BrandSmart 2019 Session Details

UIC Forum – May 9, 2019

Session Details

Opening Keynote
Transformation: It's a Thrill Ride
Dana Anderson - Chief Transformation Officer, MediaLink

Dana’s curiosity about people and what motivates them has propelled some of the world’s most beloved brands. Hear how she unleashes a brand’s power through four fundamental constructs: creativity, transformation, inspiration and powerful storytelling.

Breakout Session 1
Rind-Blowing Word of Mouth Marketing from Wisconsin Cheese
Suzanne Fanning - Chief Marketing Officer, Wisconsin Cheese

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin made headlines around the globe when they broke a Guinness World Record. Join Suzanne Fanning, CMO for Wisconsin Cheese, as she shares what they have learned about the marketing power of human connection, offline engagement and word of mouth. Brie-lieve us—there’s so much more to this cheesy story. You’ll learn how Wisconsin Cheese increased social engagement by over 4000% and gained $20 million in press mentions last year. Most importantly, she’ll share how stoking a sense of passion and community around cheese is changing perceptions, revolutionizing a 170-year-old industry, and causing leaders of other industries to take note. Truly rind-blowing!

New Realities: Using AR & VR to Create Unforgettable Branded Experiences
Leslie Marshall - Head of Experiential Marketing, Morningstar

From Pokémon Go and Pepsi’s augmented reality (AR) bus stop ad campaign, to Walmart training employees via virtual reality (VR) for the holiday season, VR and AR are hot buzz words in marketing today. The VR and AR market is projected to reach $162 billion by 2020. In this session, Leslie Marshall, Head of Experiential Marketing, will share a case study highlighting Morningstar’s use of VR and AR at their conferences and client events. You’ll learn about the trends driving AR and VR and how to make the business case to integrate this technology into your traditional and digital marketing efforts and build memorable experiences for clients.

Shift Happens: The Constant Evolution of CPG
Steve Gaither - Founder & Principal, JB Chicago
Shayna Harris - Chief Growth Officer, Farmers Fridge
John Richards - Chief Executive Officer, Kishr Tea
Mike Schopin - Investor, Zenfinity Capital

Consumers seek greater customization, more immediacy, and want to be closer to the source of food and beverages. Big brands, once revered by consumers and considered trusted and credible by the very nature of their size, are seeing seismic shifts in behavior. Today, big is not always better. This panel will explore the why behind these shifts and discuss what the future of CPG looks like. Learn as representatives from large brands, startups, and the investor community bring a range of perspectives to explore these questions and predict the evolving future of CPG.

Breakout Session 2
Why Meaningful Stories Matter: Crafting Your Brand's Shareable Story
Emily Bader - Senior Director of Marketing Communications, Leap Innovations

It’s no longer enough for brands to tell their own stories. Customers and fans are actively sharing “their version” of your brand’s story. This hands-on presentation will break down the basics of how to craft a shareable brand story from the perspective of your customer.

Marketing: The Memory-Making Business
Emily Higgins - Vice President, Ameritest

Memories of past experiences play a big part in the choices we make today. To drive consumer choice, memory-building communications need to reach the three memory systems of the brain: semantic, episodic, and procedural. In the context of brand communications, these memory systems equate to the consumer’s Head (semantic), Heart (episodic), and Hand (procedural).  Discover how marketers can offer meaningful emotional value and build strong branded memories for consumers.

Under the Influence: Why Influencers Have Become Critical to Brand Success
Elly Moody - Digital Communications Manager, McDonald’s
Jeana Anderson Cohen - CEO & Founder,
Ted Otte - Content Strategist, Twitter
Ryan Rasmussen - Vice President, Social Listening and Intelligence, Wells Fargo

More than 84% of marketers say that they are interested in launching influencer campaigns. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do word of mouth from their friends. But where is a brand to begin to create an influencer strategy of its own? This panel of brands, big and small, will look at the latest trends and share best practices for engaging with the right influencers to help reach their brands’ top customers and prospects.

Luncheon Keynote
The Lou Malnati's Recipe for Brand Authenticity
Heather Stege - Chief Strategy Officer & Interim President, Lou Malnati's

Lou Malnati’s isn’t just an iconic and a beloved style of Chicago pizza—it’s also a smart, dynamic brand with 57 locations including full-service restaurants and carry out locations. Now the brand is expanding beyond its Midwestern roots with new Southwest locations and, the brand’s robust ecommerce business. During our luncheon keynote, Chief Strategy Officer and Interim President Heather Stege will share the secret recipe that is keeping the Lou Malnati’s brand authentic in the midst of this steady growth.

Breakout Session 3
The 1% Content Strategy: Combining the Top SEO and Lead Gen Tactics to Statistically Beat 99% of Brands
Andy Crestodina - Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Orbit Media Studios, Inc.

