Marketing Today: At Brand Marketing Summit

This week finds “Marketing Today” on the road again. This time the destination was Brooklyn and the Incite Group’s Brand Marketing Summit,  where I moderated a track — Customer Understanding and Personalized Experiences — and took the opportunity to talk with some of the marketers there about their brands: what was top of mind for them, key insights they had about the Brand Marketing Summit, and their thoughts on the customer journey and experience. We also talked about sources they turned to for information, the best pieces of advice they’ve received, and even things they love and hate.



The four marketers I spoke with are:

            • Michael Blash, chief commercial officer at Ink Bench

            • Alegra O’Hare, vice president of global brand communications at adidas

            • Casey Hall, former director of social media at Thompson Reuters

            • Abinav Varma, president and CEO at UNIBEES

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

Michael Blash describes Ink Bench as a firm “built on active creative collaboration that delivers powerful brain control.” In the process, it helps companies deal with the very real struggle of creating value in the digital supply chain by being better at getting content created, managed, and produced. He also notes, “If you can make a customer a fanatic, you have a customer for life.” Lastly, Blash revealed he has a love/hate relationship with pizza. (1:20)

Alegra O’Hare seemed to think in couplets, of sorts. In discussing what's top of mind for her at  adidas, she pointed out two challenges: (1) continuing to challenge the status quo, and (2) balancing brand and KPIs. Her take on the customer journey/experience found her thinking about (1) ways to be more surgical with the deliverables they create for campaigns and (2) coordinating between lead agencies and highly skilled specialty shops they partner with. She also revealed two pieces of advice she lives by: (1) do something every day that scares you, and (2) take your time in hiring people. (6:41)

Casey Hall talked about how Thompson Reuters is a big believer in creating employee advocacy for its brand. It seeks to use Thompson Reuters employees to humanize the brand and get its brand story out there in a way that's difficult to do through branded channels. As for advice that Hall lives by: “Find a way to do something you want to do and don’t wait for permission.”  (10:30)

Abinav Varma discussed UNIBEES' main offering: a mobile app that helps college students find free food(!), special events, and giveaways on campus. In talking about the UNIBEES app, Varma revealed that increasing student engagement is constantly top of mind for his company. It seem to be succeeding at this goal, judging by the stickiness the company is seeing as a result of added features it's introduced. He also noted, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that “My entire company is built on pizza.” (We’re sensing that pizza is a common thread among marketers.) (17:03)

**Let Your Voice Be Heard**

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