There are many conferences in the media industry but the ARF stand out to me because it is research centric. So pull out your pocket protectors and get ready for the ARF Re: Think conference which launches this Sunday at the Hilton. Each year the pressure is on to capture the most current research zeitgeist and report of the bleeding edge trends in the field.
I sat down with CEO and President Gayle Fuguitt to find out what we can expect from this year’s ARF Re:Think :
CW: You joined the ARF in 2013. What has changed since you first arrived?
GF: We've expanded well beyond New York City. We now have a West Coast ARF Network presence, as well as strong global representation on the world's stages. We've reinvigorated and connected our original research to more and more member companies and platforms: Neuroscience, new cross platform measurement solutions, Research Quality innovations and how to structure your organization for growth and success.
CW: What is the theme of this year’s Re:Think? Why was that theme chosen?
GF: This year's conference theme is "where leaders ignite growth." We chose it because growth is on everyone's agenda. "The future is here, it's just unevenly distributed," meaning there are great solutions in the over 220 original papers that were submitted and those that will be presented, which yield today's solutions and successes by the best and brightest global minds and leaders. And finally because "where" means if you miss being there you'll miss out on the connectivity that happens only at the ARF in these venues for networking on the most pressing issues of the day with the world's foremost leaders in advertising, marketing, insights, media tech, ad networks and solutions providers.
CW: What is the greatest challenge facing the industry today?
GF: Bandwidth: There are so many bright leaders and leading solutions and few have the time or resources to navigate them, "place bets" and read the results. Everyone seems to have their "head down." At the ARF we convened 42 of the brightest and most influential leaders on February 11 and created a handful of ground truth experiments in real time. Everyone was asked to be a "Venture Capitalist" and create something that would drive sales growth and innovation and that they would invest in. We did it in 4 hours.
CW: What is the greatest challenge facing research today?
GF: Research has the opportunity to reinvent, but there is a very narrow window. If today's researchers don't lead growth and change at their companies, they risk being left behind. Many realize that yesterday's "tools" aren't keeping up with today's C-Suite demands. They feel that they lack time, resources and in some cases respect, but the real need is courage, conviction and connectivity. So the very thing that leaders are tempted to do, stay at their desk and "hunker down and work harder," will be the thing that keeps them from growing and advancing.
CW: What do you hope conference attendees gain from this year's conference?
GF: New solutions to today's burning C-suite problems so when attendees go back to the office they can send solutions straight to the C-suite with credibility and confidence. Peer networking and support, new connections. Leadership examples showcasing successes in HOW new approaches are adopted and how successful organizations are built, versus just toolkit solutions.
This article first appeared in www.Mediapost.com