Your content and your website are a bridge between a Google search results page and your website’s thank you page. Andy outlines a step-by-step approach to make that bridge a fast-flowing highway of continuous demand, driving B2B leads through content marketing. Learn to be a “dual-threat marketer” by combining search and psychology, SEO with conversion optimization, cheese and mousetraps.

Sound Business: Finding Your Voice in an Age of Audio Disruption
Steve Keller - Sonic Strategy Director, Pandora
Colleen Fahey - Managing Director, Sixième Son USA

Once relegated to voice-overs, sound effects and music beds, the use of sound in brand communications is now a primary driver for brand identity, discovery and experience. How can brands navigate the challenges of today’s rapidly changing sonic landscape where capturing ears is as important as capturing eyes? In a presentation designed to both educate and inspire, Steve Keller and Colleen Fahey share the strategy, research and best practices they use to help brands harness the power of sound to shape consumer perception and behavior. From building a sonic identity to measuring your audio ROI, you’ll gain practical insights and helpful tips that will help you give your brand a voice, and then teach it to sing.

Shaping Human Experience to Drive Brand Trust
Aaron Horowitz - Client Development Leader, 50,000feet
Jim Misener - President, 50,000feet
Kristi Shafer - Vice President, Marketing, American Licorice Company
Lauren McCadney Williams - Director, Marketing Delivery, CDW
Patrick Bernardi - CMO, Hu-Friedy Manufacturing Company

Today’s customers are channel hoppers driven by convenience. Omni-channel harmony, flexibility and personalization are all rewarded, while roadblocks send buyers to competitors. The more moments you can perfect, and the easier it is to move between those channels, the more likely customers are to return. Today’s customers hold brands to higher standards and look for built-in emotional connections, giving you the opportunity to provide memorable moments. The better the customer experience, the more likely customers will recommend and advocate for your brand. This panel of customer experience champions will discuss how brands can shape the human experience to drive brand trust.

Breakout Session 4
The Shared Ship: Building Brands through Community
Geno Church - Word of Mouth Inspiration Officer, Brains on Fire

A shared ship is a community of people with common passions, interest and beliefs. A shared ship brings people together around a shared fight to do something meaningful, connect with others, and make a difference. Learn insights from leading brand success stories on how to inspire and empower a shared love for an idea, cause, product or brand among your best brand advocates.

Customer Centricity: Content Marketing's Silver Bullet
Jenny Voisard - Sr. Consultant, ComBlu
Kerry Kenny - Asst. Commissioner, Public Affairs, Big Ten Conference
Kelly Stone - Senior Director, Global Social Media, CompTIA
Colleen Thiry - Content Strategy Manager, TransUnion

Keep your brand marketing on target with a customer-centric content strategy. Hear valuable lessons learned from industry-leading marketers at CompTIA, Big Ten Conference and TransUnion. Learn how to use data insights, what personalization really means and how to execute a flawless content marketing strategy that will engage the right audiences.

Bringing Brand to the Forefront: Elevating the Role of Marketing
Fred Ehle - VP, Marketing, RedBox Automated Retail
Bill Fiely - CMO, Aligned Modern Health
Carla Carry - Chief Marketing Officer, PSAV
Lori Boym - Director of Marketing, Sun Belle

In some organizations brand is a driving force, leading the business agenda, with Marketing overseeing cross-functional teams and owning the P&L. But not all organizations are there yet.  For some of us, it can be a battle to get organizational leaders to understand how marketing can drive more business or to even secure a seat at the table where decisions are made. This panel will explore the best way to educate leadership in both small and large companies on the role of marketing. We will discuss ways to position Marketing as the key player in building and growing the business. Our panelists will share their struggles, successes and advice to help you bring brand stewardship to the forefront and elevate the role of Marketing at your organization.

Closing Main Stage Panel
Brand Purpose and the Politics of Everything
Jim Lecinski - Associate Professor of Marketing, Northwestern University
Shanita Akintonde, MBA, M.Ed., DTM - Associate Professor of Communications, Columbia College Chicago
David Armano - Global Strategy Director, Edelman
Jennifer Wesley - Head of Industry, Travel, Google

Like it or not, we have arrived at a point when nearly everything one can believe in or stand for has political implications. We also live in a time when consumers expect more from the brands they follow. A brand’s purpose, promise and track record is growing increasingly important to today’s buyers. The challenge comes when living your brand purpose requires taking a stance in this divisive political landscape. Hence the line between brand purpose and brand politics has blurred. How do brand stewards navigate these new and increasingly tenuous waters? Our team of academics, strategists and practitioners will provide insights, perspective and guidance to manage and stay true to your brand’s purpose amid the politics of everything.