The name Matthew Scheckner may not be on the average person's vernacular. But make no mistake if you are an executive in one of these major companies - Amazon, Facebook, Google, Pepsi, Unilever, Coca Cola, McDonald’s,Mastercard, Nike, Microsoft or Walt Disney to name a few--not to mention the most serious conversations with Hollywood’s biggest names from Will Smith, Emma Stone, D L Hugley, Jimmy Fallon, Trevor Noah, to Larry David - then you know exactly who he is.
So, what in the world is Advertising Week and why should you care? Advertising Week is a one-of-a-kind experience, industry leaders gather from all over the world from the fields of marketing, communications, advertising, technology and brand professionals who experience the conference for a full week of seminars and workshops featuring the industry’s top subject matter experts. The evenings are filled with strategically organized networking functions with world-class entertainment; the list of past entertainers range from The Roots, NAS, Peking Duk, and Dua Lipa to name a few...
Now that I have your attention, let’s get down to business, the reason why you need to attend the upcoming New York Advertising Week--it is a business imperative. The information proves to be timeless and current and Matthew and his team continue to bring the most relevant speakers and brands to the stages.
This week-long event is an extraordinary opportunity to meet in-person all of the leading executives you have been trying to get on their calendars and after months of phone calls and emails - to no avail. This is an opportunity to learn precisely what and how industry leaders expect to receive information while informing you about their latest trends and strategies as to what makes their brands tick.
Too often we miss opportunities to actually be in an informal environment where everyone is on one accord with a sense of familia. It is in these private rooms where the most burning questions can be addressed. Since attending over the past two years, I have learned a great deal from the broad spectrum of plenary and general sessions that speak directly to our company’s short and long term goals and objectives - and, there are still so many more sessions that we just do not have the manpower to attend. The information presented is broad and far-reaching and quite frankly, priceless. This is could almost be promoted as University credits, as I have found these in-depth topics and discussions are priceless. I make it our business to attend annually.
We caught up with Matthew in between tours - Australia and the upcoming New York Conference.
Mathew in today's atmosphere, there is a shift in the way we do business. The whole world is our community. Advertising Week appears to have had the vision to anticipate and conceptualize the industry’s future well in advance.
Why is it important for the next generation of business owners to attend your conference?
Technology has disrupted or at the very least, altered, almost every aspect of human life. From the fundamentals and immediacy of one on one communication; to how we purchase everyday items; how to decide who to vote for, the impact of technology and influence is very real and transcends our industry. Advertising Week provides a one-stop-shop to hear from the very best and brightest on a broad range of issues which affect us all, at work and at home.
Why should this be considered as an investment in one’s future and community?
Understanding where we are, how we got there, and where we are going is at the heart of our expansive thought leadership agenda. Advertising Week is like a four-year university degree, in four days, at a fraction of the price.
Based on your current history of producing your conferences why is it so important to you that “the hard conversations are addressed in this sort of format at your conferences?
Authenticity is engrained in our DNA and this means having hard conversations on challenging issues like gender equality, diversity & inclusion, trust & transparency, mental health and wellness, the opioid crisis, helping Moms return to the workforce, a bi-partisan approach to gun safety and a panoply of other issues which start with but extend beyond our industry. These issues are important not just to us, but to everyone. So any and every opportunity we have to leverage the Advertising Week platform to move the needle on these and other real issues is just part of who we are.
What is the social responsibility of businesses to their community and making the world a better place?
Consumers are increasingly responsive to companies and brands that are trying to make the world a better place. So as Uniliver proved by wrapping themselves around sustainability, doing good can also be good for the bottom line.
Why is it important for you this issue are discussed that affect our economy and ultimately our lives?
Because I’m a husband, father, and a small business owner. As Nelson Mandelas said so eloquently,“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived; it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
The Future is Africa Questions
- You are hosting Advertising Week in Africa,
- Why is going to Africa important?
- What do you hope to gain from being there?
- Is this going to be a regular excursion?
- Are you identifying different continents and cities around the world to take Advertising Week?
Africa is our next frontier and we see a gap in the market . . . There is nothing on the scale of Advertising Week on the continent. We are also going on offense here in an area where much of the industry has been playing defense around the issues of diversity & inclusion. The industry continues to struggle with meaningful change around diversity and we think going to Africa makes quite a substantive statement about our determination to make an impact. As with all of the other global editions of Advertising Week, our game plan is to get the first one done and then hope it goes well enough to get to year two. Based on our track record, we think this is exactly what will happen in Johannesburg and that we will be back in 2020.
The world is changing rapidly-How are diversity, inclusion, and race impact the advertising market?
The industry has struggled around these issues and as the non-white demo continues to grow, this is as much a matter of business as it is a matter of political correctness. So getting the conversation right around diversity & inclusion is not only a social issue, it is a bottom-line issue. Brands should be talking to 100% of their prospective audience, not 50% . . .
Do you think social media is impacting how people see the brands products
Is this a good or bad thing?
A little bit of both. Social media has built a huge number of direct to consumer brands creating tremendous success stories, like Casper (beds and bedding), for example. There are also pitfalls, look at Olivia Jade and the fallout from the USC admissions scandal.
Is it manageable?
Not always, these things can take on a life of their own.
In looking at brands that usually have a face or a special personality to promote
Do you think there should be a trade-off with people of color, women or LBGTQ
Smart marketers and brands should want to engage with ALL of their prospective customers.
Have there been any studies to ascertain whether it matters to the major market who is the face? Are there still brands that are reluctant to bring in people of color?
I’m sure there are. Not everyone is enlightened.
Where to you see advertising and brand promotion in the near future?
Continuing to evolve and change, primarily around the convergence of content, technology, and distribution . . . A huge fundamental shift here is underway.
Do you see the Middle East as a future? Do you have a presence in the Middle East, why or why not?
Not yet, we have looked at a few opportunities but nothing that seemed so compelling causing us to act.
Do you think there is any other firm that can compete with you in this global conference that can make the bold move of bringing this conference to the Middle East?
We just stick to what we know how to do and not focus or worry about who else is out there.
What are some of the challenges you anticipate income to the Middle East?
We understand how important it is to learn about and respect culture so nothing new here for us. If and when we get the Middle East, we will do it a way that feels organic and authentic to whatever host country/city we are in.
Do you currently have any many delegates from the Middle East? If so within the last 5 years,? Have you seen an increasing or decreasing? and why?
Yes, it is a growth area.
Do you see the possibility of hosting such a conference in the region as a way to build race relations in the region?
Who would be your target audience, brands, and businesses?
Same as everywhere else at 30,000 feet - - a combination of brands, creatives, marketers, media, and technology players.
So with these words of wisdom, the real question remains-- are you minding your business? How will your business fair in this challenging economic time period?
So a trip to Advertising Week may be the investment you may need to give your business the boost we all are looking for.
There is no foolproof formula for any business. Many lessons are learned through trial and error. Surrounding yourself with those who have taken the risk before learning from their educated mistakes, taking notes and making changes yourself so that they only regret you won’t have is not trying.
One thing I know for sure - Advertising Week is the university, internship, ultimate networking event one can experience in this technology-driven arena. Where else can you meet with the CEO of the world's leading brands under one roof in three days? I dare you to try. Mr. Matthew Scheckner may just be the Jedi Master we have all been looking for.
*Photo credits: Special thanks to Street Dreams for all the images.