What We’ve Learned – May 2018

  • May 18, 2018
  • Kersa Haughey

One of our internal mantras here at INK is, “growth is good.” While this is certainly reflective of our overall growth as a company, a big part of that is how we are expanding our knowledge around our craft. Whether it’s via clients, working with our integrated teams made up of members from specialized departments (MR/AR, Research, Content, Social), or professional development opportunities, INKers are constantly digging into new material.

To share the wealth, we are introducing “What We’ve Learned,” a monthly column discussing the best bits of knowledge that we’ve picked up. This month we are kicking things off by highlighting the experiences of INKers who attended conferences in May via INK’s professional development program, which sends employees to a conference of their choice each year. Below are their top takeaways in their own words:


At the Content Marketing Conference (May 2-4), one thing was clear: the world doesn’t need more bad content. A huge part of our role as communicators at INK is to create content that breaks through the noise – content with impact, content that drives change. The speakers at CMC had plenty to say about just how to do this. My three biggest takeaways:

  • Be Generous: Think about the problem you can solve for your audience and solve it.
  • Be Human: Connect through pain points and shared experiences because the end of laughter is followed by the height of listening.
  • Be Bold: Write without bullshit. Say things that matter. Question generalizations, do your research and seek measurable truth.

For more, check out my full recap of the event.


Last week, I attended Adobe 99U in NYC. The conference was centered around the theme “Challenge Everything.” Speaker talks touched on the challenges that find their way into our lives daily – how we use them to grow ourselves, the teams we’re part of and the work we create.

A commonality across the presentations was utilizing a company’s most valuable resource – its people. As a manager, encouraging and harnessing the unique personalities that make up a team is key. While doing something yourself may be the easiest or fastest way to get something done, it’s not always the most effective. A hard reminder is that your way is not the only way to do something, it may not even be the best way. In the words of speaker Adam J. Kurtz, “You’re not special”.


I had a blast attending the 99U Conference in NYC, and I learned so much. Taking time to shake things up and hop out of my usual routine is so important for the ole’ noggin. My top takeaways included badass designer and agency owner Tina Roth Eisenbery’s reminder to bring the joy. We don’t have to separate our work selves from our home selves (if we don’t want to) – be who you are and for god sakes be joyful about it when you can. Tina (we’re totally on a first name situation) also gave us a great equation for leadership, “Kindness + Empathy = Loyalty”. Todd Yellin is this zany filmmaker now in the top ranks of Netflix, also dropped some math us, stating that a “culture of consensus is nothing but the lowest common denominator”. It is nearly impossible to innovate and have great ideas if you don’t create some type of space for dissent. ✊

And finally, the self-titled “Experimental Person in Charge” of Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney, Tea Uglow, repeated a mantra statement very near and dear to my heart (and super accurate if you have ever met me) “remember, you don’t always have to know where you are going”. In fact, I believe life is better when you don’t.


Last week, I attended Brandwatch NYK in Chicago, where data-driven social strategy (my favorite!) was the overarching theme. Although content tends to be the overarching theme at social conferences, NYK focused on the audience itself.

Laurie Santos, a psychology professor at Yale, spoke about humans’ innate desire to share our thoughts and experiences with others, and how this correlates to social media use and behavior; Brigette Majewski from Forrester discussed the evolution of the customer experience and how empowered buyers are demanding more attention from brands than ever, diving into what exactly makes an empowered customer and how brands can evolve with them. Additional sessions included speakers from Twitter, Monsanto, Spredfast, and other global brands. As digital marketers, we tend hear “content is king” over and over, but perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that the audience is king. Regardless of who reigns over digital marketing, I came out of NYK with fresh ideas and approaches for our clients’ programs.

Other good stuff in here