Well, you might have noticed that there haven't been any posts in a while. Or maybe you didn't notice. In any case, we've been incomunicado the last couple of weeks as we were in final preparations for Brand ManageCamp 2005. The conference was held a week and a half ago in Philadelphia and I can't even communicate how energized I am coming out of it.
First off, the attendees at this conference are the best group of folks I've ever had the chance to be around. They are all explorers - eager to learn, open to new ideas and just searching for those elusive insights that can help them grow their brands, their teams, their organizations and themselves.
Second, special thanks to our sponsors:
- Brandweek (http://www.brandweek.com) - If you don't already have a subscription, get one. And not just one for the whole office. Get your own.
- LAGA (http://www.laga.com) - What a great organization. Not only did they provide branding, web and print design support but Julie Anixter and Amy Stockli were there the entire time living the Brand ManageCamp experience to the fullest. They also had some of the contributors to the new book edited by Seth Godin called "The Big Moo" on hand for book signings and free books. "The Big Moo" is contributing all proceeds to charity so buy a bunch of copies for the folks on your team today at http://www.sethgodin.com/bigmoo/
- Thirdway Brand Trainers (http://www.thirdway.com) - David Vinjamuri will bring seasoned CPG Brand Marketers to your organization's doorstep for customized training. Looking to get your folks some brand training but don't have the time or energy or know-how to do it yourself? Get in touch with David. It's a fast, easy and cost-effective way to generate significant growth in your organization's marketing skill set.
Third, the speakers were just amazing. Now, I might be a little biased, but based on the speaker surveys the attendees definitely agreed. Highlights included:
- Pre-conference workshop with Second City Communications. Fun, great learning, and terrific opportunity to bond with the rest of the attendees.
- Martin Lindstrom (http://www.martinlindstrom.com)- kicked off the conference and set the tone with an absolutely stunning multi-media show focusing on the learnings from his latest book/study BRANDsense. Martin is a brilliant guy with great insights and tons of data to back them up. He's also a phenomenal presenter and has a great feel for his audience. It was amazing to see the wheels turning on how you could use a sense like smell to enhance your consumer's experience with your product or service - regardless of what that product or service is. He announced his next study which is going to be the world's largest study on Neuroscans. Can't wait!
- Kevin O'Donnell (http://www.prophet.com) - great chat on theories and practices in Brand Portfolio Management. Does every brand in your portfolio have a distinct purpose? Target? Benefit? If not, then why does it exist? Really gets you thinking hard - especially when he was able to show who's done it well.
- Kevin Clancy (http://www.copernicusmarketing.com) - Kevin's a brilliant guy with a passion for Six Sigma Marketing. Are you like everyone else and focusing on your 'heavy users'? If you heard Kevin Clancy speak, you'd be spending less time thinking about heavy users and more time thinking about your most profitable users. You'd be making sure you had the absolute right target and were going after them by answering the core problems they really care about. Lots of great examples and he gave out a free book too!
- Bill Roiter (http://www.corporatemvp.com) - Can you tell the difference between an MVP in your organization and a Prima Donna? Bill's point is that they very often look very similar - although they can have drastically different long-term effects on your business. With actionable ways to discern between the two and then meaningful advice on what to do next, Bill added great value. He also offered up a free MVP online assessment to all in the audience.
- Andrew Robertson (http://www.bbdo.com) - CEO of BBDO Worldwide, Andrew shunned the traditional Powerpoint presentation to riff about marketing in the digital world and the importance of great creative. He used the web to show some great examples but had many low-tech examples of great creative as well.
- Jack Trout (http://www.troutandpartners.com) - What can you say about the man who defined the term Brand Positioning? Jack summed up his latest thinking on all the work he's ever done on Strategy and provided a great close to Day 1.
- Phil Lempert (http://www.supermarketguru.com, http://www.xr23.com) - Phil has been a mainstay of Brand ManageCamp since it's inception. He did another terrific job this year starting off Day 2 with an energy and excitement about trends and technology that only he can deliver. Great examples of how retailers such as Marsh are using technology to have 2 way dialogues with consumers and continually enhance the shopping experience. Phil's a great guy and this year's presentation was his best yet!
- Carol Cone (http://www.coneinc.com) - Usually it is not a good thing when a speaker makes attendees cry, but this was an exception to the rule. Carol is CEO of Cone Inc. and is the worldwide leader in Cause Branding. Not only did she bring tears to our eyes with touching and compelling Cause related advertising spots, but she provided the attendees with real-world advice and actionable next steps on how they can start moving towards world-class Cause Branding with their own brands. Carol is passionate about what she does and it shows.
- Joe Robinson (http://www.worktolive.info) - Has the Crackberry got a hold on your life? Do you brag about how many weekends you've worked? Are the ills being ravaged on your body by work and stress becoming battle scars? If you had heard Joe Robinson speak you might have started to second guess how much that is all worth. Joe made the case for taking back your life and dispelled many of the myths which lead to overwork. He then gave some simple suggestions of how you can start making your way back to having a life again. Now, granted, I am kicking this out on a Sunday afternoon so maybe it hasn't all settled in - but at least I'm going to have dinner with my family!
- Karen Post (http://www.brandingdiva.com) - Karen was another one of those folks with a great style and a great presentation to back it up. Her use of videos and music interspersed with well designed, easy to read, concise slides made for a great session. Her time was devoted to teaching attendees simple techniques they can utilize to exercise their creative muscles. The insights were actionable and easy to understand and the examples were great. Her extra effort to connect with other speakers prior to the event and get an understanding of how they get the creative juices flowing was a nice touch that was appreciated by all. She even provided a handout with all the creativity suggestions for attendees to take away and start using right away.
- Debra Benton (http://www.debrabenton.com) - Nearly everyone stayed until the very end of the conference, and all were rewarded with an inspiring session from Debra. She is an executive coach to some of the world's most powerful executives and our attendees were treated to a group mentoring session. Avoiding the traditional presenation in favor of a much more casual conversation and stroll around the room, Debra imparted some of her wisdom on how to act, project yourself and treat people in a way that is embodied by those who command and deserve respect around the globe. A terrific end to a terrific couple of days.
Especially inspiring was the fact that many of our speakers arrived early and left late, allowing them to benefit from hearing the other speakers and getting to know the attendees. This added to the overall familial feel embodied in a Brand ManageCamp experience.
Well, now Brand ManageCamp 2005 is in the books and we are already hard at work planning 2006. Keep checking this blog for random and thought-provoking posts on all areas of branding both from myself as well as Brand ManageCamp speakers past, present and future.