TAAN meetings are a bit like holiday romances, at the time they are the best things ever and you swear undying faithfulness to them, you promise you’ll write, phone and text and you’ll never forget them but then you get home, the old routine kicks in and within a fortnight your tans faded and you’ve asked your old girlfriend out. So it’s pleasing for me that I can look back on the last meeting with some clarity, my notes still make sense and even better I’m putting into practice some of what I learned.

Masterfile are a stock photographic agency, they presented to us at the meeting, they were launching a new web interface which I thought was really clever. They demonstrated how it works and also that TAAN member agencies get a 20% discount; strange how that bit stuck with me! They were a great example of technology improving an already good service coupled with added value for customers. That’s something for me to remember.

Our first speaker at the meeting was an American called Jonathan Salem Baskin. He has some interesting views on branding going forward in the internet 2.0 era. I was looking forward to hearing him as I’d read some of his stuff before but was unsure if I agreed with it. After hearing him I’m still unsure. What he did say loud and clear though was that brands need to adapt to the changes going on all around us, and fast. Not only is the economy changing, but media consumption is changing, probably forever, and as the internet empowers more and more people to air their views brands need to adapt to a market where customers speak with a voice that is every bit as loud as theirs. The successful brands of the future will engage their customers and listen to what they have to say.

I also listened with some interest to Crossmedia Avenue. Apart from having a likeable name they do clever things with mobile phones. They demonstrated a campaign they’d been involved with where you could send a photo of yourself taken on your phone by MMS and they returned it to you showing how you’d look when your 70. Scandinavians clearly age better than Scots as frankly I’d be happy if I look like that at 40 far less 70 however the basic idea was a nice one and more importantly it was a successful campaign for the client. Advertising on mobile phones isn’t very popular just now, it’s intrusive and that annoys people and if I know nothing else about advertising it’s that you shouldn’t annoy your customers. Crossmedia demonstrated that the mobile phone, used correctly, can be an excellent vehicle for advertising.

Lastly there were all the other agencies. The Portuguese seem to be taking over the world just now – Jose Mourinho, Christiano Ronaldo, Pedro Mendes and Nandos are everywhere so it was no surprise that the Lisbon agency and the Brazilian agency should have led the way creatively. Excitingly the Lisbon agency have opened an office in Angola, I really look forward to seeing the Angolan flag on the TAAN website sometime soon! For me their were also some gems from the Dutch and some American agencies too.

I’ve a great client I’m meeting this week. She told me a while ago that she met her husband while on holiday, they actually did keep in touch, then met up and eventually married and have two children at secondary school now. Hopefully this last TAAN meeting will prove to be more than just a fling too.