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continued from page 58


it’s going to be. They don’t have a brand because they have a good logo.” People who teach branding agree. “What we think about


when we talk about a brand has changed and is changing,” said Julie Hennessy, clinical professor of marketing at North- western University’s Kellogg School of Management. “If we go back 10 or 15 years, when people talked about brands, they were mostly talking about a piecing together of marketing communications—the idea of a brand was a logo or a jin- gle or a slogan or something along those lines. The focus was really about controlling your brand. McDonald’s was really about controlling how those arches were used and what Ronald did, and those folks who worked on branding were about controlling those kinds of equities and how they were used, and making sure they were used in a proper way.” Business has changed since then, and branding has


changed right along with it. “Abrand is a lot bigger than cre- ating a thematic name or color scheme or logo design for any product, service, or experience like a meeting,” said Lisa A. Fortini-Campbell, Ph.D., lecturer of executive programs at Kel- logg. “The term ‘branding’ gets used unfortunately in that very narrow way. All of those things are very important, but what a brand is ultimately is an impression that you leave on some- one’s mind or create in advance of an experience.” The content of a meeting, Fortini-Campbell said, is just


as important in branding—if not more important—than the look of the materials mailed out in advance or the pop of the show floor on site. “You can say a meeting is innova- tive and you can send that message out to people’s Black- Berry,” she said. “But if the experience isn’t innovative, if the way problems are handled isn’t innovative, the look becomes a set of words and not an accurate representation of what the experience is.” Fortini-Campbell points to theWalt Disney Company as


a shining example of carrying a brand through every moment of an experience—in this case, a visitor’s experience at the


60 pcma convene May 2011


“A brand is a lot bigger than creating a thematic name or color scheme or logo design for any product, service, or experience like a meeting. A brand is ultimately an impression that you leave on someone’s mind.”


company’s theme parks. “Everything they try to do summa- rizes their brand, which is ‘Memories that last a lifetime,’” Fortini-Campbell said. “That’s delivered in the entirety of the experience. This notion that the whole experience is impor- tant and that it can build or undermine a brand is something people should [consider] as they think about creating brands for their conferences and meetings. They need to think it through to the total experience level and make sure that everything they’re doing is sending the same message.” Hennessy agreed. “Every touch point that a customer has


affects your brand,” she said. “If you’re somebody like McDonald’s, certainly the advertising has an impact on what people think about their brand. But the experience a per- son has at the drive-thru has a bigger impact.”


Why Brand a Conference? That dynamic also translates to conferences, for which peo- ple have traveled to take advantage of an experience they couldn’t have at home. “Everything that happens [on site] has an impact on the brand,” Hennessy said. “Operations, what customers say about us, what the press says about us. We need to switch focus and think what this means for meet- continued on page 64


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