By Beth Thompson
Last year was the first year I was physically on the ground at Advertising Week. I was amazed at the talent that was represented at various sessions - and was even more excited about the opportunity to rub shoulders with some really amazing industry giants. My co-worker even bumped into Katie Couric in the audience of one session - photobombing a photobomb!
The environment of Advertising Week is made to be accessible to those who are interested in learning real-life lessons from advertising's brightest thought leaders. To celebrate Advertising Week's twelfth year of highly engaging and motivational sessions, here's a preview list (in no particular order) of 12 people to try and "bump" into at this year's event! You'll never know who you may run into going from session to session!
- Linda Boff: I am always eager to see what GE has up their sleeve on new ways to shape brand perception of their iconic company in a competitive innovation landscape. Boff, Executive Director of Global Brand Marketing at GE, will talk about optimizing content marketing and publishing strategies to ensure that the right audiences are hearing your brand's messaging. This session is sure to keep you on your toes - making you think about the content that you are creating for your brand and ways to evolve it for the better in the future. Event info here.
- Steve Hasker: Insights. ROI. As companies are finessing ways that they are outsmarting competition, the demand for even better analytics has become larger than life. Hear from Hasker, Global President of Nielsen, on how to measure "total audience" for content and ads across all consumer access points. Clients will be begging for measurement insights from this presentation. Event info here.
- Jeremy Skule: Disruption. Our industry's (current) favorite buzzword - and to be honest, one of my favorite buzzwords as well. Sit in on the brand-positioning panel moderated by Skule, CMO of Nasdaq, and learn from highly respected brands and how their disruptive positioning strategy has helped them successfully communicate with targets. Sounds like the perfect session for any of your challenger brands. Event info here.
- Sheryl Sandberg: Since the rise of the Lean-In movement, I have loved listening to any wisdom that Sandberg has to share - not only from a women in business perspective, but also from a strategic business standpoint as well. And during AWXII specifically, she will share learnings from her experience as COO of Facebook and will offer guidance and expertise on ways to evolve your business in the mobile world that we are currently living in. Event info here.
- Zoe Saldana: Saldana is an awesome actress and I am looking forward to sitting in on a session where she will share her insights, based on her social following of more than 3M people, on how to keep millennial attention by focusing on shaping content that will speak specifically to this demographic. Event info here.
- David Dembowski: We're living in a content driven world - and because of this - brands can't survive without a comprehensive content strategy. Hear from Dembowski, VP of Tumblr Sales at Yahoo, on best ways to share brand stories when working to captivate audiences. More info here.
- Aarona Lopez: I'm a big fan of Wild 'N Out. And I cannot wait to hear from the witty and hilarious Lopez about her opinion on how brands can better represent diversity when implementing "Total Market" strategies. Learnings will be sure to shape communications strategies for the future of many brands. More info here.
- Jonathan Perelman: I was excited to hear from Perelman last year when he was still at Buzzfeed. And this year, as he shifted roles and is now head of digital ventures at ICM partners, he will share expertise on the future of content partnerships - a somewhat blurry line when dealing with earned and paid media. Event info here.
- Chuck Porter: I love watching the work that comes out of CP+B. Porter, Co-Founder and Chairman, will host a discussion that will put a spotlight on brands that are owned by CP+B, and how a special team of employees is specifically dedicated to growing this segment of business - ultimately helping to attract and maintain talent for the agency. Retaining talent is key at every agency, so this will, no doubt, be a great learning session. Event info here.
- Margo Georgiadis: Consumer habits are evolving - from what was once more of a routine (read the paper, watch the same TV shows, listen to the same radio station) to what is now based on keeping up with our attention span being spread across multi channels and vehicles. Georgiadis, President of Americas at Google, will moderate a discussion on shaping a media plan that capitalizes on reaching consumers in the moments that matter most. Bonus, we'll hear from CMO Kelly Bennett of Netflix during this discussion (hail to binge-watching TV). Event info here.
- Lolo Jones: Jones has a great story and is an amazing Olympian that I truly admire. I am looking forward to hearing her participate on a discussion about how social media has changed the realm of celeb interaction with fans and what that could mean for brand endorsements in the future. More info here.
- Corey Evans: WestJet's Christmas Miracle is a campaign, and viral video, that I will never forget. Evans, Manager, Community Investing and Experiential Marketing and team were able to masterfully pull on consumers' heartstrings in a highly impactful way that has left a lasting memory on many. Every brand wants to have a campaign like this - and I can't wait to hear what he has to say about the future of experiential marketing. More info here.
Gear up for an exciting week and check out the expanded list of AWXII speakers here. And while you're at it, don't forget to download the AWXII app - it will definitely keep you organized as more than 250 stellar events hit Times Square next week!