Brooklyn Inspires @ Northside Innovation Festival

June 13, 2018 — Ali Arduini

Last week, we immersed ourselves into the Northside Festival: a convergence of music, business, and art, that showcases the most creative minds and talent of the global innovation community. Through a series of keynotes and panel talks, the “best and brightest” congregated in North Brooklyn to share their latest insights on emerging tech, media innovations, creative design, and the culture changes emerging in our digital world.

With a constant aptitude to learn about industry trends and “the next big thing,” we spent the week carefully listening to the highly-credible speakers discuss their wisdom and future industry predictions at unique venues across Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

In true Brooklyn fashion we grabbed our 7-dollar locally-roasted coffee, popped open our tiny Macbook Airs, adjusted our Warby Parkers (ok, that one’s an exaggeration), and got to note-taking. Here are some of the trends and topics discussed:

Brand Reputation

  • Brands are becoming patrons of culture rather than just facilitators
  • Trust is the new currency: The New York Times has recently focused on labeling their articles more clearly to better distinguish news versus opinion pieces, resulting in better clarity for readers to help de-clutter the confusion on #fakenews.
  • Brand loyalty can be created through proper dialogue
  • Brands must be able to tell their story and provide meaningful connections to consumers through ad campaigns. And with dynamic formats on the rise, there is more opportunity than ever to be creative
  • Refinery29, Inc. lives by their brand values they call the “4 I’s”: imagination, individuality, inclusivity and impact. They bring them to life through all the choices they make and what they do
  • With the rise of social media, brands are starting to act like people, and people are starting to act like brands
  • Brands should provide their audience with three pieces of their product to gain and sustain attention:
    • Media (because humans love great stories)
    • Experience (because we enjoy coming together to tell/hear them)
    • Artifact (to remind of, own, and share a piece of the experience)

Sustainability as a Message:

  • Every individual has a role to play within their company’s sustainability efforts. We can all make personal changes and also encourage our employers to do better and make little changes that can have big impact over time.
  • Plastic is in everything including sea salt and our water. A recent sampling of 21 different salt brands resulted in all samples showing traces of plastic.
  • You can start to reduce plastic by eliminating straw-usage
  • Fear based marketing doesn’t work. Environmental change should be about providing alternative solutions, like providing reusable straws and charging for plastic bags
  • To market sustainability your message should be about how to make people feel good versus making them feel guilty
  • Making a sustainability plan:
    • Start with small, achievable steps
    • Give an incentive to people to choose the more-sustainable option
    • Make sustainability desirable by giving it a social cache


  • Encourage design thinking across your organization. Formulate a process and provide a platform internally to encourage ideation and creative thinking.
  • Embrace the uncomfortable as part of your creative process
  • Create the conditions for creativity – promote laughter and fun as part of the creative process
  • Courageous creativity is contagious
  • Design drives revenue and growth. Start within and encourage creativity as part of your cultural DNA.

Health Care at the Office

  • Consumers are taking the initiative to take more control
  • Massive companies are starting their own health and wellness systems and clinics (i.e. Disney, Comcast, Google, Amazon)
  • Your wellness component should be more thought out and purposeful than something like “kombucha on tap.” For example, Google recently launched an initiative that pays for fertility treatments.
  • The future of healthcare will be much more proactive, preventive, holistic and data driven
  • Medical conditions like high cholesterol don’t happen overnight and preventative measures should be taken. Treatment shouldn’t be administered as an emergency with high impact drugs; it should treat as a gradual lifestyle shift to get back to normal levels
  • Traditional health care doesn’t see mental and physical health as different—and that needs to change

Physical vs. Digital Experiences

  • The physical retail experience needs to become the bridge to the digital experience to close the loop for the consumer
  • Video can be used as a platform to create connections and conversations with your community while also telling immersive stories
  • Experiential starts on digital platforms with inspiration from images, video, art etc. but the real magic happens in person
  • To accelerate innovation in retail and consumer goods, businesses need to think digital first and truly know their customer’s habits, behaviors, and attitudes
  • Digital and real-life experiences are becoming a symbiotic circle

To access further insights from industry events, follow our Engagement Director, Damien, on Twitter @brand_me_

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