The inaugural NameSummit Digital Branding Conference just wrapped up at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan Hotel in NYC. If you didn’t attend the two day show you may be wondering if cofounders Steven Kaziyev and Jason Schaeffer managed to pull off a everything they had planned in such a short amount of planning time.
The goal of the conference was to ignite thought and discussion around branding in all its forms in our digital world. Flipping through the event guide it was clear that Steven and Jason were connecting dots across our industry and that NameSummit wasn’t purely a domaining conference.
The line up of speakers were billed to address: what’s driving search, understanding your audience, developing and deploying content, the evolution of domain names, new technologies (Blockchain), the role of business coaching through an incubator and how aligning and caring for your brand is essential in today’s digital world. It was an ambitious goal!
On arriving at the Hilton, I made my way up to the Trianon Ballroom, checked in and was immediately struck by the amount of Verisign branding! I admit that my expectation was that .NYC would be more prominent especially with Steve being an investor, Neustar’s Lori Anne Wardi being on a panel, OwnIt.NYC having a full page ad in the conference guide and let’s not forget this is one of the first “domain related” conferences in the Big Apple. This was the first time that I had to remind myself that the event was more than domains and especially more than the .NYC TLD and I think that’s a good thing – to escape the .NYC bubble that I often live in.
My son loved the .com and .net cars (must say he hasn’t played with the .net car too much!)
Throughout these two days there were a few notable panels and presentations.
- Roberto Blake (who at one point I thought was a co-founder because he was in so many panels) did a great job explaining the role of an influencer and also describing his process planning and creating content for his blog and YouTube.
- Lisa Bloom was amazing at discussing protecting your personal brand. She casually chatted about some of the legal cases she’s been involved with, how what we communicate at all times may have positive or negative consequences and how this relates to building our profiles, websites and businesses.
- Jeff Sass from the .CLUB registry discussed his TLD and the wave of new gTLDs in general. How building community aids the brand, its growth and the overall health of the TLD. It was interesting to rediscover .CLUB’s original game plan and their target audiences – it really made sense.
- Lori Anne Wardi (Neustar/.NYC), Art Malkov (Silicon.NYC) and John Colascione (LongIsland.com) were the panel I was anticipating the most – “A New York State of Mind – .NYC Branding and Creating a Global/Local Brand”. It was nice to hear John’s story of being a rival of and then acquiring LongIsland.com and of course to hear Lori’s update on the .NYC registry and the progress the TLD has made. Art had interesting information on how a couple of his websites Souvenirs.NYC and Silicon.NYC started and the success he’s seen in part by having websites built on .NYC domain names.
- Gerard Adams (FOWNDERS) discussed influencer branding and social currency as well as FOWNDERS his social impact startup accelerator. One thing that resonated for me during the panel was “be vulnerable” – being open, honest and vulnerable can do great things to build your authentic brand. Before reading up on the presenters prior to the conference I knew absolutely nothing about Gerard and after a quick search I arrived at his video series. The production quality is amazing and the content and message is of great value. This is no ordinary vlog series and personally, as a NYC high school teacher, I know many of the messages in his videos would connect and are valuable for out young adults and future leaders.
- Stacee Mandeville had us standing on our feet, roaring like lions and revealing our secrets to strangers as she presented “Body of Power – Branding Through Body Language”. It was in this activity that I was very happy to meet Bill Doshier of the .Buzz registry.
There were many other great experiences I had at NameSummit and the sessions and panels were well organized around food and some networking opportunities. With so many people from related industries, a little more networking time during the day would have been useful.
So Steve and Jason, you did it! We now have a great “digital branding / content creation / social media influencer / domain name conference based in New York City! Well worth attending next year if you missed it.