Take Your Brand to the MAX

Article excerpt

BrandMAX, the brand optimisation summit from the publisher of Marketing and Brand Republic, makes its debut in London next month. What can the event do for marketers, asks Melanie May.

There is a lot of talk about 'true' marketing integration and brand optimisation, but where can marketers get information about the issues that surround these issues in a 'neutral' way? If, for example, you ask your agencies who should own social media (internally or externally) for your brand, the answer will depend on the nature of the agency: PR agencies say it is a comms function, digital agencies say something else and so on.

The pressures on marketers have been exacerbated by the sheer wealth of media channels, all clamouring for attention and presenting a brand opportunity.

This is the idea behind BrandMAX, a two-day summit that takes place on 21 and 22 September at Altitude 360 in London's Millbank Tower. It aims to provide a platform for such expertise and give marketers access to essential information.

The venue will host some of the most inspirational and experienced marketers from brands and agencies across the globe, with keynote speeches from Andy Street, managing director of the John Lewis Partnership, Nina Bibby, global chief marketing officer of Barclaycard, and Richard Hudson, marketing director of BMW.

Through these speakers and a series of 'Thinking out loud' sessions, BrandMAX will take delegates through the ingredients required for brand optimisation, including integration, data, creativity, making best use of owned media, achieving ROI and going global, supported by award-winning case studies from Tourism Queensland, Nike, Walkers, Yeo Valley and Gatorade.

These will inspire, give a taste of the future and, importantly, show how creative thinking can not only win attention, but also improve the bottom line, driving sales and valuable market share.

'Everyone is grappling with the pace of change, which is both exciting and scary,' says Adam Tucker, managing partner of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO UK and co-presenter of the Walkers case study. 'The value of an event like this is to get people to see that, when you try things in beta mode, they can be very successful. It's inspiring.'

Hearing about the success of other brands is one thing: implementing changes within one's own organisation is another.

Brand optimisation is so big a task that the question for many is where to start. Integration, as the conference will reveal, is key - not only in terms of campaign activity but also within the organisation.

'It's not easy to define,' says Guy Hayward, who will chair the event on the first day and is chief executive of BrandMAX headline partner JWT UK. 'True integration goes beyond comms. It is now affecting the entire behaviour of brands.'

In fact, the starting point comes in getting the different departments within a brand to develop an understanding of one another and work together.

This is particularly salient for the marketing and technology departments. With 40m people now online in the UK and brands here committing pounds 8bn a year to web advertising, digital growth and innovation drive marketing and the media. The web has put control in consumers' hands, so marketing departments need to understand not only the channels available, but also the technology behind them.

Technology and the internet are impinging on marketing and advertising, with the result that the disciplines need to work together. It is a topic upon which keynote speaker Michael Kassan, chairman and chief executive of MediaLink, will expand in his speech 'Wag the dog - why Silicon Valley will determine the future of marketing', which kicks off BrandMAX.

'It's not so much about what Silicon Valley has to teach marketers, but what marketers need to be thinking about as they address the changing market,' says Kassan. 'The lesson is about having that conversation between Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue earlier. …