Wieden+Kennedy Senior Digital Strategist Dean McBeth spoke at a Social Media Club: PDX event last night at the Ecotrust building in the heart of the Pearl. The premise of the talk was about how to approach more conservative clients about wild creative ideas. Case in point: how McBeth sold Procter & Gamble reps on w+k’s Old Spice content.

Like a crisp lager, the presentation was not too filling, but gave a tiny little creative buzz after consumption. McBeth didn’t dive into any secrets, but basically encouraged the crowd to ask questions in which he would field answers a la carte.

When the crowd was question-less, he recalled how he pitched the Old Spice digital content to P&G. Through a combination of reseting expectations, redefining success, and modifying how to evaluate a digital campaign in a web 2.0 world, he gave the audience a small taste of how to succeed digitally among LOLcats, Double Rainbow, planking videos, and other popular memes.


Get ready to fail: Maybe it was the generational gap showing between the various audience members, but I swore I heard a mini collective gasp when McBeth said it was okay to fail. I’m assuming he meant to embrace the iterative spirit and to learn and thrive off of mistakes.

Hopefully clients (yours and mine) will agree with this spirit, too.

A great strategist will play to the game: McBeth identified “idealistic” and “futuristic” strategists, both of which apply strategist that cater to what should be, or what will happen. He emphasized that an effective strategist will play to the rules and variables of the current game. That was probably my favorite part.

Change how you define success: Rather than follows, friends, likes, plusses, and whatnot, McBeth encouraged taking a look at how digital content goes beyond analytics. How can a vocal and prolific blogger magnify your digital content? How do you measure their contribution to the campaign. McBeth implied that marketers create their own methods of measuring this stuff.

Although, this did not stop participants from asking him about what frameworks he used, or what his secret sauce was.

Maybe he's saving the juicy stuff for SOBcon 2011.

The presentation felt very cursory, but he did touch upon some highlights (noted above) that made the event worthwhile. The event was sponsored by SOBcon, a business convention that McBeth will also be speaking at later in the Fall. It definitely felt like he was saving some heartier content for that event.

This was a nice taste, however. The incredible scenery of the Ecotrust rooftop and Portland sunset was welcome.