The Indie Forum: Agenda

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The Indie Forum was spread over three days.

You could buy a one-day ticket for the day that interests you most (£20), or attend all three days (£50). Or, you could bring along your whole agency for just £95!

Here’s the agenda…

14.00 Julian Boulding: intro and welcome

14.05 Colin Phua, China and Singapore: “Commerce Livestreaming in China – An E-commerce Evolution”

Colin Phua, China & Singapore: Colin is CEO and Founder of Captive Media in Shanghai and Captive Interactive in Singapore. 

For the last ten years, Chinese firms like TenCent and Ali Baba have led the world in combining social media with e-commerce. What China does today, the world will do tomorrow. In this session, Colin looks at the development of commerce live-streaming – a phenomenon in China, and now one of the fastest growing means of social communication in the Western world also, through platforms like Taobao Live, Facebook Live and Douyin/TikTok. 

14.30 Ian Forrester, DAIVID, Australia/UK: “Emotional Artificial Intelligence: Oxymoron or the future of Advertising”

Following a six-year stint at Unruly, where he was Global SVP of Insight and Solutions, plus a couple of years at influencer marketing agency Whalar, Ian is now founder and CEO of DAIVID. DAIVID uses advanced artificial intelligence to analyse and pre-test and optimise creative content and media context simultaneously. It’s being adopted by some leading creative and media holding company agencies and is now also accessible to independents. Ian’s presentation will look at how AI is currently being used in performance advertising – and how the new science will add emotional analysis to today’s performance metrics.

15.00 Roger Darashah, Portugal and co-founders, NEMO: “A little bit of data, on my side”

Roger is an alumnus of India’s largest independent PR firm, Adfactors as well as Edelman and Weber, previously working in London, Paris, Barcelona, Sao Paulo as well as most recently Mumbai.

He is also a partner in Applied Analytics, developer of NEMO (“Needs and Emotions”) – one of the most ambitious new marketing and technology firms we have seen. NEMO uses advanced AI and Machine learning technologies to interpret the voice of society.  Yes, the very same society that brands want to sell to, recruit, obtain funding from, engage, partner with . . . that voice!

In the founder’s words, “For decades, while working to manage and enhance the performance of humans in varied contexts, we observed how outcomes dependent on a correlation between information, intelligence, needs, emotions and actions of individuals and collective units. We codified to correlations to design NEMO.”

In Roger’s words: “We’ve developed a technique that mimics the way humans think; instead of analysing the contents of the universe (and everything in between), we focus on only what matters . . . . . . to humans.”

NEMO will arm your pitches and insights with real data – but not the sort that inhibits your creativity; quite the opposite. It will transform it. 

15.30 Curtis Hougland, Mainstreet One, USA

Curtis is Founder and CEO of Mainstreet One, a leading technology-driven communications consultancy in New York. Mainstreet One works for coroprates, NGO’s, cause marketers and extensively for political leaders in the USA, delivering “messages people are ready to believe, delivered by messengers they already trust.” Curtis and his colleagues were deeply involved in the successful Biden-Harris Presidential campaign as well as the Georgia special senate run-off and other key races. This is advanced data science, originally developed for DARPA to fight global terrorism, delivering globally significant outcomes in the service of mainstream political and social causes.

16.00 Breakouts for people who’d like to stay and chat with speakers and fellow participants

16.15: Media and tech: a discussion

With MediaCom recently announcing its plans to re-unit media, data and creative in one unit, how will the independent media agency of tomorrow create a significant point-of-difference when pitching for new clients and, seeking to attract new talent.  

Is a boutique approach enough?  Will indie media agencies of the future need a ‘creative department’?  Can new technology level the playing field?

Please join us to hear what our expert panel think

Left to right…

Larry Cohen, SVP Customer Success & Data Strategy, Nabler, USA, India & Singapore

John Marraffino, Owner VMC Media, Canada

Glenda Wynyard, Managing Director, The Media Precinct, Australia

Martin Albrecht, CEO CROSSMEDIA Worldwide



14.00 Meera Sharath Chandra, India: “Wash. Rinse. Repeat.”

Meera is Founder, CEO and CCO of Tigress Tigress, a cross-border creative consultancy based in Mumbai, India. She is also the eponymous author of “ The Me Era”, a new book chronicling “Marketing in an age when consumers are the real brands. And brands are the real consumers.” Philip Thomas, Chairman of Cannes Lions, writes, “Looking at the world’s best marketing ideas through the lens of what it means to be human, she has created a blueprint for marketing in today’s world.”

14.30 Jane Cunningham and Philippa Roberts, UK

Jane and Philippa held management and strategy roles at traditional agencies like Ogilvy and DDB, before leaving to found PLH Research in 2006. Today, PLH is the UK’s leading research consultancy specialising in female audiences. Jane and Philippa’s new book, ‘Brandsplaining’, based on a survey of 14,000 women and thousands of hours of discussion groups, reveals how “Brands profit from telling women who they are and how to be, while women’s real experiences, wants and needs – in all forms – are ignored and mis-represented by an industry which fails to understand us.”

