Today’s guest is Jens Mayer from Germany. Jens works as a managing director at a brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide and he has 20+ years of in brand experience. His passion is to tie together events and digital technology.
In this episode, we talk about brand experience principles, content marketing creation and promotion, event organizing, creativity and personal success.
This episode is sponsored by “Baltic For Events Forum“, which is the first forum that unites under one roof event professionals from the Baltic States as well as from Northern and Western Europe. Our guest, Jens Mayer, was a special guest on that event.
Let’s jump into the topic. In your opinion, what are the most important brand experience principles?
First of all, if we talk about brand experience, it’s about the user. The human being is in the center of that and that should always be considered in whatever you do around that. We found out there is a couple of guidelines, a couple of experience principles that we always like to apply and that we found out are very helpful.
For us, the most important one is “be human”. Design your experiences around the way that they are really human and that they touch human. The second one is “invite participation”. Make it in the way that people share it and take a part in it. Then there’s “be useful” – design stuff that’s useful for the people, design stuff that has a value for the people. Finally, “build a community around you”.
What do you mean by building a community?
By building a community I mean designing an event that applies to a group of people. You know, people wanna take part of it, people wanna be sharing it and people feel that they’re a part of something.
How to create really useful content, when “the amazing” is the new normal?
The amazing is the new normal, that’s for sure and that’s one of our agency’s principles as well. You need to be extraordinary to stick out in this world, where everything is available instantly on your touchscreen. There’s a lot of content! But on the other hand, we found out that in this world where traditional channels are completely declining and where online is heavily disrupted by ad blocking, by search and so on, content really outperforms in terms of engaging people and in terms of reaching people.
So, it’s still a great tool and we as experience agencies or event agencies, for example, we always have been very good at producing killer content. And in our opinion, we really need to look into how we can use this amazing content, how we can make sure that we make it shareable and how we can distribute it through other channels. We go beyond this magic moment where we all got together in one place and had face to face talk. So, how can we make this content live longer. As you do right now! I mean, we’re having a face to face talk, talking about content and creating content. You record it and try to give it an extended lifetime so, it’s longer out there and reaches more people than just two people standing behind the camera.
What type of content is working the best? Is it text, is it video, is it photo, is it something else?
It’s hard to say. It’s depending on what you’re looking for, to what level of details, to what level of complexity the content is. So, written content can still work. But, if you look into generations that follow and the way they consume media, I still believe moving image is one of the content elements.
What are the best channels from your experience to advertise and promote content?
Again, obviously the whole online world… It’s such a general question and it depends on the content. For example, Instagram is an amazing channel for still images. We figured out that when we want to promote specific and very unique information, it even works on company’s website. Because for certain content people don’t care where to find it because it’s a very specific topic. So, it’s depending clearly in which direction you go.
Do you measure your campaigns?
Yes, we do measure our campaigns. We try to set up the strategy right at the beginning. We look into what we wanna achieve, what are the ROI’s and the KPI’s.
You’re organizing big events. Can you tell me the biggest event that you have organized?
As an agency the biggest event we have organized was the opening ceremony of the Olympics. We did it twice. So, in terms of scale, it’s the biggest you can do in our industry.
We do tons of large industry events. We do IT conferences, where 20 000 people are attending. We do car launches.
I can’t imagine organizing the opening of the Olympics.
Obviously, there’s a handful of people out there who are capable of managing these projects. Funnily, three agencies are here right now (at Baltic for Events Forum). Jack Morton is one of them, Fivecurrents is one of them and Filmmaster is one of them.
What are the right questions to ask from yourself if you start to brainstorm this kind of project’s or campaign’s creative ideas?
Actually, I’m not a believer in brainstorming. I’m not a believer in sitting around the table and trying to get to the great ideas or great strategies. We do have a very strict process on how to achieve creativity. We have very clear process inside of the creativity to ensure that our creative work around the globe fulfills the same standards. And we manage quite well to get great creative ideas. As I said, I don’t believe in sitting around the table. It helps at some stage, but you don’t sit around the table with 20 people to look for ideas.
Where do you start, can you tell me?
We don’t only trust the brief we get from the client, but we try to find out the insights, what’s the real problem of the client and try to develop a strategy out of this.
What’s your recommendation for small companies, who don’t have such a big budget for advertising? What’s the first thing that they need to do?
I don’t think creativity and great events are related to the size of the budget you have. You can do great stuff with a massive budget of course and use a lot of technology. But if you’re a good creative agency or a company with great creative minds, you can create amazing stuff on small budgets.
Let’s get to your personal success story. I believe that you have quite good career?
I’m happy with what I did. I guess that’s the most important part that you’re always happy with the job you’re doing at the time. It’s the only chance to be successful. If you don’t like what you do, it’s hard.
Can you share some of the habits or activities, this 20% that makes 80% of your success?
That’s a tough question to answer. Obviously, it’s being in the industry for a long time and working hard. I was always open to learn new things and open to look into different fields. I don’t have a straight career path, where I started in the agency and stayed there for 22 years. I looked into other fields. I was looking into more niche products and events business. I organized trade fairs and professional conferences. I did classical events. I looked into digital world. I worked for small family businesses. I was self-employed for a while and did consulting.
I’m just looking into what’s next, what’s new and where’s the sweet spot where I’d like to be. Where I am right now, that feels like making the right decision and the right place where I’d like to stay.
If the viewers of the show want to follow you, what’s the best channel to do that?
Last question. If you have one minute to sum up all your experience and knowledge to your successor, what would you say?
I don’t think anybody would need my advice, because it’s on you. Nobody gave me advice when I started and I didn’t ask for it. I mean, I ask for opinion and help, but I don’t think I need to teach somebody how you should run your job. Everybody is doing it differently, everybody is doing it in their own way. That’s how it supposed to be. Maybe I would say never copy somebody else, just do how you would like to run a company. Make it your own company. Design it the way you like it. I guess that’s the advice to give.
So, be yourself!
Yes, basically. That’s the major thing – be yourself!