Twelve months ago I headed to Iceland for the Autumn TAAN meeting. Business was good, the agenda for the meeting was interesting and it was only one short, inexpensive flight away, for me at least. Happy days. Whilst our meeting was going on the Icelandic banks crashed, the country was thrown into a state of crisis which the rest of the world duly copied and the tone for a challenging 12 months was set for all of us. Of course ‘challenging’ is a euphemism, if we were farmers we were going to experience plagues of biblical proportions. Marketing budgets have been slashed, banks have stopped lending, the wheels of industry have ground to a halt, some of the largest companies in the world have collapsed and confidence is non-existent. For many in our industry the last 12 months have been the hardest ever. Yet despite all that a seed was sown then which has started to grow and even bear some fruit. Mark Vitullo made a presentation at the meeting where he introduced the then new TAAN website and spoke about the internet in general and web 2.0 in particular. He was speaking from a position of some authority and what he said resonated, the gist of which was ‘you should be using this, why aren’t you?’. So twelve months later I’m sitting at my kitchen table, with the kids all in bed, writing this; and you’re reading it. I’ve literally just finished a proposal for an extensive social media campaign for a new client, and I’ve another two to finish before heading off to Germany on Thursday. What’s really great about it is we actually know what we’re talking about too.
Now I’m old enough to realise that this whole web 2.0 thing could still whither and die. Clearly some of its best known proponents have their roots less than firmly planted however in the most difficult trading conditions most of us have known it is the only area of our business to have grown this year, granted from a small starting point, but still.
To be honest for very valid business and personal reasons I could do without going to the meeting this week, but if I didn’t go I know I’d be missing out on something potentially important. When you get a lot of talented people together in one place you can’t help but learn something and that something might just be the thing that keeps our clients one step ahead of their competition. As every farmer will attest you need good fertilizer, and lots of it, if you really want a bumper harvest and where better to find that than in a room full of advertising people!