23rd April, 2014 at 7:00pm
You Can Now: Belong
| Shoreditch House — Free

This event fittingly focussed on the idea of membership and how organisations creatively engender loyalty and a sense of belonging among their audiences.

Hosted in the comfort of Shoreditch House’s fifth floor Library Space, speakers from all corners of creativity combined to offer insights on the theme of membership, loyalty, and belonging; topics “close to the heart” of YCN — as YCN Director Nick Defty explained in his brief introduction to an assembled group of YCN and Soho House members.

Kicking off the event was Jonathan Trimble, CEO of creative agency 18 Feet & Rising, and research partner Tom Goodwin, founder of X Marks the SpotTom began by sharing work completed with Jonathan and his team for the National Trust, explaining that after spending years working on Cheestrings and toilet-roll brands, he wanted to work on something "that made him feel good". 

Tom Goodwin of X Marks the Spot

Calling the National Trust “the ultimate case study of membership”, Tom described how he was able to identify a shared cause between the organisation and its members: a love of special places. These ideals were then brought to life by a striking campaign by 18 Feet & Rising, shared by Tom with the group.

Jonathan then presented a tongue-in-cheek transactional analysis of what it’s like to work in advertising. He dismissed the extensive working hours, comparatively low pay, and ideas to ideas made ratio; explaining that it’s the sense of belonging and shared values that can make it all worth it.

Jonathan Trimble of 18 Feet & Rising

“Companies that focus on shared values do better in the long run,” said Jonathan, before discussing the ideals of his own company, and ultimately concluding that a sense of belonging is more valuable than transactional benefits alone.

Jonathan and Tom then kindly fielded questions on 18 Feet & Rising’s campaigns and approach

Next to address the group was Matt Jones. Part of the Scout’s in-house creative team, Matt introduced the Scouts as “probably the oldest membership organisation in the world,” and added that it is present in “all but five of the world’s countries.”

Matt Jones of the Scout Association

But what is Scouting? Defining it not as a youth club, society, or cult, but as a “movement”, Matt highlighted the inherent sense of belonging that has always defined the organisation and how user-generated content has been helpful in emphasising this in a digital age.

“The spirit of ramshackle invention still at the heart of Scouts,” Matt said, before going on to relay what membership means to the organisation today, and stating that they “have to grow and attract people to the fun and challenge of the Scouts.”

Due to a shortage of volunteer Scout leaders, there’s currently a 38,000 long waiting list for people to join. Matt encouraged the audience to consider offering some time, no matter how little, to allow more young people to join. “Young people are still at the heart of Scouts.”

Matt and his team have recently facilitated some engaging and effective content, including this video from a six year old called Noah.

Matt concluded by saying he’s “confident that the future of Scouts is bright.”

The final speaker of the evening was Steve Watson, founder of Stack, a subscription service for independent magazines. He began by stating that despite their “beautiful design and editorial”, independent magazines make for “shocking business models.”

Steve Watson, Founder of Stack

Although the expenses make for rough business, independent magazines are “all excellent at building communities, and “subscription is an important part of that,” Steve explained.

“You can belong to these magazines in airy-fairy ways; you can follow them on Instagram and on Twitter. But we’re interested in more meaningful belonging,” Steve continued. He then highlighted three independent magazines and Stack inclusions - Delayed Gratification, Oh Comely and The Wire - as examples of magazines that excel in terms of brand affiliation, and generating reader loyalty.

Most magazines offer simple transactional benefits through their subscription services. But Steve beleives the best magazines offer more to create that strong sense of belonging. He confessed though, that in terms of generating that sense of belonging, mainstream magazines often have the resource and momentum to do it better.

Steve singled out Monocle for its “egregious, genius and brilliant” methods of developing brand loyalty, and creating the ‘Monocle Man’, an image of the subscriber. He also praised Elle for its use of collector’s editions and insider membership. He emphasised the importance of creating the image of the subscriber, and then giving people the means to become it. “The best magazines don’t just sell to subscribers… they create them.”

A big thanks to our speakers, and all who came along, for a stimulating and memorable evening.

YCN Members get priority places for all YCN events, both those hosted at 72 Rivington Street and externally. Not yet a Member? Find out the plentiful benefits of joining here.

Event Details
  • Location:
    Shoreditch House Library,
    Ebor Street,
    London, E1 6AW,
    United Kingdom
  • Start:
    23rd April, 2014 at 7:00pm
  • End:
    23rd April, 2014 at 9:00pm

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