Hyper Island Looks for Next-generation Marketers

Jaclyn Ciamillo (left) and her Hyper Island colleagues spread the word.

SNEAK PEEK FROM OUR NOVEMBER ISSUE: With five weeks to go before its Master Class in early December, Hyper Island is trying to bring B.C. marketing education to a new level

Not many conferences require strict confidentiality about fellow participants.

Fewer still then proceed to ask attendees to write out insecurities and paranoia about their professional life—psychotherapy style—all before lunch.

But Hyper Island is configured for advertising and marketing professionals and, given the industry’s annihilation over the past five years, extreme, invasive measures are welcome anathema to hyperbolic breakfast series, keynotes and professional development as usual. Even if, in Hyper Island’s case, intervention costs $4,000 and requires three days off from a crammed, over-scheduled life.

“Hyper Island is learning by doing,” says Jordan Eshpeter from Vancouver-based web agency Domain7 who attended the conference’s “Master Class” program in Manhattan last year. “It is experiential—almost physical. The Master Class begins with beautiful moments of confession and vulnerability. This sets the stage for a highly creative and playful dynamic,” he says. Attendees laud the Swedish-based education events company’s sweet spot between high-level vision and in-the-trenches execution—acting on conceptual, real-world presentations with what Eshpeter calls “brainstorming, problem solving, presentations, paper-napkin prototyping and times of reflection that are directly relevant to your real-world business challenges.” According to the company’s slick literature, the Master Class is designed to increase comprehension of the way digital and scientific advances are changing societal and then consumer behaviour. The mind-blower, say many graduates, is finding how your organization needs to adapt to stay creative and competitive.

Hyper Island Takeaways

From the man who brought it to Vancouver
“You’re either disrupting your industry or protecting a problem.” 
Everyone in the room came from successful companies with profitable business units. However, few companies are spending on innovation—working on a product that, if introduced by a competitor, would put them out of business. Disruption comes from the bottom-up because change is so difficult for major players. 
“Make it wildly useful or wildly entertaining.”
Its no secret that classic interruptive advertising has fallen out of favour and companies clamour to produce high-grade, multi-channel content for their customers on the off chance it gets shared or goes ‘viral’. Now more than ever, it just plain ol’ must be amazing.
“Live in constant beta.”

No idea, company or campaign (or website for that matter) is ever complete. A major part of the digital paradigm-shift is that pixel-perfect designs must become adaptable and fluid. The “big idea” is now replaced by many small, agile ideas that only become “big” once they’re out in the wild. Seth Godin says to “Ship often, ship constantly.” Digital allows us to ship our ideas then iterate—to live in constant beta.

“The challenge these days is not adopting new technologies or innovating towards new ones,” says Eshpeter. “The challenge is shifting habits, cultures, processes, org-charts and mindsets towards agility. The speed that new technologies come to market, upset industries and change human behaviour is unprecedented.”

But come next month, B.C. marketing executives like Vancouver-based Lululemon vice-president of digital and brand strategy Nancy Richardson, who brought her three-person leadership team to New York (Hyper Island’s North American base), will have the opportunity to study positive disruption closer to home. That’s because, from December 4–6, Hyper Island is making its Canadian debut at the Museum of Vancouver, coaxed to the West Coast by Eshpeter and Richard Sandor from Eustress Marketing Coaching.

New York-based Jaclyn Ciamillo, Global Partnership Director at Hyper Island, says she’s been considering Vancouver for several years after hosting an event in Toronto. The local marketplace is primed for an entirely different approach to analyzing the marketing landscape, she says, and she promises Vancouver participants an unprecedented three days.

“Our [teacher] network houses some of the most sought-after leaders in business consulting, advertising, journalism, education, the tech industry, and more,” she says. “These people are leaders of change with proven track records of success and experience of learning from failures.” She adds that instructors are tailored to each class’ participants. “Facilitators and speakers are determined during our planning phase… [and] includes surveying and interviewing all participants to manage expectations and ensure we’re touching on the right topics. For tickets, check out hpr.is/vancouver.