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The social Web helps build trust: Recap from NYSE CMO Summit

Speaking in front of a packed house at the New York Stock Exchange’s Executive Marketing Summit (#MktgSummit), Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih participated in an engaging discussion about what it takes to lead a growing business and build effective consumer engagement in the digital world.

Left to right: Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin), CNBC & The New York Times (moderator); Bill Day, CEO, Tremor Video; Scott Sanborn, COO, Lending Club; Clara Shih (@clarashih), CEO and Founder, Hearsay Social; and Hayley Barna (@hayleybay), Founder and Co-CEO, Birchbox.

Participants in the conference included senior executives from a diverse group of established organizations (including Citi, Anheuser-Busch, and Harley-Davidson), as well as key players in the digital space (including Birchbox, Tremor Video, and Lending Club).

In a wide-ranging discussion covering everything from consumer privacy concerns to the intangible personal characteristics one needs to succeed as an entrepreneur, it was fascinating to see the shared perspective of executives from such a diverse set of organizations.
Here are several key takeaways from the sessions:

The social Web helps build consumer trust.

There was considerable discussion around how brands can build trust with consumers, particularly in a landscape rampant with distrust of online mechanisms such as service reviews. Consumers are far more likely to trust the opinions of their friends, family, and colleagues than they are advertisements or anonymous online reviews of a given service, suggesting that brands that do an effective job of “tapping into the right influencers” will reap the rewards of a more trusting consumer base.

In matters of privacy, being opt-in is a big win.

Speaking to concerns about privacy and regulatory issues surrounding social media, the panel discussed the importance of offering “opt-in” services and of being “clear about what information is and isn’t used for.” Panelists generally agreed that clarity is crucial when requesting access to consumer information, as well as offering tangible value in return for that access.

Several characteristics define a successful tech entrepreneur — and age isn’t one of them.

The panel also included an engaging discussion around the personal characteristics that define successful entrepreneurs. Clara pointed to three things in particular: a “risk-taking” mentality, an ability to “learn and adapt,” and a knack for “balancing commitments.”

Additionally, panel moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times columnist and CNBC Squawk Box co-anchor) asked the panelists if they felt that older entrepreneurs had meaningful contributions to make to the technology world, given the assumption that most of the great successes of the last 50 years have been founded by people under 35. In general, the panelists agreed that as long as aspiring entrepreneurs have certain personal characteristics, age is not a significant factor in their ultimate success.

Indeed, Shih pointed out that many of Hearsay Social’s clients are longstanding, more-tenured financial professionals embracing new technologies out of a recognition that “in order to keep their revenues growing, they need to adapt.”

All told, the Summit was a fascinating opportunity to hear some of today’s most engaging business leaders discuss the latest methods and technologies they employ to connect with consumers, and we look forward to participating again in the future!

Want to hear more from the session? Watch the panel in full:

NYSE Big Stage

In addition to participating in the panel discussions, Clara was interviewed by NYSE Big Stage, where she discussed how to find and tap into the most powerful customer conversations: