Luv Led Me to Brand Smart

by Sherry Duda 

According to GroupM, worldwide media and marketing spend will surpass $1 trillion in 2017. Corporations, brands and agencies make a lot of promises. While the brand’s creative expression may attract users, it’s the delivery of the promise that matters most to consumers.

We assume brands will deliver what they say…until there’s a breakdown. Jerry Seinfeld demonstrates his frustration with a broken promise…

Like a reservation, anyone can make a promise. The tougher part is delivering and delivering consistently.

Branding is at a tipping point. Ask United Airlines.

Could it be the confluence of social media, corporate scandal, a growing distrust for large institutions, and millennial values that has led us onto a new path? Only 18% of us have high confidence in big business according to Gallop’s 2016 polls.

If you peak behind the curtains of many fast-paced growing organizations, you’ll likely find actions, symbols, behaviors and experiences in conflict with the essence of the brand resulting in siloes, unaligned leadership teams, passive-aggressive behaviors…  and other dysfunctions. When these “say do gaps” are revealed externally, consumers lose trust.

My passion for bringing brands to life from the inside led me to Brand Smart 2016.

Chicago’s AMA featured Dave Ridley, Southwest’s former CMO, as one of the keynote speakers. Dave shared some of Southwest’s proactive levers to align its culture and its brand to truly deliver consistently and predictably. He was generous, entertaining, and with BrandSmart’s informal context, I was able to chat with him personally during the happy hour to compare notes on cultural best practices.

The practicality of the speakers, the quality of the content, the attendees — some of whom I now call friends, made it easy for me to accept the honor to both lead the Brand Smart 2017 design team and participate as a speaker with Colin McBean in a session called “Your Culture is Your Brand.”

What’s in it for you to attend Brand Smart 2017?

  • Interactivity with leading brand experts.
  • Practical and actionable content.
  • Diverse options.
  • Value.
  • And, that’s my promise to you.

About the Author

headshot_Sherry DudaAs Chief Executive Officer of Alex Reidy & Company, Sherry Duda is a growth accelerator and disruptive change expert, aligning the body and soul of brands, so they can navigate through high stakes transformation. Sherry helps senior teams shape their culture to end “say do” gaps so they can keep their promises and truly deliver, consistently. Contact Sherry at www.alexreidy.com or sduda@alexreidy.com.

My Gift To You At Brand Smart 2017

by Gary Kash 

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. 
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

  • Miles Beresford Kington

The combination of enhanced marketing knowledge and the wisdom of how to execute smartly will help you get where you want to be in 2022.  Take your first step and attend Brand Smart 2017!

Prior to my first Brand Smart experience in 2016, I heard myself repeating many of the same excuses: “too busy”, “too many deadlines”, “I know what I need to know”, “not enough return on my investment” …but as it turned out, I was dead wrong!

Here’s what happened when I attended Brand Smart 2016 – I complemented my marketing arsenal with words of wisdom from the select few who had successfully navigated the roaring seas of change to make an impact.  Hearing the case studies, the underlying strategies and how these were translated into superior execution that resulted in brand growth made me a smarter and better consultant.

Critically, I heard the same story from younger as well as more seasoned marketing professionals as we shared war stories, lies and cocktails. By the end of the event, we realized how much we learned, we grew and got smarter.  It was at that defining moment that we collectively decided to be better marketers and this made me want to give back!

…and, so I shall.

As this year’s Brand Smart draws near, I’d like to share a few slides that give a new perspective on the critical importance of a powerful and emotional positioning platform. But, what’s most interesting about my presentation is that I will be giving away a blueprint so you can develop your own positioning platform!

That’s right, a blueprint that will help you build a customized positioning platform that will have people line up to connect with your brand rather than trying to connect your brand to consumers. Not a bad deal, huh?

Brand Smart 2017 is where some of the best marketing minds in the world get together and share marketing knowledge and wisdom. Not a bad ROI, if you ask me.

