Key Takeaways from Interface 2024

We wanted to take a few moments to share our highlights and key takeaways from the day.  Appropriately, we are tying back our key learnings to what we know about supporting human storytelling:

We recently partnered with Art Guild, a trade show, events and exhibitions firm to host a thought leadership event called Interface. The focus for this year’s event was on storytelling.  Specifically, we developed sessions that explored connecting a brand’s story across various customer interactions – physical spaces and structures, digital engagement and human-to-human conversations.

The event featured some dynamic presentations and great learnings for the attendees.  Below are my biggest takeaways from the ideas that were shared:

  • Technology is only as good as the user – Kyle Morris from NMR Events did a great job explaining the power – and risks – of using technology in creative ways.  He astutely pointed out that amazing technology is nothing more than a sunk cost if your people don’t embrace it and use it as a tool to enhance their story.  Anyone ever have a failed CRM launch (spoiler…everyone has)?!  Always ask yourself if you are making the storyteller better with technology, or adding to their burden.
  • “Show” is so much better than just “tell” – Stories are better with pictures…or graphics, or videos, or charts or other supporting evidence to capture the imagination.  Rob Steel from Art Guild shared examples where retail displays using multimedia to demonstrate the product’s unique attributes.  Give your sales teams the same tools!  Getting them to deliver the story perfectly is so hard.  Give them creative ways to demonstrate the story in action, and you pull your customer even closer.
  • Know your storytellers before giving them a new story – Our team shared statistics with the audience about sales teams and other customer-facing roles. The data included insights on which segments of frontline teams are most likely to be adopters of the company’s message and share that message enthusiastically.  Frontline adoption can vary based on tenure, geography, role and a variety of other factors.  Attendees were fascinated, with many commenting that they know so little about their own teams that they rely upon to serve customers.  The lesson is to listen to these teams and do the work to understand them better.  It will make your efforts to support them more efficient and effective.
  • Face-to-Face is hard to replace – This is more of an overall conclusion from the event.  It is great to see people in person.  It is great to feed off the energy of the setting and people around.  That is what makes Interface such a valuable exchange.  The same goes for your sellers.  Zoom?  Fine.  Microsoft Teams?  Okay.  Neither replaces the connection people can make in a face-to-face setting.  Sellers can pick up on cues.  They can use their emotional intelligence to build trust and empathize.  They can take note of what is happening around them and adjust accordingly.  This is all much harder to accomplish behind a blurred background on a video call.

Interface 2024 was a chance for people to look at the bigger picture of how their company’s story is being told.  Just like the rest of the attendees, I left with a better perspective on how storytelling can be improved to drive better sales performance and brand loyalty.

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