Mel Carson, ex-Microsoft Digital Marketing Evangelist

Mel Carson, ex-Microsoft Digital Marketing Evangelist

If you haven’t heard, Bend is a growing epicenter in Oregon for entrepreneurial innovation. It’s also just a rad and inspiring place full of opportunities all-around for business leaders. So it should come as no surprise that Bend is the host of Swivel Marketing Conference, a holistic digital marketing conference that’s all about search, social media, design, and creative. Attracting some of the industry’s most dynamic movers and shakers, Swivel brings the local marketing community together—which is something we can always get behind.

Since we had the pleasure of attending this year, here are a few of the highlights – compliments of the keynote speakers who left us with a lasting positive impression.


Mel Carson, a former Pan-European Search Media Strategist at Microsoftdiscussed how the lines between work-life balance are becoming increasingly blurred. As a result, your personal branding is more important than ever.

“Personal branding is the practice of defining your professional purpose and being able to articulate your experience and value to your target audience through digital media and in-person.” -Mel Carson

In order to achieve this, put the customer at the heart of what you’re doing–just like with any brand. A few key considerations he included:

  • Think about all the touchpoints of how people will find you online. What will their experiences and interactions with you be?
  • Ask yourself: In 10 years’ time, what is that online version of you going to look like?


Professional Storyteller and Consultant Kindra Hall spent her hour on stage weaving a story for the audience on how to use creative writing and storytelling to strengthen your marketing. Always remember, Hall stated, that there is a person on the other end of our marketing efforts. Storytelling is how we get through to those people. This is because humans are naturally attracted to story—it’s science!

For example, a study on Facebook measured the impact of a sequential ad campaign telling a story, vs. three ads that had a sustained CTA. The sequential ad campaign gained 56% more subscribers and 87% more views. Those are some big numbers that definitely can’t be ignored.

“The biggest storytelling mistake we often make is that we allude to the story; we don’t actually tell it.” -Kindra Hall

Part of the reason for this is because our stories don’t sound like stories to us, they just sound like life. Once you flesh it all out and think about how others can relate to your experiences, you’ll have a better chance of connecting with people and creating memorable content that your customers actually want to read.


Cal McAllister, CEO of Wexley School for Girls, taught us all about joy. Joy, McAllister explained, is a simple word, but it’s an important one. We see every day how children have so much joy, and how it gives them energy. So how can we learn from this in our own lives as adults? First off, we need to recognize that stress zaps energy, but joy builds resiliency. Compassion can be a “shortcut” to joy, like the good feeling you get when you spend a day volunteering.

Brands can channel joy into their marketing by using compassion to make the world a better place. LiveStrong made those yellow bracelets to help support people affected by cancer. Project (RED) allowed consumers to buy products with the (RED) logo to send aid for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB to Africa. Toms made the one-for-one concept a mainstream practice. And the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised $115 million for the ALS Foundation in 2014.

“If we’re going to use our power as evil marketers, we might as well use it for good. This is exciting. Be the best part of someone’s day. If we can start swinging that pendulum, the more people will get behind us, and the more successful we all can be.” -Cal McAllister

Did you go to Swivel this year? What were your takeaways? #SwivelNow