I can't wait for Adobe Summit EMEA 2015

21 May 2014Jeremy Horne

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and Summit host Brad Rencher kicked off Day 1 of #AdobeSummit to a capacity filled room with over 3,500 wide eyed attendees.  And if any of us were still struggling to wake up, the enormous display towering over the stage coupled with a sound system that could put a Metallica concert to shame , ensured we were all fully engaged as special guests such as Amber Atherton of My Flash Trash guided us through 'The reinvention of marketing'.

Whilst we all agree that traditional marketing approaches  are fast becoming obsolete, few have mastered the new tools of the trade as effectively as Amber.  Her organically grown jewellery company has grown exponentially thanks largely to free, yet highly effective, social marketing.  Having mastered the potential of social tools such as Twitter and Instagram, Amber showed us how her company has achieved huge exposure through social marketing, successfully turning her customers into advocates, and celebrities into brand ambassadors.  And all without having to spend big money on marketing.  There's a lot for big brands to learn from young, dynamic companies like Amber's, and her presentation clearly had the room thinking.

The session culminated in a live demo of the new Mobile App offering within AEM6. PhoneGap Enterprise allows developers to create and quickly roll out cross platform apps, while marketers are provided with long awaited tools to easily update app content, optimise the app post launch and manage app reviews and variations without the need for app development skills.

The live demo showed mobile devices of all types and operating systems, being updated in real time as the presenter dragged and dropped a new image into the PhoneGap management interface.  Now anyone who's ever done a live demo will know, technology has a habit of not doing what it should during presentations.  In fact, it seems the more important the demo, the less likely the technology is to behave - and with over 3,500 delegates in the room, the Adobe presenter said a silent prayer as we watched with baited breath for the update to play out across myriad devices.  And lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened - all in a matter of seconds, optimised for each and every device.  An impressive demonstration worthy of the round of applause from the crowd.

With Summit 2014 officially open, the delegates broke out to attend their chosen break-out sessions.  With over 80 to choose from over the two day event, the plethora of choices came with a challenge - narrowing down to just one when there might be several of interest on at the same time.  Fortunately, there really was just one choice immediately after the coffee break as over in room CS1, something special was going down - "Accelerate! Launch faster with Zen Garden for FMCG" was being presented by Fahim Salim, extraordinaire consultant and our GSK client, Jan Detert, Director of Digital Services & Technology.

Attendees learned about Zen Garden for AEM, and how it's helping GSK significantly reduce time to market as they roll out their global and local websites on AEM - all from our client, Jan's perspective.  The audience was highly engaged, and immediately after the session our stand was inundated with delegates keen for a Zen Garden demo, keeping Fahim and the Cognifide team well and truly on our toes for the next two days.

Speaking of our stand, it proved to be quite the hit, thanks largely to the huge touch screen display we'd set up to demonstrate AEM in a retail environment, dubbed 'Retail Theatre'.  It was proved impossible for delegates to pass our stand without reaching out to interact with the impressive touch screen display, showcasing how brands can leverage AEM to 'converse' with customers in an in-store or retail setting. 

Meanwhile, just opposite, our WPP colleagues, Wunderman, were busy at their own stand.  And whilst they didn’t have our mega sized touch screens to lure delegates, they weren't short on activity as collectively we'd chosen the Summit to launch our new 'Cognifide@Wunderman' offering, so there was plenty of interest from both delegates and our partners such as Elastic Path, keen to understand what exactly 'Glocal' means, and what it will bring to brands and customers alike.  Hint, take a look at this recent blog post.

As the day unfolded we bounced between the breakout sessions, networking (generally whilst tucking into the seemingly continuous supply of food and beverages), and a mix of meetings and demonstrations at our stand - all in all a non stop day that in all fairness, delivered on its promises. 

And whilst the official day 1 agenda had come to an end, the night was still young, and we had plenty to celebrate.  Hot on the heels of our recent acquisition by WPP, and the launch of Cognifide@Wunderman, earlier in the day and on behalf of the Cognifide team, CEO, Miro Walker, proudly accepted our award from Adobe for "Outstanding Contribution" throughout 2013.  And what better way to celebrate, than on a yacht?  Conveniently, there happened to be a rather impressive one moored right out of the front of the Summit, on the River Thames, so as the sun slowly set, together with our WPP colleagues, clients and partners, we merrily toasted to - well, everything! 

Not to be outdone, Adobe had a huge night install for everyone, and they didn’t disappoint with a festival style celebration back on dry land, with award winning British band, Rudimental, headlining the night.  And much like the towering displays that worked their magic at the start of the day, Rudimental literally rocked back to life anyone who was starting to fade - an impressively memorable finish to a memorable day.

Day two was a slow start for many, with the main auditorium only half full as the day kicked off at 9am - clearly a tribute to the success of the previous evening.  But by 10am it was a full house fueled by copies cups of coffee, and the breakout sessions were in full swing throughout the day.  Again, no shortage of options, from Twitter tips to technical workshops about Adobe's latest products, it was another full day that seemed to pass all too quickly.  Before we knew it, we were back in the main hall for the final session, Sneaks - a sneak previous of things to come from Adobe's product teams, and interestingly, we were given the opportunity to influence their roadmaps by tweeting for the innovations we were particularly impressed with.  My favourite was 'Autoinfographics', as I can see it appealing to both marketers and designers in a big way.

 Adobe's Steve Hammond hosted the session, and he did well considering he had to share the stage with celebrity co-host, actor and comedian, David Schneider.  David's job was to inject some humour into what could otherwise be a bland, product lead presentation - and clearly he's a veteran in that regard, as we found ourselves both marvelling and laughing as Adobe's product team unveiled their latest innovations.

And so that, in a nutshell, was Adobe Summit 2014 through the eyes of Cognifide.  And whilst we've exhibited at several Adobe Summits in the past, this was our first as Gold sponsors, so the bar has been set for a big 2015 - see you there!

Author: Jeremy Horne
Published: 21 May 2014
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