By Cary Hatch, CEO, MDB Communications

“Energy” would capture the essence of this year’s Advertising Week DC, which concluded Oct. 3.  A series of high-profile brand leaders from The Atlantic, Truth Initiative, Facebook, the Ad Council and Booz Allen Hamilton topped the list of presenters this year. The caliber and verve of the topics was both relevant and timely.

Of particular interest was the presentation by Anthony Shop, co-founder of Social Driver. His address, “People are the New Channel” was entertaining and underscored the power of people – or more specifically social media – to produce a groundswell of action; whether endorsing a product or rallying “fellow ‘Goonies’ followers” to produce a reunion event in a small movie theater in Kansas City. The winning approach for maximizing your results for this new channel is following the maxim of “flat, fast and fun”.

The Atlantic’s Senior Editor Derek Thompson addressed “Millennials as Employees and Consumers”. His remarks were pointed and entertaining; his analogies of current and past generations and behavioral expectations was particularly arresting for anyone over 40. Millennials are misunderstood as both employees and consumers. Thompson discussed how, as employees, Millennials are held to lofty expectations and experience unexpected downsides of being the most educated generation in history. As consumers, technology has helped millennials and others become smarter shoppers. This trend is confusing for, and even detrimental to, companies that have sailed by on the power of their brand alone.

“Grit to Great” was the theme of Robin Koval’s invigorating address at ADWKDC. With a storied advertising career, as CEO of Kaplan Thaler Group in NYC and now as CEO of Truth Initiative, Koval delivered an inspiring and vivid account of what it takes to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

Based on the recently released book  “Grit to Great”, Koval, pictured above, revealed the strategies that helped her (and co-author Linda Kaplan Thaler) and countless others, succeed at the highest levels in their careers and in their personal lives.

She spoke about the guts and courage necessary to take on tough challenges and not give up at the first sign of difficulty.  AND the essential quality of resiliency. Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology, Koval discussed why optimists do better in school, work and on the playing field–and how to reset that optimistic set point. Interestingly, research also shows that it takes a minimum of 10 years for one’s true creative potential to be realized.

ADWKD Duning Crop

Paul Duning, publisher of Capitol Communicator, was awarded the AAF 2015 Silver Medal. His commitment to the advertising and marketing communications industry in the Greater Washington region were recognized, as well as the notable impact of Capitol Communicator which he co-founded with Phil Rabin, editor of Capitol Communicator.  (Shown above, left to right, Greg Kihlstrom, president of DC Ad Club, Paul Duning, and Cary Hatch, who introduced Duning and also has won the Silver Medal Award.)


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