OK - so it's been over a week since Brand ManageCamp 2009 ended...but it's never too late for a recap, right????
What a fantastic couple of days we had in Las Vegas. The weather was perfect, the hotel (The Signature at MGM Grand) was terrific and we had 220+ fun, intelligent, insightful brand marketers who had come together to learn from our speakers and each other. The theme, as always, was Fresh Thinking Starts Here - and I have no doubt that most everyone left with at least a few Fresh Thoughts to get things moving in new and better directions upon returning to the office!
Guy Kawasaki (best-selling author of "The Art of the Start" and "Reality Check;" founder of Alltop.com) got things started off on the right foot with his topic on Intrapreneurism. What better person than Guy to discuss lessons learned from entrepreneurs and what they mean for folks who are trying to bring about change within the larger organizations for whom they work?
John Gerzema (best-selling author of "The Brand Bubble" and Chief Insights Officer of Y&R) then brought us up to speed on the looming crisis in brand valuations and what we can do to help avoid it.
Amber MacArthur (commandn.tv ; ambermac.com) then lit up the stage with her bright personality and her insights on what is coming next in Web 3.0 and how we can best prepare to not get left behind. She also got the whole room singing the chorus to a KISS song - although I'm still not sure how! :)
Legendary marketing guru Philip Kotler followed with a look inside the findings from his lates book "Chaotics." In addition to teaching us how to better plan in an era marked by regular turbulence, he also delved into how to get consumers to love our brands and even touched on the importance of reaching consumer's on a spiritual level that goes beyond functions and emotions. Not only was Phil fantastic to work with, he then stayed the entire length of the conference - taking copious notes from the front row and interacting with our attendees during breaks and meals!
After lunch on Day 1, Simon Bray from ?What If! gave the audience an Innovative Kick in the Pants. His combination lecture/workshop created a buzz and had attendees raving. Brilliant! (as they might say in Simon's native Great Britain)
The next session was a very interesting panel discussion on Marketing ROI led by best-selling author Kevin Clancy ("Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter Than Your Head;" Chairman of Copernicus Marketing Consulting). Kevin and his panelists (Chuck Feltz, Senior Partner of Engage Consulting; Angela Geiger, Chief Strategy Officer of the Alzheimer's Association; Leslie Joseph, VP Consumer Research and Consumer Affairs for Constellation Wines). It was great to hear real-world stories of how marketers are implementing changes that result in increased ROI!
The sessions of Day 1 were then brought to an energetic close by Jeremy Gutsche (best-selling author of "Exploiting Chaos;" founder of Trendhunter.com). Jeremy showed us how to leverage cutting edge techniques to stimulate innovative creativity, generate breakthrough ideas, identify 'clusters of inspiration' and, ultimately, unlock cool in a way that the competition cannot. Plus, he was just plain fun. A great way to end the day and lead into another fun activity - cocktails!
Amazingly, after a full day of insights, a cocktail reception and a night on their own in Las Vegas, we still had a full room at 8am on Day 2 to see Jonathan Salem Baskin (author of "Branding Only Works on Cattle," Advertising Age columnist, Information Week blogger and creator of Dim Bulb). Jonathan gave us lots to chew on (boo, hiss, bad pun tied back to the 'Cattle' reference. I'm so disappointed in myself...) with his 10 Rules for Branding in a Post-Branded World. Jonathan challenged the audience to do things differently and to fight the tide of meaningless advertising to actually use marketing to get people to do things!
Second up on Day 2 was best-selling author Charlene Li ("The Groundswell" and The Altimeter Group) who taught us to focus on the strategy when approaching social media as opposed to getting caught up in the actual technologies of the day. Sound advice!
Michael Dunn (author of "The Marketing Accountability Imperative" and Chairman of Prophet) then took an interesting approach to an ROI topic, focusing on how you can sort through the clutter of metrics, measurement, and analytical options to get to the real end goal - driving better continuous decision making and improved in-market performance across the marketing value chain.
We then shifted into the final piece of the event. With tons of actionable insights under our belt on how to better connect with customers and grow our brands, our last two speakers focused on softer (albeit no less important) topics.
Rick Smith, founder of World50 and best-selling author of "The Leap,"covered the 3 steps we need to follow in order to unlock the potential we have within us as well as the potential within those we lead. It was an inspirational story that had many in the room thinking hard about where careers were headed and how best to move them in the right direction. Plus - his slides were produced by the same folks who did Al Gore's! Pretty cool.
The conference was then brought to a close by ex-FBI agent, spy-hunter, and author Joe Navarro ("What Every BODY Is Saying") who showed us the importance of non-verbal communication and how best to recognize the tells of those we are talking with as well as how to manage our own tells. It was fascinating content delivered in an engaging way. Plus - being in Vegas - he left us with a couple of tips for how to read people at the poker tables! (unfortunately, I still lost money - but I'm guessing that was 'user error').
I am so grateful to all of the speakers and, especially, all of the fantastic folks who took two days out of their busy schedules to join us for Brand ManageCamp 2009. I had a great time and am already looking forward to more Fresh Thinking in 2010!