An inspirational “Most Contagious” day of marketing

A number of Trajectory team members just attended the Most Contagious NY event. An annual conference put on by Contagious, the event distills a year of marketing insights and innovation into a stimulating half-day to help marketing and agency teams develop better work.

The conference sort of acts like a dose of marketing steroid — with all the ideas in your head that can lead to improved marketing strength and performance bringing on short-term effects of over-stimulation and a desire to crash through walls to create better and more important work.

The event took place at a very cool meeting space on the lower east side at The Angel Orensanz Foundation (it’s the former Ansche Chesed Synagogue dating back to 1849).

The event featured a number of speakers across client, agency, social networks, non-profit and advisory organizations. Common across all the talks is that each speaker — whether talking trends, insights or dissecting work — ended up taking on the role of protagonist. Each 10-15 minute talk ends up inspiring and championing the cause to deliver truly sensational work.

Here’s a quick round-up of our top ten takeaways:

  1. The most creative work is inextricably linked to better brand performance. Said another way (per Chris Barth, senior strategist at Contagious),

    scientific studies show that standout creative ideas kick the living crap out of ordinary ideas — more buzz, more recognition, more sales.

  2. While data is king, it’s just a tool and it needs to be challenged. Its real power lies in getting underneath it to reveal the “why and what customers really want” behind the numbers.
  3. What Twitter reveals. Language trends and audience behaviors (e.g.#MeToo and #Mayochup) can power the launch of movements and messages on Twitter and beyond — and marketers can harness these insights to shape conversations and culture.
  4. To be creatively brave use common language that everyone in your agency understands and that moves the conversation from subjective and qualitative to objective and quantitative, make the agency a safe place to take risks, go against conformity and work your creative muscles on a daily basis.
  5. Brief for bravery. Liberate the briefing process. Give creatives leeway to maneuver and the time to go beyond the margins of a brief.
  6. Indifference. It’s a lonely place for marketing to end up. Have a strong point-of-view. Take a stand. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Reference Nike’s Dream Crazy work featuring quarterback turned activist Colin Kaepernick or P&G’s/BBDO/Egami Group’s The Talk.
  7. Moments. If contained in the midst of a campaign, they fade away. Movements are more sustainable and impact culture.
  8. Formula for human-centric ideas. Understand your audience + bring something new + something worth debating.
  9. Best practices. Are guardrails for when you don’t want to work. Instead, do whatever’s right for your brand and your consumer. Good example shared by DDB Creative Chief Ari Weiss, was Skittles Exclusive The Rainbow Super Bowl ad — which was only shown to one person. Ever. The unexpected move earned the brand more media attention than a traditional Super Bowl ad placement would have.
  10. Purpose. Should be front and center. Today’s consumers want brands to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues like transparency, sustainability and social movements like “MeToo.” Brands that don’t take a stand, pay the price.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s Most Contagious.


Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, launched in 1999, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment to move customers, brands and businesses upward. Prior to Trajectory, Eric served as EVP and Management Board member at Interbrand (the world’s most influential brand consultancy). Before Interbrand, he held senior marketing positions at Beiersdorf Inc. and L’Oreal and advertising account management positions at Marschalk and Benton & Bowles.He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall’s Graduate School of Communications and has lectured at Wharton Business School and Emory Goizueta School of Business.