C-Suite Conversations: An Interview with Mykel Nahorniak, Co-Founder and CEO, Localist


Article ImageWhen are a Grateful Dead-inspired ringing of Cornell University’s chimes, a flamenco show in downtown Portland, and a tai-chi class at New York Presbyterian Hospital considered “digital” content? According to Mykel Nahorniak, co-founder and CEO of Localist, an interactive online calendaring platform, it’s when the host organizations use their online event calendars as a means to capture, analyze, and grow audience engagement.

“Events are authentic content,” says Nahorniak. “For companies, they’re about going out to where your audience already is, in a way that serves the brand.” Nahorniak co-founded the company in 2008, citing frustration about how he would hear about big events only after they were over. Localist’s goal is to make events more easily discoverable online from the perspective of the audience, not the website admin.

“Publishers spend a ton of time and money on website, blogs, and social media content,” he says. “But almost invariably, event calendars are done as a complete afterthought on a website, slapped up with name, date, and location.” Localist sees in-person events as high-quality audience engagement, building engagement, brand awareness, and loyalty. Beyond that, “Connecting in real life leads to more empathy and compassion,” says Nahorniak, “and that’s something we need more of, especially right now.”

Trends He’s Watching

Nahorniak believes the Internet of Things (IoT), along with machine learning and artificial intelligence, can offer new insights into audience behavior before, during, and after events. He says, “How are audience members learning about events, and where are they buying their tickets? During an event, the only anecdotal feedback speakers get is applause. But the IoT could give us the ability to measure audience sentiment in real time.” Afterward, that analytical view of events can help publishers improve event planning and garner sponsorships and advertisers, all while building audience loyalty.

Challenges He Faces

“Ninety-nine percent of our conversations are to teach how events can build a brand,” says Nahorniak. He points out that most of the company’s clients already have a calendar and think that Localist will work similar to how a CMS does for content. “But we take a step back and talk with them about how to use event content to magnify the brand. The event calendar can become the entry point to the rest of the brand.”

Dreaming Big

“I’d like to make organizations realize the power of event content. There’s a lot of emphasis on digital engagement because it’s cheaper and scalable. If organizations could recognize social media’s limitations and supplement them with old-fashioned face-to-face engagement, they’d have a powerful pulse on their community.”


Related Articles

For Edelson and Appetizer Mobile, it's an exciting time to be creating content. "We have all these tools and mediums available to enhance and extrapolate stories," says Edelson. "It gives us an opportunity to create an experience that customers will engage with deeply."
When Kevin Akeroyd took on the role of global CEO of Cision, a global media intelligence and communications solution provider, back in August 2016, he made one major assumption. Coming from a long career providing service solutions for CMOs, Akeroyd believed the integrated, data-centric solutions that marketing teams leverage for paid and owned media (i.e., advertising) would be just as critical for those whose job is to generate earned media, in the form of coverage by journalists and other influencers.
As CEO of Localist, an interactive online calendaring platform that makes events more easily discoverable online, Mykel Nahorniak keeps a close and admiring eye on Facebook. "Facebook is huge already but it continues to disrupt itself. [Mark] Zuckerberg and team get a lot of credit, but it's still not enough considering where they are," says Nahorniak.
We've all been there: followed a bit too long, and a bit too closely. Hopefully not in the real world, but it certainly happens during our digital travels, as advertisements clued in to our search and browsing behavior dog us for hours, days, and weeks on unrelated sites—and well past the point of purchase decision. "In the world of digital ads, the consumer is disenfranchised—they're being stalked or else they're turning on ad blockers," says John Snyder, co-founder and CEO of Grapeshot, which uses adaptive machine learning algorithms to improve ad targeting, creating a more contextual experience.
From social media sharing to personalized push notification, 2017 saw a flurry of activity as media companies focused their attention and investment on making changes and improvements to their mobile app presence. This is aimed at extending the life span of their app or increasing user engagement. It's a smart strategy, but it falls short in today's hyper-competitive app economy.