On September 21, Olson hosted the Silver Medal Awards, the annual AdFed kick-off event that makes many advertising professionals walk away with a renewed sense of motivation, and a few new people to admire in our community. This year was slightly different than years past in that it featured a speaker series entitled, “Brief but Brilliant.” This portion of the evening’s festivities challenged some of the smartest minds in Minneapolis advertising to speak about some hot topics in 5 minutes or less. Each of these speakers did an incredible job, and the audience left with a few golden nuggets in their pocket to inspire their work for the coming season.
The evening began with the Paul Foss award being presented to Erin Schwind, followed by the Silver Medal Award being presented to Sue Kruskopf, a Minneapolis Advertising staple. Kruskopf had some words of wisdom of her own to share with her onlookers. She noted that we, as marketers, need to be curious, always question and be fearless, but that often times the hardest thing in our business is finding a client that wants you to be fearless. On the flip side of fearlessness, she urged the audience to know when to keep their mouths shut. Learning to accept criticism as a good thing is critical, and often times “I don’t know,” and other humbling words mean the most. Failure is not fatal, and she argued that success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. As a veteran of this industry, she knows the benefit of being generous without any strings attached. The continuous generosity among members of this community opens up the possibilities of finding someone to admire. Sue described that her number one job, and the #1 job of all leaders, is to create a culture that people want to come into every day. After all, “culture is king and culture eats strategy for breakfast.” She noted that we need to go out and live life, because the best ideas and thoughts happen outside of the office.
In an attempt to follow suit with the night’s theme, here is a sample of the brief (but brilliant) takeaways from the speaker series:
Bob Ballard began the Brief but Brilliant series with his take on ideas transcending innovations. He said that the “magic formula” of a successful idea is that it has a belief at the core of its purpose, it is culturally relevant and it is repeatable.
Dan Hoedeman hit the audience with the idea that the “future of advertising is the past.” Our power as advertisers comes from our empathetic nature, our storytelling mindset and our ability to motivate. We need to think about what we can do that our clients cannot do alone. This means combining love and action. He ended by saying that “we will be saved by our ability to make people fall in love.”
Paul Schmidt discussed the B-side of innovation. He argued that the A-side is technology and being able to accomplish 1:1 marketing at scale, but the B-side is creativity and storytelling. The art of storytelling is the art of advertising. “The A-side is the hit, but the b-side is often where the magic is.” Some examples of “B-side” tracks? “I Am The Walrus,” “We Will Rock You,” and “Hound Dog.” Point made.
This event just keeps on getting better, year after year. Check out the photos on the Ad Fed Facebook page, 2017 Silver Medal Brief But Brilliant.
Thanks to Olson for hosting, and thank you to all of the speakers for parting some wisdom on the rest of us. I’m already looking forward to next year!