Alt Summit 2018 Recap
No need to adjust your screens folks. You have indeed landed on the Lucky Break blog! I’m Angie, and I’m the Client Concierge here at Lucky Break Consulting. I recently returned back from Alt Summit, and I’m thrilled to be guest posting and sharing my experience from one of the largest and most notable events targeted for social media brand marketers, female entrepreneurs, and influencers (formerly known as bloggers).
What is Alt?
Alt is a yearly conference that started in its early days as a blogger-centric event targeting design and fashion bloggers. Since its inception in 2009, it has evolved into a networking hub for design-appreciative entrepreneurs, huge brands like Alaska Air, Joann, & Wayfare, and social media influencers and content creators across Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and the blog-o-sphere. The conference was set to the backdrop of the colorful Saguaro Palm Springs- only one of the most “Instagramable” hotels around!
Alt at a Glance
The event is broken up over several days with a variety of breakout sessions. Some are panels that revolve around topics like “Finding your Niche Market” or “Instagram Growth” featuring successful women (both brands and influencers). There were active roundtable sessions that allowed a featured expert the opportunity to engage in an in-depth conversation on a trending topic like “How To License Your Art To Companies” or “Site Redesign On A Budget” and, “Creating Content That Your Audience Feels A Part Of.” Sprinkled in between were workshops like “Flatlay Photography Basics” or a sponsored workshop by WordPress called “Daily Prompts” where they shared content ideas and how to drum through writer’s block. There were also help desks with slotted times for you to have 1:1 with an expert on an area you need consulting on, such as product manufacturing, podcasting, or design feedback.
Major brands have a strategic presence as well. Household names like Lowes, Sherwin Williams, Mixbook, La Croix, WordPress, and more create elaborate booths that were less about selling products, and more centered around developing community, sharing values, and allowing influencers to be part of a broader conversation. Brands want to find a way to connect with their target audience in a meaningful way, and these influencers wish to connect their audiences to brands that they know and trust. It’s a bit like a marketplace for brands and bloggers where everyone benefits.
Why Was I There?
I attended Alt under my own business, bobo design studio. At bobo, we create and design wanderlust-inspired goods for the rebellious bohemian woman. I’m also an established hand lettering and chalk lettering artist. This was my first year at Alt, and I was unsure of what I was getting myself into because I categorize myself as an early stage, emerging entrepreneur and product designer, not a blogger or “influencer.” However, the overall event has proven to be fruitful for my business. I have made some incredible connections in the weeks leading up to the event and during the conference itself. I am also seeing the wave of post-conference connections coming through as a result of the closed Facebook group, referrals, and social media.
What type of businesses or brands benefit from attending Alt Summit?
As I mentioned before, I would categorize myself as an emerging brand in its early stages having just completed BHB in Fall of 2017 (about 3-4 months ago). I’m a product-based brand focused on gaining brand recognition in the marketplace and with my MVP. With that said, I would say that Alt was the perfect fit for my brand because it was a conference where I was surrounded by other product designers, or distributors. I was engaging with my target audience.
If you are a product-based business hoping to do any of the following, then I would consider looking deeper into Alt Summit and how it might work into your calendar for 2019.
- You want to connect with female influencers in the 25-45 age range
- You are looking to target women who are within the fashion, home, travel, or family/mom verticals
- You are interested in collaborating with other brands
- You want to learn more about the social media space from Instagram, FB, trends, affiliate marketing, and blogging/content creation
- You want to have fun and be motivated by surrounding yourself with positive, inspiring, and influential women and brands.
What did I wish I knew in advance and what would I do differently?
I wish I knew or had a better understanding of the ecosystem as a whole between brands and influencers. At LBC we talk about “branding” a lot and what it means to connect with our target customers through our branding. I wish I had taken the time to learn a bit more about how the influencers play into that. I had a somewhat shallow, superficial impression of what I thought a “blogger” was, but I can say- without a doubt- I was wrong. These influencers come with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of loyal followers. They are thinking about their own personal branding, and what resonates with their audience. I think had I been more prepared to engage with them I could have found some meaningful partnerships to help grow my reach and introduce my brand to their following.
What did I ultimately get out of it, and will I go back?
Like any conference, you get out of the event what you put into it. I had to really reach out of my comfort zone, but in the end, it paid off ten-fold. I made some incredible connections, learned a lot of new concepts in the area of social media, product manufacturing, brand storytelling, and content creation. But most importantly, I left re-energized about my creative business. Will I go back? Absolutely! And I hope to see you there!
If you want to learn more about bobo design studio, you can do that by going to https://bobodesignstudio.com/ or follow me on http://instagram.com/bobodesignstudio or check out my lettering at http://instagram.com/bobolettering.
Fun Facts about Alt:
- This sells out quick. This year’s event sold out in less than 20 min.
- It’s a very open format that levels the playing field for all attendees. You never know who you are going to run into and have a conversation with. You could be talking someone who is a new business trying to make contacts, or the Creative Director for West Elm. Gotta have your A-Game on at all time!
- Alt has built this annual tradition around the business card swap- and people really pull out the stops to create fun and memorable business cards. For me, instead of a business card, I use a sticker that has an illustration of my face with my IG handle on it- a name and a face. It is all anyone really needs nowadays.