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GAME CHANGER: “It’s a huge mistake to confuse hoopla and logos and agencies with your brand,” said bestselling author and marketing guru Seth Godin. “The way you change your brand is by changing your conference.”


“Often, when an organization decides they want to rebrand, it’s because there’s something off in the content where it’s not really speaking to their target [audience] very well.”


passing the whole experience—is key to convincing them that going to a conference in a physical location is a benefit to them and their organizations. “I can find a speaker online,” Godin said. “I don’t have


to sit in one of those giant halls at the Javits [convention cen- ter in New York City] being bored out of my mind. If you go down the list of why conferences were organized 30 years ago, many of those [reasons] have disappeared. You’re look- ing at a symptom of a problem. The problem isn’t a clever name. The problem is that the concept is old-fashioned. The best conferences in the future are going to be branded by being worth going to.”


continued from page 60


ing planners. Meeting planners have an opportunity to have an enormous effect on the brand for the group.” Planners, Hennessy added, “have all different sorts of tar-


gets. Sometimes those are internal meetings, affecting what a group of salespeople think about a brand and how they take that into the world. Sometimes it is an external group, and sometimes it’s broader than that. They are creating an envi- ronment where people’s impression of the brand is going to be shaped. And for that reason, the way we build meetings and create experiences in the meetings has an enormous impact on our brand.” Godin believes that the way that most organizations tra-


ditionally think of branding their meetings is passé. “Why bother having a theme to your event?” he asked. “In the old days, you had a theme so the staff wouldn’t get bored and so people who had to come to the conference no matter what wouldn’t get bored. That’s not true anymore. Conferences are under threat. The Internet has threatened anything that conferences used to do.” With so much information available online, Godin said,


it’s not as critical for people to travel to meetings to access content. So the brand — when you think of it as encom-


64 pcma convene May 2011


Where Does Rebranding Fit In? Hennessy said that organizations that rebrand by simply graphically redesigning their materials may be missing the boat on why a rebrand is necessary in the first place. “Unless


‘Creating, Building, and Living Your Brand’


Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management professors Julie Hennessy and Lisa A. Fortini- Campbell will present a one-day PCMA Executive Edge pro- gram—“Creating, Building, and Living Your Brand”—at Northwestern’s Evanston, Ill., campus on May 24. The highly interactive program, customized for meeting profes- sionals, will focus on the integral role that planners play in the branding of their meetings. For more information, visit www.pcma.org/executiveedge.


www.pcma.org


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