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Published May 10th 2016

NYK Conference Live: Day One

Follow along for all day updates on what's happening at the inaugural Brandwatch NYK Conference, taking place in Chicago.

The day is finally here. It’s May 10th, Chicago is looking beautiful (albeit wet), and the inaugural Now You Know Conference is now underway.

I’m going to be guiding you through the next two days, from here at the home of the conference in the incredible VenueSix10 overlooking Lake Michigan.

NYK LIVE: 3.54pm CST – Floor 2

We’ve just finished filming up on Floor 2 with Nathalie Nahai, Blake from State Farm and Jason Boxt from Glover Park Group, and we’ll be heading off on the riverboat cruise shortly.

A massive thanks to all of you who have joined us today, followed along on the liveblog or #NYKCONF hashtag. I’ll be back tomorrow with tales of pizza and boats and hopefully no drownings. See you then!

NYK LIVE: 2.33pm CST – What’s Next

Nathalie’s Keynote is coming to a close, and it’s fair to say it’s been a highlight of the conference thus far.

Even the internal Slack channel for all of us here at the conference was ablaze with praise (I’ve had a lot of caffeine so I’m now rhyming.)

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Coming up next on the Strategist Track:

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And on the Masterclass Track:

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Don’t forget that we’re Periscoping the Strategist Track on the Brandwatch Twitter account.

NYK LIVE: 2.05pm CST – Strategist Track

Nathalie’s talk is touching upon memes, homogenous and heterogenous information seeking and behaviorally targeted advertising. I’m loving the in-depth look at social validation, and it seems you are too.


On a slightly different note, if you’re here at the conference don’t forget to visit the Academy – it’s on the 9th floor. You’ll be greeted by the lovely Ronnie. Ronnie and his team will be demoing a sneak preview of a secret project – an online, interactive set of modules which will help you to learn analytics online, in your own time, from anywhere in the world. Not sure I was meant to tell you that. We’ll see.

Ronnie prompts, “It is really cool” – and he knows cool. Trust me.

NYK LIVE: 1.44pm CST – Strategist Track

Nathalie is discussing the psychology of how content can go viral with seemingly no reason. Think of the ‘Damn Daniel’ Vine, or a ‘wombat farting on a man’s knee’ – these videos have somehow tapped into a human emotion.

“Grumpy Cat resonates on a huge scale – how does one cat go from being a cat to next to Jennifer Lopez on an advert?”

They provoke curiosity.

So how can you create content that goes viral? Nathalie is giving us a proper scientific formula from her very clever psychologist’s brain.

NYK LIVE: 1.32pm CST – Strategist Track

We’re back in the main theater after a delicious lunch of soba noodles, wraps, salad and the most amazing truffle chips. Chips, or crisps if you’re a fellow UK native.

This afternoon’s opening Keynote is Human Behavior Online: A Psychologist’s Perspective with Nathalie Nahai.

“What are the hidden forces that shape our online behaviors?

What insights can we learn about others, and indeed ourselves, that will help us to transform the quality of our work? We spend our working days in platforms, spreadsheets and reports, seeking to give our stakeholders answers to the questions they have. The world’s foremost expert in web psychology, Nathalie Nahai, will expand our minds and bring us new insights into what influences us online, and why.” 

NYK LIVE: 12.05pm CST – Strategist Track

Before we break for lunch (I’ve been informed it’s going to be great, which is exciting as I’ve been awake since 4.30am with jet lag), we’re joining a panel for a talk on the challenges of being truly global.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.03.38

The panel, hosted by Brandwatch’s Venu Konda and Christel Quek, is an in-depth exploration of the complexity of being a global organization.

Venue asked everyone in the theater to raise their hand if they are here from a global brand. The majority of hands in the room were raised. This is going to be a massively relevant panel.

Rob Key of Converseon is discussing how social intelligence impacts brand equity and brand sales, and how language is incredibly important part of the puzzle.

NYK LIVE: 11.38am CST – Strategist Track

After a mad half hour enjoying a coffee and networking (and watching Brian Solis sign copies of his book), we’re back in the main theater for a ‘fireside chat’ with Will McInnes and Amy Lamparske of 3M.

Amy’s describing the journey she is taking global innovator 3M on and outlining how she has organized her team, how they connect across and service many client groups and what the future holds for this team.

Fun fact: 3M own 2,000 Twitter handles!

Over at the Masterclass Track, Brandwatch Trainer Holly Oliver is teaching a room full of conference goers some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of Brandwatch Analytics.

I’m loving reading all the tweets coming in. Here’s one of our speakers Tracy Bell of Bank of America on her view on Amy’s talk.

We’ve also noticed that the #NYKCONF hashtag is trending in Chicago which is terribly thrilling, as we head through our first user conference.


An unexpected side effect is that our hashtag is now being hijacked by nude bots. What a journey we’re all on together.

NYK LIVE: 11.01am CST – Coffee Break

My fingers hurt.