And who knows, you may also get to enjoy a fruit salad while you’re there!

 

Brand Smart 2017

“The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes”

April 27, 2017, 7:30am – 5:00pm

Gleacher Center at University of Chicago, 450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

REGISTER NOW

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Kash’s experience spans consulting, brand marketing, advertising and marketing research. As President of Insights in Marketing, his counsel was sought by companies like MillerCoors, CDW, Gerber, General Mills, Liberty Mutual, Pepsico and S.C. Johnson.  Gary’s ability to guide and counsel others has resulted in him being mentor to many and a sought-after speaker. Recently retired from corporate America, Gary now leverages his wealth of successful consulting experiences to help businesses of all sizes and industries prosper. You can email him gary@gkmarketinginsights.com or reach him at: 847-217-4500.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evening with an Expert: 360 Chicago

If you’re a Chicagoan, you have likely noticed that the iconic John Hancock Observatory has recently gone through a facelift! It is now called 360 CHICAGO. And if you were lucky enough to attend the latest evening with an expert that focused on building a brand experientially, you would have had the chance to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the new space…and enjoyed a breathtaking view while you’re at it!

  

The evening was kicked off by Nicole Williamson, General Manager at 360 CHICAGO, who walked us through the transformation journey from conceptual design to fabrication and installation.

https://twitter.com/ChicagoAMA/status/844340786921721856

https://twitter.com/360chiviews/status/844342811562512385

Here are a few of the defining moments:

 

An Evening with Three Experts

Essential Skills for Today’s Marketers

Have you ever wondered if you have the right skills to succeed in today’s Marketing World? 

Today, we have a beautiful world that is constantly changing. Each day marketers, like you and I, are facing new challenges that were unheard of twenty years ago or even six months ago.  Each day we wonder how do I make a difference in my job,  team,  organization, industry or career. On January 17th the Chicago AMA asked three marketing experts to consider this subject. 

Our Expert Panelists:

Sona Jones – Head of Marketing & Media (Chicago Ideas)

Allison Cirullo

When Allison started in the industry she struggled to discover her place in marketing. Over the years, her journey helped her find excitement in challenge and change. Her list of essential skills are as follows:

  1. Continue to grow your skills by Reading (Books & Publications about business, finance, and other industries). Attending lectures and seminars focused on a variety of subjects. Never stop learning.  Allison’s Favorites: Harvard Business Review and Technology Landscape publications
  2. Be a Change Agent by being a great listener. Find opportunity in every conversation. Learn to be flexible and accommodating. Motivate others to implement healthy change.
  3. Hustle do what it takes to get the job done. Enough said!

Linh Peter

Lihn’s story and journey is centered on people and relationships. As she moved up the ranks at Target she found great value in investing in others and, others investing in her. So it is only fitting that her list of essential skills are around people and relationships.

  1. Focus on relationships and encourage team members to learn about each other. Take time to invest in others and value people over process.
  2. Your Board of Directors take mentoring to a higher level. Find four or more people you know who excel in certain areas of life and business and ask them to mentor you.
  3. Be Self Aware to do your best to know yourself, your attitude, and behavior.
    1. How you deal with others
    2. How you engage others
    3. Learn how others perceive you and how you perceive others
    4. Ask for feedback from your peers, subordinates, and superiors
    5. Learn from your failures

Sona Jones

Sona’s career path at first seemed full of promise. Right out of college she joined Sony Pictures. She was set, right? However, as years passed she found that her career was not progressing as she had hoped. She had to pivot to re-invent herself. Sona’s essential skills focus on introspection and strategy.

  1. Accountability own up and simply say you’re wrong, when you are.
  2. Your Role entails learning and mastering your role. Become the expert at what you do. Then strategize on how to optimize and leverage process automation and technology to increase your capabilities and effectiveness.
  3. Venture Out and take on small marketing contracts or volunteer opportunities that you can support. By doing so you will expand your experience.