Jane Cunningham, Co-Founder, PLHresearch, UK

Philippa Roberts, Co-Founder, PLHresearch, UK

15.00 Heetal Dattani, Shweta Iyer and Priya Jayaraman, India, The “she” storytellers

Heetal, Shweta and Priya- A Brand-Creative-Tech Trio are Co-Founders of (we think) one of the most exciting start-up creative consultancies in the world today – the Nine Yards Consultancy.

From their virtual HQ in Mumbai, Nine Yards is already creating impactful work for brands in Asia, Europe and the US. Nine Yards is the traditional length of an Indian sari and is also the length that they will go to weave in a relevant female perspective into your brand story. In their words, “We’re your brands bff. Perhaps a 5 am friend. Or Mom. Or it’s better half. We listen to your customer because we’re cut from the same fabric and embody the same values. We believe that the time has come for brands to make more meaningful connections with the gender that matters most.”
Heetal Datta, Co-Founder, Nine Yards Communication Consultancy, India

Shweta Iyer, Co-Founder, Nine Yards Communication Consultancy, India

Priya Jayaraman, Co-Founder, Nine Yards Communication Consultancy, India

15.30 Marissa Orr, USA: “The Truth About Women and Power in the Workplace”

Marissa was scheduled to be the Keynote speaker of our live 2020 Indie Summit in London, which sadly we had to cancel due to the pandemic. We are delighted that she has agreed to address our virtual Indie Forum in 2021.

A former executive of both Facebook and Google, she is the author of “Lean Out”, a thought-provoking and challenging book which sets out to explain why 50 years after the US Equal Pay Act and despite the half-billion dollars spent annually on Corporate diversity programs, only 5 per sent of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women. In her words, “What have we gotten wrong about women at work?” 

16.15 Breakouts for people who’d like to stay and chat

(evening: joining the Caples awards at 6pm)


14.00 “I’m a person, not a patient: how can the industry embrace the digital revolution to truly personalise healthcare?”

“Any colour so long as it is black.”  This was the immortal quote made by Henry Ford as he ushered in the era of mass production in 1909 – a philosophy then liberally applied by others to a multitude of unrelated industries, including healthcare.

Since then, medical science has advanced in ways unimaginable to anyone from that time. New treatments and medicines offer bespoke solutions to patients whilst, diagnostic techniques can even predict an individual’s statistical susceptibility to a specific future illness.

And yet, despite the tremendous advances in personalised medicine and digital care solutions, the healthcare industry is often accused of taking a ‘mass-market approach’ and, treating the patient and not understanding the person.

What does the ‘digital healthcare’ future really look like? How can the healthcare industry become more ‘customer-centric’? Could better healthcare experiences lead to improved outcomes and cost-efficiency?

To address these issues and more, in a stimulating discussion please join our guest interviewer Peter Comber and exciting guests from across the industry including…

Left to right…

Paul Balagot: Chief Experience Officer, PRECISIONeffect

Seth Gordon: General Manager, EVERSANA ENGAGE

Monika James: Business Director, Healthy Thinking Group Asia 

Trish Shepherd: Global Head of Business Development OPEN Health


15.00 Tony Walford, UK: “Looking forward? Follow the money!”

Tony was formerly COO at Corporate Edge, now a partner at leading marketing and agency M&A Consultancy, Green Square. He’s also one of the most insightful and incisive commentators on why some of today’s independent agencies succeed and others fail – why holding companies are going through tough times – and what the new generation of Private Equity investors are seeking from the agencies they choose to invest in. A word of warning: Agency Owners listening to this presentation might want to cancel their engagements for the next few days…

15.45 Debate: This House believes that “Over the next five years, technology will be more important than talent in our industry.”

A good debate will entertain you, and make you think, in equal measure. This debate brings together four leading lights of marketing and communications to debate the relative importance of the two crucial drivers of our industry right now: talent and technology.

Left to right…

Gregor C. Blach, Managing Partner, WE DO, Germany

Sally Henderson, The High-Stakes Leadership Mentor, UK

Elli Tuominen, Founder, Kurio, Finland

Paul Phelps, Chief Executive, AMS Media Group, UK

Chaired by Julian Boulding, President, thenetworkone


BONUS OPTION: A 3 day series of workshops –

The Seven E’s of Engagement – with Patrick Collister

Patrick Collister is one of the World’s Leading Creative Directors – and thinkers about our business.

His award-winning career has included long-term creative leadership roles at agencies as diverse as Ogilvy, EHS Brann and the Google Zoo.

Today, he works as a creative NED, edits the Directory, Curates the Caples awards and provides creative coaching and training to agencies around the world.

Patrick kindly agreed to provide course of three online workshops, two hours each day, for a small-ish group of up to 20 people, to coincide with the Indie Summit.

The theme is “The 7E’s of Engagement” – a compelling distillation of Patrick’s unique learnings and experiences on how to get customers interested in what you have to say.



We would like to thank our wonderful sponsors for their support of this event.  Please do check out their websites.



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