NYK LIVE: 10.39am CST – Strategist Track

We’re now sitting with Will and panelists from Unilever, Wells Fargo and Spredfast on ‘Social Intelligence at Scale.’ As the agenda tells us,

“Anyone can ‘do’ social analytics. But not anyone can help a global brand with tens or even hundreds of thousands of employees to make fast and smart decisions that have been informed by social. How do you deliver social intelligence at scale? What are the biggest challenges and how has this expert panel overcome them? Join these leading practitioners to hear how they make it happen.”

It’s going to be really interesting discovering how huge companies have shifted to using social intelligence across the business.

Brian Wright of Wells Fargo is explaining how social intelligence is allowing them to inform new products. “We help accelerated the time to insight.”

One of the challenges Virgina Waters of Spredfast sees is getting the business to understand social. “We need to show, with data, that we’re creating great experiences with a brand to get everyone on board.”

Mark Clarke of Unilever agrees. He also acknowledges how social intelligence is allowing the brand to move beyond market research to something far more interesting and useful.

NYK LIVE: 10.15am CST – Strategist Track

Amy’s closed on a high point. Here’s a sneaky ‘secrets redacted’ post I liked. Glenn White’s up next, powered by breakfast donuts.

NYK LIVE: 09.56am CST – Strategist Track

“We’re living in a world that looks like The Matrix.”

I don’t want to give you all FOMO, but if you weren’t watching the Periscope you missed Giles doing an impression of Keanu Reeves. I’m sorry you missed it.

Also, Will kicked a microphone into the crowd. It was wild.

Giles is now on stage giving us an overview of how the product is being shaped, and an overview of the roadmap.


Giles’ talk is running through how we are determined as a company to always be building the best product possible.

He’s letting the audience into some secrets, but what happens at VenueSix10, stays in VenueSix10 (unless I see a tweet about it in which case I may embed it in this here blog).

Amy Collins is giving a run-through of what’s happening data-wise.

Is this a secret? I hope it’s not a secret, because if it is I just told you all.

NYK LIVE: 09.48am CST – Strategist Track

Here are a selection of my favorite reactions of Brian’s talk, over on the #NYKCONF hashtag on Twitter, because engagement is great and so is our audience.

Also, the bottom one is my absolute favorite because I am biased as the Blog editor. And it has a pizza emoji.

NYK LIVE: 09.21am CST – Strategist Track

Brian Solis has taken to the stage.

“When I’m in a room, I might not be that popular, because I’m there to bring change.”

He’s discussing how the future of branding is not about attention, it’s about being consistent.


His presentation is eloquent and thought-provoking. What happens when you don’t try something new?

What is brand? We all have our favorites. The best create experiences. Disney. Apple. The experience doesn’t stop because the sale has been made.

“Make somebody feel something. Make something do something. Take the infrastructure we have and reimagine an experience.”

NYK LIVE: 09.04am CST

We’re in the Main Theater, ready for a Brandwatch welcome by CMO Will McInnes.

The Periscope is now live.

The Brandwatch Brighton HQ are watching the Periscope (watch it! We’re getting a tripod soon!) along from the breakout area – they just sent over this snap. Hi guys!


NYK LIVE: 8.11am CST

Coming up on the agenda today on the Strategist Track we’ve got Giles opening at 9.00am CST, followed by our first Keynote by Altimeter Principal Analyst Brian Solis.

Brian’s going to be talking about how today a brand is defined by those who experience it. He’ll be discussing themes from new book, X: The Experience where Business meets Design, and talk about the experiential challenge of business in 2016 and beyond.

The Brandwatch Twitter account will be Periscoping live from the venue – I’ll keep you updated on where we’ll be, and when.

I’ve not seen Brian yet, but I’m really quite excited as he’s a big, big name in social intelligence.

I asked VP of Product Strategy, Glenn White, what he’s looking forward to most to today as he tucked into some breakfast donuts. “Nathalie Nahai is going to be great. I’ve seen her speak before, she’s really engaging and I always learn something new.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 08.21.20

I can also report the breakfast donuts are great.

NYK LIVE: 7.55am CST

It’s bright and early, the weather is what we could call ‘refreshing’, and the first registrants are coming through the big glass doors of the venue.

Staff arrived yesterday to greet the first of the guests and make sure everything was set up and ready to go.

Sneak peek of #NYKCONF #insidebrandwatch ?

A post shared by Natalie Kate M (@natalie_katem) on

Breakfast is being served up on Floor 10, ready for the conference to open at 9am with a talk from CEO Giles Palmer.

The opening Happy Hour last night was well attended, and we haven’t seen too many sore heads this morning, so fingers crossed everyone’s feeling fresh and ready to learn!

I’ll be giving you a behind the scenes view on what’s happening, as it happens – as well as covering some of the key talks happening over on the Strategist Track so you don’t miss the content that matters to you.

This blog will be regularly updated throughout the day, so keep it open in your browser and check back for new posts. I’ll be adding the newest posts to the top (just under this intro) so you won’t need to keep endlessly scrolling for all the hot content.

Also, you can follow along on the hashtag #NYKCONF over on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re here at the event, you can use our custom Snapchat filter, too. Technology!

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Updates to follow – check back for more and follow @Brandwatch and the #NYKCONF hashtag on Twitter and Instagram

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