The panelists’ essential skills for marketers will help today and in the future. As the event came to an end, all three panelists encouraged us to do one single very important thing, starting today -Take More Risks!

Are you ready? Are you willing to take a risk right now?

Great! Here is the challenge:  Select a couple of the practical and essential skills that were highlighted by Sona, Allison or Linh, apply them to your daily activities for the next 30 days then share with us how those skills have impacted your marketing life.

We look forward to hearing all of your great stories and experiences.


About the Author: Nick Rich is an Enterprise Architect and Thought Leader on web, social, and mobile based technologies. Nick currently consults and advises clients on content, collaboration, communication technology, and how to foster corporate adoption.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickrichtheconsultant  

 

Tim Calkins Makes the Business Case for Branding

As the Clinical Professor of Marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, Tim Calkins knows how important it is for brands to stay on top of what’s working – and what’s not – in today’s environment.

In the above video, Tim gives us a preview of his Brand Smart 2017 master class, “Making The Business Case for Branding.” With his years of experience in building strong and profitable brands, Tim shares his approaches and techniques to build a strong business case – including the financials – within your organization. As one of only four two-time winners of Kellogg’s prestigious teaching award, Tim promises an engaging, powerful presentation.

In addition to attending as a presenter, Tim values attending Chicago AMA’s Brand Smart 2017 as a participant. While the core principles of marketing have remained the same, the tools are changing constantly, and Brand Smart’s master classes will equip attendees with the latest tools, best practices and more to develop and grow strong brands.

As he says, Tim is looking forward to Chicago AMA’s Brand Smart 2017 – and we hope to see you there! Register today to secure your spot at The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes on Thursday, April 27.

Brand Smart 2017

“The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes”

April 27, 2017, 7:30am – 5:00pm

Gleacher Center at University of Chicago, 450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

REGISTER NOW

Group, student and young professional discounts are available. As always, Chicago AMA members enjoy reduced tickets for all events.

Brand Smart 2017 will be Thursday, April 27 at the Gleacher Center, Chicago. Now in its 15th year, Brand Smart is the leading branding conference in the Midwest. Hosted by the Chicago AMA, it draws hundreds of branding executives, agency leaders and other marketing professionals from the U.S.

Nick Ragone on His Brand Smart 2017 Keynote

Nick Ragone is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Ascension, the largest Catholic healthcare system in the world. Through his dynamic closing keynote address, he’ll lead us through his work rebranding the system and each of the milestones and lessons learned along the way.

In this short video, Nick gives us an overview of his address, and he shares why he is thrilled to attend Chicago AMA’s Brand Smart 2017 as a participant, too. Under the theme The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes, the conference will guide us through four key stages of branding: strategy, expression, activation and equities. At the close of the day, Nick will put these stages into practice through his successful rebranding efforts.

There’s only one way to hear Nick’s keynote and our other marketing experts: register for Brand Smart now! Group, student and young professional discounts are available.

Brand Smart 2017

“The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes”

April 27, 2017, 7:30am – 5:00pm

Gleacher Center at University of Chicago, 450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

REGISTER NOW

Brand Smart 2017 will be Thursday, April 27 at the Gleacher Center, Chicago. Now in its 15th year, Brand Smart is the leading branding conference in the Midwest. Hosted by the Chicago AMA, it draws hundreds of branding executives, agency leaders and other marketing professionals from the U.S.

Hear the Brand One Year Later

by Colleen Fahey 

In my never-ending quest to spread the word about Audio Branding, I took the stage last year at Brand Smart – where I found a lively and inquisitive audience.   What hadn’t quite dawned on me was that speaking at the event would allow me to listen to everyone else’s presentations.

Having found myself in terrifically-inspiring company, I cancelled my afternoon meetings so I could soak it in. Today, I still go back to the things I learned to guide my thinking.

