting of the Minds: Bringing Marketing and Creative Teams Closer”, the primary cause of friction between marketing and creative teams is when marketing teams do not treat their in-house creative teams has a strategic partner. “You can’t just bold on a creative team and expect miracles” Alex said during the session.
3. We should all take a break from social media.
Its not news that social media can be a huge source of stress. However, several speakers at High Five pointed out specific ways it harms us all, and suggested decreasing our use or going on a hiatus to refresh ourselves and preserve our mental and physical health. Amber Naslund, Senior Content Marketing Evangelist at LinkedIn pointed out that social media is one of the biggest factors that cause Imposter Syndrome, a psychological phenomenon that results when we fear that we are not actually deserving of our accomplishments. Amber suggests clearing out your social media to only follow positive people and accounts, or to even take 30 days away to reset.
Taylor Cashdan echos this sentiment, suggesting that eliminating negative influences from all areas of your life, including social media, will help you destress.
4. Diversity is a crucial element to the future of design.
Tim Allen’s keynote “The Beauty of Promise and the Power of Delivery” focused on the importance of inclusivity in design, and showcased the consequences of a world built by “homogeneous designers in a homogeneous environment”. By showcasing a humorous example of his grandmother not being understood by Amazon’s AI, Alexa, because she spoke a “non-standard” version of English, and an emotional example of how children with certain disabilities were not able to play video games with their friends, he highlighted how important diversity is in design.
5. We must build an authentic brand in order to connect to our customers.
2 speakers at High Five this year spoke about the importance of brand. During her session, “Your Brand is Your Currency”, Elise Russell spoke about the importance of continuously chipping away at your brand, building a little each day persistently.
Daniel Lemin also shared some key ways that marketers can build their brand to leverage the most effective type of marketing: word of mouth. Even though this is a notoriously difficult strategy to manage, in his session “Talk Triggers”, Daniel highlighted 4 requirements for a word of mouth strategy:
- Must be remarkable
- Must be repeatable
- Must be reasonable
- Must be relevant
High Five 2019 is a wonderful opportunity for marketers and creatives in the Triangle area to meet, network and learn. High Five 2019 was all about bring creative and marketing teams closer together to form strategic partnerships that make a big impact on our businesses and the world around us.
To learn more about how creative and marketing teams can form more strategic partnerships, download the 2019 In-House Creative Management Report.