An impression of our Belgian Communities Smartees

After the successful Smartees in the Dutch office last Tuesday, it was the Belgian team’s turn on Thursday to engage and entertain the 60 attendees at the Communities Smartees.
Hakim Zemni, Managing Director Belgium, welcomed the audience and gave a short introduction on the theme of the day and what was coming next. He then gave the stage to Sam Berteloot, Managing Partner, who shared the story of ‘The Conversation Company’. The ubiquitous trend of consumers moving further, in the sense of becoming more empowered, makes that companies have to move forward as well. Sam described a couple of concrete examples of customer-oriented companies who possess the correct and clear company culture where people can make the difference. A short interaction with the audience made clear that very few attendees see their company as a ‘conversation company’, which clarifies the high level of attention during this first presentation of the afternoon.
Next up, Tom De Ruyck built on this story with his brand new presentation ‘the Consumer Consulting Board’. In the past five years the world has changed a lot, consumers have changed a lot and companies just watched it happen without doing anything. Companies have to know that nowadays, gut feeling is not enough; the main importance lies in consumer feeling, which results in the statement that customers are probably the best consultants one can hire. In order to fully engage your consumers within a research community, it’s crucial that they are both interested and interesting. A quote from the movie ‘The break-up’ could perfectly describe this need: “I don’t want you to do the dishes. I want you to want to do the dishes”. After all, consumer insights are becoming harder, better, faster and stronger. Companies should benefit from this, by introducing a CCO (Chief Consumer Officer).
After a short break on our sunny terrace, two describing cases were shared with the audience: the Brantano case, by Mieke Van Heddeghem and the ‘Everybody Famous’ community case, presented by Thomas Troch and Margriet Sergeant (strategic researcher at Famous). Thomas and Margriet elaborated on the story about the what, why and how of the ‘Everybody Famous’ community and even released a couple of interesting insights sent in by the 300 members of this community, for example for Vandemoortele’s new Dolca oil. The audience itself could even experience being part of this community for a moment, as Margriet first asked their opinion about a new William Lawson’s commercial before revealing the opinions of the actual community. These insights as well as the insights Mieke Van Heddeghem presented concerning what the female shoe shopper wants, gave the audience some nice examples which underpin the power of the Consumer Consulting Board.
To end the afternoon, the attendees witnessed a ‘fish bowl’ discussion. Just like in the Netherlands, 9 people were invited to discuss 3 statements concerning co-creation and structural collaboration, which resulted in some powerful discussions and a lot of hilarity. Our one-man jury Tom De Ruyck chose Sara Jane Deputter (account manager communication at FOD Economy) as the winner of the fish bowl discussion. Sara Jane received a copy of ‘the Conversation Company’ and joined the rest of the attendees for some bubbles and chatting.
We would like to thank all attendees for joining us. Thanks to your enthusiasm and interaction, we can yet again declare this Communities Smartees a successful one!
Check out the presentation on slideshare and take a look at the pictures on our Flickr acccount.

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