27 Jul 2018
Unbound London 2018

The Luminous List: Unbound London 2018

Review: Unbound London 2018

Thought we’d have had our fill of conferences after London Tech Week 2018? Think again!

Last week, we headed to Unbound London 2018: one of Europe’s largest tech conferences. The award-winning event brings together the hottest tech brands, with over 5,000 delegates eager to experience how innovation is changing our world. This year’s event took place on Wednesday 18 to Thursday 19 July, at the Old Truman Brewery in London.

It was a busy couple of days, full of fascinating presentations, workshops, and a buzzing exhibition. The team had a great time absorbing the sights and sounds of Unbound, and we certainly learned a thing or two.

In honour of Unbound London, we’re going to do something a little different with the Luminous List this month. Here’s our roundup of the most exciting things we saw at the conference, as well as a couple of clangers we think they need to improve for next year.


Hot stuff ?

Rory Sutherland on Behavioral Economics

On Thursday morning, we settled in to hear the entertaining and charismatic Rory Sutherland – vice chairman at advertising agency, Ogilvy. Previously creative director at the firm for over 20 years, Rory now heads up Ogilvy’s behavioural sciences department.

In his keynote presentation, Rory posited that non-reason and non-logic are more valuable than reason and logic. He argues that logical marketers end up in the same place as everyone else. If you want to really stand out from the crowd, you have to do something that might not make any sense – like putting a meerkat in your advertising campaign.

Take Red Bull for example. It’s expensive and it tastes weird – and yet Rory argues that it’s the only drink that’s really managed to take on Coca-Cola. And why? They’re not trying to be better than Coca-Cola. He believes that the tiny can and strange taste makes us believe Red Bull is somehow medicinal; it’s successful because we believe it’s beneficial.

Based on Ogilvy’s work with behavioural economics, Rory argues that an illogical approach to marketing works because there isn’t a logical answer. If there were, Pepsi would taste as good as Coca-Cola, and none of us would be buying Red Bull. Our main takeaway from Rory’s keynote: test weird things, because your competitors won’t.


Panel: Nandos, IKEA, Canon, and BBC World Service Discuss Sustainability

On Wednesday morning, we enjoyed this thought-provoking panel discussion on the role corporate businesses play in sustainability.

The panel opened by discussing public enemy number one: plastic. Plastic was the 2018 Oxford Children’s Word of the Year, and not a week goes by where we don’t see a news story concerning the substance. And rightly so: the devasting impact of plastic on the environment is undeniable.

While moves to reduce the amount of plastic we use is overall positive, the panel raised the interesting point that if you totally eradicate plastic, food waste actually goes up. Clearly, sustainability is about striking the right balance. Both IKEA and Nandos also flagged their commitment to sustainable energy: by 2020, IKEA will produce more green energy than it can use.

However, Canon pointed out the elephant in the room when it comes to corporate sustainability. In order for us to truly protect our environment, we need to consume less stuff – at odds with what most businesses want. Typically, businesses have a linear mode of production: they create a product, customers use it until it breaks or becomes outdated, then it’s disposed of for a newer model. IKEA’s representative argued that we need a mindset shift, from linear to cyclical, in order to achieve real sustainability. Canon is already on the case, by increasing the number of refurbished rather than ‘brand new’ products it sells. They’re working to remove the stigma associated with buying refurbished products and incentivising sales staff to sell more of these.


Muse: the Brain Sensing Headband

One of the coolest things we saw at Unbound has to be Muse: a brain-sensing headband that helps the wearer to meditate.

As you meditate, Muse measures your brain activity. When you (inevitably) lose focus, Muse brings your attention back to your breath and the meditation through the gentle weather sounds playing in your earphones. The less focused you are, the louder the wind and rain sounds become.

Though we were a little unsure to start with, it does make it much simpler to meditate. Check out Melissa’s brain scan below:

The big spike in the middle is where she started ‘thinking about lasagne’ to check it was working… we’re impressed!

Scriberian Conference Doodles

We were really impressed with these gorgeous ‘live’ doodles by Scriberian. They summed up Unbound perfectly!


Hayley Cochrane on the Art and Science of Loyalty

Hayley Cochrane, head of digital at Mail Metro Media, delivered an interesting keynote on how to increase customer loyalty. She kicked off with a Leodardo Da Vinci quote: “study the art of scienc, study the science of art.”

According to Hayley, brands need to combine the right balance of art and science to create content that will keep customers coming back. According to Hayley, the average Mail Online reader comes back to the site 27 times a month.

Hayley believes that this impressive customer loyalty is due to the Mail’s commitment to creating the right content for their readers. While many publications are cutting costs and consolidating teams, the Mail has 600+ full-time journalists creating 1,500 articles and 560 videos per day. As a result, the Daily Mail homepage is over 40 metres long.

Mail Online Media also uses analytics to understand who’s viewing their content and what times, tailoring their offering to the lifestyles of their readers. Regardless of what you think about the Daily Mail, they clearly know a thing or two about reader loyalty. We’ll be paying close attention.


In an Elevator with UK Tech News

We finished off our first day at Unbound in a metaphorical elevator with Yessi Bello Perez, editor of UK Tech News, and Jonathan Azoulay, founder of tech recruitment service

Founded in France three years ago, is an online recruitment platform for developers. The service is used by over 2,000 tech brands, including the likes of GoPro, Deezer, Adobe, TripAdvisor, and SAP.

The company has grown fast, expanding from three to 100 employees in three years. Jonathan links’s success to its dedication to company culture: only ten employees have left the company over the last three years. However, he hates fundraising and says it’s the worst thing you have to do as an entrepreneur.


Not Hot ?

Wasteful Habits

As we mentioned above, we were very intrigued by the sustainability panel at this year’s Unbound festival. However, we were a little disappointed to see that Unbound’s interst in sustainability didn’t extend to practices at the festival. We saw lots of plastic straws, disposable coffee cups, and paper marketing materials – but no recycling facilities in sight.

Perhaps next year, Unbound?


Broken AirCon

They seemed to be having a little trouble with the aircon by the Future Stage. Hell’s Bells, it was sticky…


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