Past Conferences

Brands in the Balance: Managing Continuity and Change


Strong brands are vital for success for firms and organizations. What constitutes good brand marketing, however, has dramatically changed in recent years. In the face of a digital revolution and other major changes in the marketing environment, marketers must decide which marketing practices they need to adopt, which they should stop, and which they should continue. What do top marketing academics and practitioners consider essential in building and managing their brands for long-term success? This conference will offer practical insight and actionable learnings.

Speaker Preview:

Kevin Lane Keller - Brand Marketing Revolution? Not So Fast

Susan Fournier - Is Your Brand a “Partner,” a “Best Friend” or a “Secret Affair” For Your Customers?

Alex Chernev - Lifestyle Branding: The New Frontier of Competitive Differentiation


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Please make your hotel reservations by calling the Charleston Place Hotel at (843) 722-4900. To receive the group rate of $185, please be sure to mention MSI.If you have any questions, please contact MSI's Conference Director, Donna Peck, at

 For your reference, below is general contact information for the hotel.

Charleston Place Hotel
205 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 722-4900

Click here to learn more about the great city of Charleston.


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Participants at the conference worked in teams on an exercise to suggest branding practices which firms should “start, stop, and continue.” A number of significant themes emerged from the discussion. Two are highlighted here.

  1. Participants stressed the importance of being more expansive and exploratory in developing brand marketing programs by:
    • engaging employees as brand ambassadors and as a means to gain insights;
    • including selected marketing partners as members of a “content council” to guide online and other marketing communication efforts;
    • learning from and being inspired by developing markets; and
    • adding adventurous “test and learn” marketing activities to budgets.
  2. Participants also recognized the value of being focused anddisciplined in conducting marketing by:
    • staying true to the brand and not trying to be all things to all people;properly aligning sales, IT and other departments;
    • integrating marketing communications and amplifying experiential and viral programs; and
    • adopting meaningful measures for new media and other activities.

Verbatim comments offered by participants on notecards during the workshop include the following:


  • Being true to brand essence (leveraging consumer insights)
  • Being the brand you are
  • Keeping it simple (simplify brand building process)
  • Engaging consumers earlier in the design/innovation process
  • Using front line staff as a source of insights and as brand ambassadors
  • Measuring full impact of brand/marketing on employee retention
  • Looking for “brand/creative” inputs outside organization
  • Hearing from emerging markets (what works there/what can be transferred)
  • Learning how to drive loyalty with millennials
  • Establishing a content council
  • Examining role of transparency w/ behavioral insight
  • Using behavioral data
  • Developing a brand index-measure 25 most talked about brands
  • Creating media synergy, channel effectiveness, consistent to brand but relevant to channel
  • Focusing on how employees deliver/influence/mediate the brand
  • Raising questions on the appropriateness of relying on IT to run CRM offers
  • Amplifying experiential and viral activities
  • Implementing test and learn budget
  • Arming communities       
  • Breaking down silos
  • Talking about the whole brand experience
  • Rewarding or at least acknowledging “on brand” behavior
  • Understanding who we are (reasons for being)
  • Making brand asset management clear on project
  • Using employees as a primary community  builder: Arming them with content focus on three touch points


  •  Using traditional metrics to measure new media (social, gaming, viral)
  • Trying to be all things to all people
  • Letting the IT tail wag the dog (CRM)
  • Confusing brand with reputation (or at least be specific)
  • Allowing inconsistency in colors, logos, etc
  • Leaving it all to the “marketing folks” (e.g., marcom)
  • Looking solely to western brands for best practice
  • Using too many activities that we can’t measure
  • Trying to control – guide the conversation instead
  • Confusing sales and marketing
  • Trying to segment markets/aggregate customers by behaviors
  • Having too much of an ROI obsession
  • Being fixated on likes/tweets (unless connected to an outcome)


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