Connection, change, culture, commitment and creation by Philipp Westermeyer
The star of digital marketing on the keys to innovative success.
Like Red Bull Basement – a global collaboration where student innovators network with speakers, mentors and each other – the OMR (Online Marketing Rockstars) Festival is a meeting of minds. A hybrid expo, conference and masterclass with side events and a legendary party, the festival has disrupted the concept of the business conference, jumping from 200 to 50,000 attendees in less than a decade.
Germany’s Philipp Westermeyer, the mastermind behind the OMR Festival and the OMR digital marketing platform, shares some keys for success in developing valuable relationships.
Westermeyer believes that connections, like those that students can forge at Red Bull Basement, make a difference in the world by creating opportunities for all kinds of people.
“I'm sure if there were more connections between different people, there would be less friction,” he comments. “And if you know somebody who is willing to suggest business ideas, it is about those connections. It's a very fortunate situation to be in.”
Westermeyer recognises that tech and digital innovation are fundamentally changing the way we live. For his own part, he has changed the way the world looks at media, marketing and networking.
He says, “Technology and the opportunity that technology provides are really changing the world in so many aspects. Twenty years ago there was no WhatsApp and no Instagram, and now [everything is] happening on those platforms. For me, mostly the world has gotten a lot better. But I think it's important to realise that it’s not a different world. It’s still the same emotions and the same way that the human mind and soul work.”
Westermeyer underscores that when you’re growing a company, it is essential to foster the right internal culture.
“You have to have a culture where people come up with ideas. And if you're doing events, at peak times you need people to invest extra effort. You only get that if you have the right culture,” he emphasises. “It has to do with making it easy and worthwhile to work with this company and to be with these people. So fun is a very important layer. It's a very important ingredient to make these things happen.”
Westermeyer feels that part of being a leader is committing to your idea and being “first believer.”
“You have to be convinced – the absolute front runner and first believer – especially in those early days. That is the challenge when you look for an idea: you have to find something that you really trust,” he counsels. However, “It's totally fair to doubt stuff and then realise that many, many new ideas have been doubted before they turned into what they are now.”
Westermeyer is an entrepreneur, a businessman, a journalist and, critically, a creator. One of the things he creates is a business podcast, which has become one of the most prominent in Germany.
“What makes my life great is to be able to ask questions and enjoy this creator situation, then flip the switch and be the guy that runs a hundred-plus people operation,” he says. “The key is to understand what our guests need and what can move them forward. And, obviously, everything depends on who you know, who you’ve met, what insights you have and who you can ask. If you go through the world with open eyes and ask for the story behind the company or person, it's just unbelievable that certain things happen. There have been so many ideas that are just bananas and then all of a sudden they come to life.”
Student change-makers who want to bring their own ideas to life are invited to innovate at university today and disrupt the world tomorrow by joining Red Bull Basement. The application deadline is October 25, 2020.