IPG Spring Conference: Sustainable Growth #IPGSC

IPG Spring Conference: Sustainable Growth #IPGSC

Inspired have returned from another fabulous IPG Spring Conference and we are full of ideas, inspiration, insight and, of course, independence. 

There is another very important ‘I’ that played key role in most conversations around the Shaw Theatre – ‘intelligence’, largely the artificial kind. AI and the opportunities that using it can bring to adaptive learning, marketing and content generation were all brought to us with exciting possibilities, as well as the challenges of navigating policy and copyright that it is bringing as expertly presented to us by the Fox Williams team. 

ipg spring conference promotional banner

As you may know, if you’ve been to an IPG conference previously, one of the very many wonderful things about them is how practical they are, leaving the delegates with key takeaways with which they can return to their desk and implement immediately. So what were some of those precious nuggets from this year’s Spring Conference, which had a focus on Sustainable Growth…. 

  • Grow your brand – Thames & Hudson showed us the art of growing a brand beautifully, retaining the essence of a brand whilst modernizing it, a ‘museum without walls’ that remains relevant and innovative. Allowing your brand to evolve was also mentioned by James Kellor in his fantastic business planning workshop, reminding us that it’s ok to move your brand and brand identity on to better fit with your commercial plan. 
  • Grow your tech stack – If you haven’t already engaged with AI and identified ways in which it can automate and optimize processes, it’s time to! Similarly with any digital product, consider how AI might enhance it. Gilbert Jolly showed us how AI can bring personalized learning to a whole new level, designing learning tools specifically for individuals in real time. 
  • Grow your knowledge – By carving out time to learn more out not just publishing developments but trends, innovations and policies in the wider creative industries, you’re ensuring that you and your business are abreast of what’s ahead and what’s possible. Don’t shy away from knowledge gaps, get on a course to learn more about the legalities around AI and copyright, for example, if you want to learn more; it will boost your confidence in what you’re doing and help futureproof your content. 
  • Grow your audience – As you grow your brand, your social media strategy might change with different platforms suiting different needs and audiences. Once you have a clear idea of who you want to target, find your voice, know your formats, be topical and be brave! Don’t be afraid of playing into really niche social media trends! 
  • Grow your network – Partnering with suppliers – distribution, marketing, recruitment and beyond, who share your values can bring scale and expertise that you can’t replicate in-house, particularly as an SME. Look out for those with commitment to environmental sustainability to be confident in how your business in operating. Network at all levels, with a range of purposes too and engage with your local MP to show them the importance of independent publishing, while learning from them about the latest priorities and policies that are relevant to you. 
  • Grow your range of formats – We’re getting better and better at listening to our audiences, via social media and also with an increased interest in direct sales. Let them listen to you! There is real demand for audio right now and it’s not going anywhere, being the fastest growing publishing format. 
  • Grow your team – Your people are your biggest asset and will be the cornerstone of sustainable business growth. Diversity of thought is paramount to the success of anything we’re discussing here today so remain open to the experiences that you’re requiring from new starters. Celebrate the richness of difference, as Rose Sandy would say, in your team and be mindful about a wider pool of people seeing your adverts. Katie White from Usborne also reminded us to look at the software available in the market that can help with inclusive recruitment. 
  • Grow your inner voice – Be kind to yourself. Behaviours like procrastination are very real, emotional responses to uncomfortable feelings around tasks. By identifying the triggers to these feelings and putting plans in place, where possible, you can start to alleviate some of that anxiety – but give yourself a break over it! Similarly, as we heard in the closing session, everyone makes mistakes. Try not to make the same one twice but do learn from them, they are opportunities of their own. 
keynote address at the IPG

However we are producing content, whatever the content might be and whomever it might be for, we are in an incredible position to shape the future in front of us. By gifting the world accurate masterminds of human brains, leveraging the technology available to us, we can let our readers unwrap stories, research and information that can be part of their own growth on some scale and to some degree. So let’s keep publishing and create sustainable growth for our people – teams and readers – and our planet. 

Thanks so much to the IPG for organising such a fantastic event and to all the speakers and guests for their knowledge and insights. We can't wait to see everyone again at the next one!

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