After hearing Alison Miller’s strategies, I’ve rooted for the Cubs as a business more than I ever rooted for them as a team and after Steve Handmaker described the employee engagement culture at Assurance, I’ve become a fan for life! I also found that Chuck Gitkin’s “Ekrich and Operation Homefront” case was as inspiring as it was perfectly synergistic, whereas the love story told on Wrigley gum wrappers was, in my opinion, an excellent model for perfect brand storytelling.

A year has passed since my 2016 Brand Smart experience and the friendships are still unfolding. Besides running into people I had forgotten I knew, I met new people with whom I’m still friends and, as time went by, I found myself discussing business opportunities with many others   

Another unforeseen consequence of speaking at Brand Smart was that Bonnie Massa, President-Elect of the Chicago AMA in 2016-2017, used her considerable persuasive powers to get me to participate in planning Brand Smart 2017, which was to discuss” The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes.” 

Now that the conference is right around the corner, it’s going to be chockfull of memorable material along with potential new friends and business prospects. My advice: Don’t miss it!

P.S.  I’m not speaking this year, my audio branding missionary work took a new direction and turned into a book that Laurence Minsky and I wrote. You may check out here www.audiobranding-book.com. On April 27th, one month after it releases, I’ll be on hand at Brand Smart to autograph it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fahey is the US Managing Director at Sixième Son. She has held multiple roles within Publicis Groupe including Executive Creative Director and EVP – Strategy. Throughout her career, she had five publications related to audio branding including her recent audio book “using sound to build your brand”.

Better Marketing by Design Featured at Marketing Slam 2017

This year’s Marketing SLAM took place on February 22nd at Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business and witnessed an attendance of over 75 professionals. Under this year’s event theme: “better marketing by design”, Marketing Slam covered a variety of topics that were presented by six of Chicago’s top marketers.

Here’s a list of the presentations that were delivered during the event:

  • Learn to think Backward to Leap Forward by Lindsay McKay

  • Learn by Osmosis, How Non-profits Succeed by Emory Brown

  • Childhood Secrets that Inspire: Five Marketing Design Insights by Carol Neiger

  • Revive Your Brand through Design Thinking by David Kellbaugh

  • Stand Out in a Noisy Marketing World by Michelle Robin

  • A Picture is not Worth a Thousand Words by Andrew Keilbik

Plenty of insights, ideas and a-ha moments were uncovered during those six fascinating presentations. Based on audience votes, David Kellbaugh’s presentation on “The Power of Brand Stories over Products” won first place!

photo_Brand Smart 2016

4 Reasons Your CEO Should Demand You Go to Brand Smart

by Chuck Kent

More than ever, you, as a marketer, are under pressure to perform… right now, this quarter, this week, today (sooner, if possible). And a marketplace environment of constant, ever-accelerating change only exacerbates this hair-on-fire situation.

The temptation is to upend every status quo and create all-new marketing machines, bristling with the shiniest new objects and sure to impress with whiz-bang innovations. But as is often the case with temptation, marketers are wise to resist, regroup, and attend to strategic essentials.

An article in the Harvard Business Review put it this way: “Marketers understand that their organizations need an overhaul, and many chief marketing officers are tearing up their org charts… struggling with how to draw the new chart. What does the ideal structure look like? Our answer is that this is the wrong question. Marketing leaders instead must ask, ‘What values and goals guide our brand strategy, what capabilities drive marketing excellence, and what structures and ways of working will support them?’ Structure must follow strategy—not the other way around.”

Learn to be a business strategist first, to be a marketer second to none

Yes, marketing “structure must follow strategy,” to which we would add, “And in a world where your brand is your business, marketers must understand, and be able to convey, brand as business strategy.”

