Community, Content & Commerce

Set in the perfectly located One Aldwych hotel, our exclusive breakfast briefing took far better shape than we could have hoped. Neither of the two rail strikes that day succeeded in hindering our ability to bring like-minded individuals together.

Our expert panel of leaders and entrepreneurs from Browns FashionSecret Escapes, Pistonheads (Haymarket Media Group) and BBC Worldwide were on top form too.  There is something about defying the unions that really gets commuters out of bed in the morning or, better still, has even the most senior of individuals hot-footing it from Camden to The Strand – Tom Bowman was no exception!

For those of you who couldn’t make it, of course we understand. In fact, you’ll be pleased to know that this event précis is not the sole resource to get a feel of what happened – our co-hosts at DigitasLBi were kind enough to arrange for the entire panel session to be filmed (see below).

The opening of the panel session saw Simon Burstein (Browns Fashion), Troy Collins (Secret Escapes) and Lee Williams (Haymarket Media) explain to the audience how community, content and commerce drive growth in their businesses. So which lever works best for whom? For Browns, it is of course eCommerce, for Secret Escapes, content and without doubt for Pistonheads it’s community.  But can you successfully flick one switch and ignore the other two? Absolutely not! This panel session was all about establishing the perfect blend, and the only way to do that was to hear from the experts of each.

Here are the top takeaways from each of our speakers:

Lee Williams, Head of Digital Revenues at Haymarket Media

  • Be gentle with your community – don’t surprise them with commercial initiatives
  • Interrogate the levels of interaction that you have carefully, before enhancing your services
  • Where you can, be self-sufficient from Google.

Simon Burstein, CEO at Browns Fashion

  • Covet your value-add, and be brave about what prices you charge your loved ones
  • Remember to take suppliers on a journey they are comfortable with – even if your community is driving.
  • Embrace the new platforms, chat services will erode email quickly so be ready

Troy Collins, Co-Founder of Secret Escapes

  • Don’t assume that more community engagement always delivers commercial value
  • Think carefully about consumer behaviour before launching new business models

So is there a perfect blend of commerce, community and content? Our morning lead our audience to understand that there are indeed “general truths” about abusing the trust your audience gives you, but such were the myriad of business types in attendance that whilst we all learned a great deal there are thousands of blends – adjusting in flight at all times.