Are you, your brand? And, how has advertising changed over the past 20 years?

Well this morning this was exactly the question that was asked, as I attended one of my breakfast salons organised by Editorial Intelligence hosted at Hult Business School and it was fascinating.

I strongly the believe as did others in the audience and EI’s founder,  Julia Hobsbawm commented,  we are our brand and by that, we are only as good as our last job/event/project and that ‘word of mouth’ I believe is the most powerful form of advertisement.

So, what was I going to learn this morning from the panel of experts?

Having started my working career in advertising back in the mid 80’s, it was fascinating to see how the trends had changed.  Back in my time, it was all about print adverts and conferences and creating videos for conferences as social media wasn’t around.  I travelled to Tokyo with Honda motorbikes to run a conference as an autocue operator, when we had to take a type writer, and it was about staying awake to manually feed the speakers speeches through the auto cue machine – ooh I am showing my age.  Then, when I left the world of advertising in the early 90’s it was changing as technology brought new platforms and well today it’s totally different as ‘digital’ is the new word.


The panel was chaired by the acclaimed Peter York, who is a real character and a great ambassador of Editorial Intelligence.  He is an author, broadcaster, journalist, management consultant and cultural commentator. He was Style Editor of Harpers and Queen for ten years and he co-authored The Sloane Ranger Handbook in the 1980 which I am sure many of you remember.

Charles Vallance

Then we had Charles Vallance who is one of the founders of VCCP ( who has a career in advertising spanning over 30 years.    And something that he touched on but I got from an article he wrote earlier this year but summed up perfectly one of his points was ‘ Good agencies and good planners 30 years ago were looking for something very similar to good agencies and good planners now – campaigns that created word of mouth, social currency, audience participation and deeper customer relationships as a result.’   Some of the campaigns he has worked on are: O2, Dyson and Compare the Market which he referred to during the session to mention only a few.   He is also the author of a great book Branded book by Charleswhich is about people who are their brand such as Johnny Bowden, Sir Paul Smith and Dyson again to mention but a few.

MT Rainey

And lastly, Mary Teresa Rainey who is Executive Chairman of the fast growing digital agency Th_nk which recently topped Marketing Week’s Reputation Survey and launched Pottermore for JK Rowling.    In 2005 she started a social enterprise in the digital arena, inspired by the potential of new media to create significant public value, which is an online social network for informal mentoring and now has over 45,000 active members.  Definitely worth a visit as some fascinating case studies and it’s all anonymous.

So, now for what we heard and these are just mere snippets of what I picked up.

  • Brand advertising in the digital age needs to be liberating and memorable
  • Digital media campaigns need to have a comprehensive communication model and need to be self-generating and earning which is where Charles used O2 and Run London as examples.
  • The need for ‘integrity/honesty’ is key and it is the behavioural patterns of a brand that need to have a clear message and be accountable.
  • A question was raised by a lady in the audience about Investment Banking and advertising and it was interesting the response, as it was explained that this was not a brand but a profession and that it wasn’t easy to advertise as compliance based.  Mary Theresa used an example of a twitter campaign that Goldman Sachs tried having 50 set answers only to fail as the customer asked a question off script.
  • It was reiterated that the power of a brand is based on the brand of the person and that is backed by the importance of choosing the correct social media and networking to get your voice.   I believe that Julia of EI is the super star of this.
  • We touched on the ‘security’ element of target branding/advertising and how much information we share and is captured but we are our own worst enemies in this.  All the times we activate our GPS and tag ourselves at a venue we are sharing our data and as someone said in the audience within his Amazon account they have ten different addresses for him.   Yesterday, I attended a talk by Chartwell Partners where Major General Jonathan Shaw was talking on Cyber Security and it is scary.
  • It was highlighted the important element of the digital world is ‘transparency’ but isn’t that what makes us trust a brand and something I believe in personally for the success of my business.  The more transparent you are the more likely people are going to buy into you, trust you and then in turn recommend you.

A really good event by Editorial Intelligence

About sjdeventsltd

Owner of SJP Consultancy, specialising in offering, flexible services for all types of events, including fundraising projects in the charity sector.
This entry was posted in Editorial Intelligence, Of General Interest, Personal Experiences and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s