And so, the Chicago AMA is providing an in-depth day of strategic education for marketers at Brand Smart 2017. The theme is “The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes,” and it features a wide range of experts addressing four essential topics that must be mastered to create a truly strategic approach to brand marketing:

  1. Brand Strategy
  2. Brand Expression
  3. Brand Activation
  4. Brand Equities

Brand Strategy: Discovery, Differentiation, Evolution

Our opening keynote, David Armano, Global Strategy Director for Edelman, will provide an overview of the current environment. Then the day will break into a choice of Master Classes, each one part presentation, one part interaction, all adding up to extremely useful, put-it-to-work-tomorrow information.

Because effective strategies start with insight, Gary Kash, a long-time research and consumer insights expert, will help attendees delve into how we can improve our customer IQ by boosting our customer EQ. A client-agency team, with Matt Gordon from Landor Associates and Megan Biggam from Byline Bank, will address how to translate insight into meaningful differentiation, even in a brand-saturated marketplace. And the CEO of Tide Spin, David VanHimbergen, will walk you through the path from established brand to category disruptor.

Brand Expression: Giving a Face and Voice to the Strategy

As I always like to tell my clients, the brand strategy is the big idea. But it takes creativity to express it, starting with the foundational elements of brand identity, personality, voice and core brand message. Our Master Class teachers will help you learn how to more powerfully express your brand’s uniqueness.

The CMO of RXBAR, Lyndsay Levin, will share the path from creating a breakthrough product to becoming a standout, “No B.S.” brand. Providing more food for thought, Nick Scarpino, VP of Marketing for Portillos, will address how to keep awareness (and revenue) growing. And Lewis Williams, along with Stephen French, from Burrell Communications, a trailblazer in the creativity of diversity, will show how to create a compelling brand personality that can speak to our multicultural, multidimensional world.

Brand Activation: Making Strategic Brilliance Shine in the Real World

OK, so you’ve established your strategy…revealed your unique brand personality…and focused your essential message so tightly it can be delivered in even the shortest elevator ride. But now you need to take it to market – it’s time for brand activation.

Luckily, two of our teachers, Larry Minsky and Bill Rosen, have just written the book on the subject – literally – and in one of our classes they’ll be showing you how to fulfill what they call “The Activation Imperative.” And Sherry Duda, CEO of Alex Reidy, will team up with consultant Colin McBean to explore the critical role of culture in bringing a brand to life.

Brand Equities: Proving We Deliver Value

Of course, while we as marketers may take the value of branding as a given, CEOs and such are not always pre-sold on that notion. It is up to us as brand and marketing leaders to educate our upper management and cross-functional peers on the organizational, operational and – especially – the financial value of investing in brand.

In this section of Master Classes, you can choose between a renowned professor, a successful CMO or a global leader in the art of brand valuation. Tim Calkins, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, will lead a session how to make a hard-nosed business case for branding. (Be sure to check out his video above.) Beth Brady, CMO of The Principal Financial Group, will share how her company not only made the case for brand, but proved it out in the real world. And Mario Simon of The Boston Consulting Group, an expert in helping global corporations attach a dollar figure to their brands as assets, will lead his “students” though how brands can create and evaluate financial value.

Finally, our closing keynote speaker, Nick Ragone, CMO of Ascension, will give us an inside look at how “The New Brand Journey” is playing out in the rebrand of the world’s largest non-profit hospital system.

So set the date. Choose your classes. And get ready to build a better, more strategic foundation for your brands at Brand Smart 2017.

Brand Smart 2017
“The New Brand Journey: A Day of Master Classes”
April 27, 2017, 7:30am – 5:00pm
Gleacher Center at University of Chicago, 450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL 60611
REGISTER NOW


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chuck Kent is a volunteer with the Chicago AMA Program Committee. When not helping come up with events like Brand Smart, or enlist the best speakers, he works as an independent brand strategist, content creator and executive thought leadership consultant. He is also a Contributing Editor for Branding Magazine, and the creator and moderator of its monthly feature, The Branding Roundtable.