Held at the Ogilvy Centre yesterday evening, Ogilvy launched The Open Room which is an initiative aimed at bringing together brands and social media players(think content creators – bloggers, podcasters, videocasters, etc…) together. Although I’m not entirely sure of what it’s about, I get the feeling its a series of events/meetups to bridge the gap between companies and the blogosphere. Although I thought that the event was quite reasonable in size, I was told that yesterday’s event was larger than intended with more small-scale and cosier events being lined up.
I arrived about half an hour late and first went up to the Intel booth where their representative(I’m sorry but I forgot his name) was showing the classmate PC and a prototype of a wall mounted player that looked like a huge kickass mp3 player. The conversation ended rather abruptly when I started to meet familiar people and we ended up talking about random stuff before heading over the Sony Playstation area. We had wanted to play the PS3, but we didn’t really know how to and there was no one there…so we moved on quite quickly to the Nokia N-gage area where we were greeted by “Shi” and Keith. They showed us a yet-to-be released N96(sorry, I forgot the pictures) while I busily tried to play their game that was hooked up to the TV. It was some street fighting game and I got my sorry ass kicked by the AI female player.
It was then that I realised that I hadn’t missed the opening because soon enough, Tania made the opening introductions before having John Bell, head of Ogilvy PR’s global 360° Digital Influence, talk more about what they’re doing. He focused quite a bit on explaining their Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics. While it seems like that’s quite a long set of ‘policies’, it does feel assuring that they are taking steps to understand and maintain a certain set of standards for which personal space is respected yet forge a practical working relationship with the blogosphere.
And this was where the fun really began. With the event officially started, the networking went into full swing. Amongst the many people I met were Jakrapong from Yahoo, Randall from 77th Street(he coincidentally had liaised with me before on a YOG matter…I’m surprised he recognised my name), John Bell himself and many others. I think companies that had official ‘booths’ were Intel, Sony PS3, Nokia and Canon. Not sure if I missed anyone but those the ones that I noticed. I think the PS3 area was rather obscure despite the huge screens. Of course there were the bloggers that I met up with like Preetam(whom I haven’t seen in ages) and the usual gang(Jean, DK, Tianhong, Rinaz, Sheylara, Tech65 guys). I also talked to highwayblogger and Nadnut in person for for the first time! ( Who has the photo with Nadnut, Jean and me? )
All in all, I thought that the event was a good one because it had a clear objective of bringing companies who wanted to connect with bloggers. This probably added to the atmosphere of people connecting with people rather than the normal networking sessions where everyone’s actually just sizing up each other’s company and the services that they bring to the table. That said, the understanding of this ‘bonding’ process is still very much in need of refinement because it’s still quite apparent that some companies didn’t know how to engage the bloggers(check out this comment).
It’s really simple actually, bloggers are people too. Take an interest in who they are and what they do. They watch movies too, they have their gripes about life, they’ve got an opinion about the food that’s being served, ask them which phone they’re using and what they’re looking for in a phone or something. Basically, make a new friend. If you makes friends with them, they’ll naturally want to know about what you do…and of course, what your brands/products are too.