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A few months ago, a new social media friend and business associate asked if I was coming to Boston to go to Gravity Summit, her favorite with social media event of the year,because it focused on brand marketing.  I was unable to make the trip, having just got back home to New York from my first session at Harvard.   Luckily, the event was streamed live on CNN.Live.  gravity summitbrand_marketing

I was glued to my computer far longer than I had time for, as I grasped as much as I could from the masters in this new world of  brand marketing and advertising.  Included were social media branding superstars such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Ramon DeLeon and MC Hammer.  I learned so much from this presentation, that when I recently learned the Gravity Summit was coming to New York City, I was quick to sign up.

The day was packed-full of speakers who look at social media from the perspective of  brand Marketing and advertising.  They examined how people are using social media campaigns to change their businesses, and more importantly, how they are able to track those changes.

Here are some of my key take-aways about Brand marketing:

Mike Lundgren, Director of Innovation Strategy at VML, was suffering from a bad cold, but still managed to launch the summit with these pearls:

•   There are over 26,000 million blogs published.  Work to get some of them to say something about your brand.             •    Lead your community back to your site again and again.
• I-Phone apps are a great way to extend the social experience.
•    Social media extends your presence beyond the trade show booth.  If you are doing a trade show or event, social media helps extend the life of that event, even after it's over.

Laura Fitton, a dynamic woman who authored "Social Media for Dummies" and recently launched the really cool website for Twitter Tools, had this to say:

•    Don't get lost in tweets as tweets – if you do, you are missing the point!  This means if you are wondering about the usefulness of reading "my cat just rolled over," you are not alone. But there is far more to twitter than the obvious.        •    Make sure you understand what you are trying to accomplish before your start your social media campaign.  It will make all the difference in the type of tweets you send out and the type of community you need to build.

Paul Yiu announced that he was from "the socially unpopular company known as Microsoft." He was informative and personable as he explained Bing and how it differs from Google.  He even sold me on a few of its features:

•    On Bing, data expires in 7 days, similar to Twitter. That means all the results are from a current search, and show the most current data on the subject being searched.

•   Anything that has been updated in the past 7 days appears in their searches, including blog articles, websites that have been updated, current news releases.

•    There is a Twitter search on Bing:

Raul Deleon is just plain awesome. He was an immigrant from Mexico and we all agreed that he'll be the next social media superstar. Ramon owns five Domino Pizza franchises in Chicago and they are the most successful in the entire company.  He loves social media and is having a blast making up contests, tweeting pictures of his customers and his pizzas, and thanking folks who mention what pizza they like, to name a few. He also is very community focused and sponsors lots of events in the communities where he has stores. Ordering pizza from one of Ramon's Domino's is an experience. He was truly joyful as he talked about his ideas and how they have worked to draw traffic to his stores, and how he tracks their successes.

The folks at the Roger Smith Hotel here in New York have built a unique brand.  And it's not because of their service, their interiors, their views or any other thing that most New York hotels have to offer.  The Roger Smith has built a community of social media junkies who want to hang with others like them. This is the place where your "online" friends can become "off-line" friends.
It is becoming a tradition that whenever social media "stars' come into New York, they will hookup with their online friends at the Roger Smith. Every social media conference or business meeting ends with cocktails there, and many stay there because they feel that Adam and Brian, the managers, are their friends. The Roger Smith is a true social media success story in the best way: they have true brand ambassadors and they are wonderful hosts to the social media community.
Adam and Brian's takeaways besides their successes were:
• First, build your community and next, build your content (which is what I am doing).
• Promote others 12 times more than yourself (which I'm a firm believer in).
•    When you thank people online you are using customer service as marketing!

In a separate post, I'll be discussing Ian Schafer from Deep Focus.  His perspective was solid in what to consider when starting a social media campaign and how to track your results.

These were some of the highlights for me. Please let me know if there were any other key take-aways you'd like to share, whether you attended or followed along on Twitter posts.

list of  recommended twitter follows:

@mglundgren, @Ramon_DeLeon @nicadler @kyrareed @theroxy @bmorrissey, @rshotel, @rumford, @BeverlyMacy

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