Trends & Topics from the Festival for Curious Minds 💡

  • 8 October 2021
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To break the routine of seemingly never ending screen time these days, it was really nice to find myself at an in-person event in Graz. Stepping into a space where an atmospheric stage, rows of chairs, and unfamiliar faces meet – where everyone feels at once eager and unsure of how to navigate this once common situation – was a welcome departure from the norm.

What’s-old-is-new-again feelings aside, there’s always this constant with events: what’s the value? Whether it’s seeking new connections, gaining deep insights, honing in a skill – whatever the case, there’s usually a good reason and hopefully matched outcome. With Fifteen Seconds Festival, there were a few key themes, trends really, that emerged over the days: 

  • Emotional connection

  • A sense of belonging

  • Our relationship with the world

You could even drill these down into more concise pillars, like purpose, humanness, and sustainability. In “Connecting the Disconnected,” Adrian Walcott touched the surface of some provocative issues which are often core reasons why people might feel disconnected to the companies they work with, and what can be addressed to create a more meaningful sense of inclusiveness. He calls out that it’s the constellation of issues around diversity, vision, and more that contribute to a feeling of being an outsider (or insider), where culture also comes into play.


“To measure culture, you have to dig deep into the ecosystem of an organization.” Adrian Walcott, Brands with Values



Where personal values and brand values align, well, that’s where the real magic happens. This is in the case of whatever side of the brand fence you’re on; as an employee, helping to craft and shape the brand, or as a consumer and brand receiver/perceiver. 

It’s the cultural aspects of brand resonance and connectivity – from an employer perspective – that underpinned the talk from our very own, MJ and Willem (Frontify’s VP of Marketing and Head of Brand). They called out people, touch, and vision as three critical factors in the equation, defining not only what makes people and consumers feel like they’re a part of something, but also as a hallmark differentiator among other brands. 


“Investing in your people, the ones behind your culture and ultimately your brand, is a competitive advantage that can’t be copied.” - Michael Müller, Frontify


There’s something to be said about the inherent value in alignments across the board. Going a step further to analyze the impact of synergies with brand loyalty, Lauren Pleydell-Pearce of PWC shared research on ways to leverage emotional connection to capture the impact on ROI for brands. She noted coherent, personal, engaging, and distinctive as qualitative characteristics of branding that can also be measured to deliver quantifiable results. Exceptional experiences and the highest success for brands happen when special attention is placed on personalization and distinction.



Of course there were a number of other talks and topical explorations, but I found these recurring sentiments particularly relevant and critical, given the state of, well, our world these days.

I’m curious, have you also noticed these ideas weighing in your daily work? In what ways might you see attention to such topics with other brands? Or do you find these issues will take greater precedence in the future?

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