Winning in the Downturn – Conference highlights

I was pretty damn chuffed to be invited to open the UK's most important marketing conference last week: the annual Marketing Society Conference. The theme was "Winning in the Downturn", and so our work on Recession-Proof branding was a good way to kick off the day.

You can watch the speach by clicking on the play button in the frame below, or download the slides here. If you are a member of the society you can watch the videos of the other speakers here.

And Antti Ohrling, founder of mobile network blyk, has done a great blog post on highlights from the conference. As you will see, there was an excellent line-up of speakers. Summary below, full post here:

1. Les Binet and Peter Field shared tips based on looking at data on the effects of different advertising strategies during a downturn:
– Cut the right costs (not marketing)
– Cutting SOV causes long term damage and your brand at risk
– A recession is a marketing opportunity
– Promotions are not the solution
– Emotions are key, even when times are tough

2. Will Whitehorn from Virgin Galactic shared the exciting prospect of space tourism and the revolutionary
opportunities associated with it. They have built a solid business case
around an innovative idea.

3. Nick Vermont shared some lessons learned from McCain Foods
over the recent years, namely how to recover from a “health scare”
driven by tabloids. They have done a brilliant job by becoming open,
approachable and doing the good thing.

4. Levi Roots took us through his extraordinary story of Reggae Reggae sauce
– the big success of the year – and his passion to bring Jamaican food
to a wider audience. And he sung and the Reggae Reggae song which
really delighted the audience.

5. Sir Matthew Pinsent was
talking about winning margins and shared his story when preparing for
the Athens Olympics – a true thriller! No wonder he has become one of
the UK’s most successful and highest profile athletes of all time.

6. Simon Clift from Unilever
claimed that environmental sustainability will be the centre of consumer
behaviour. He made us think about all the millions of kids dying from
diarrhea every year due to poor hygiene which put the current recession
in the right perspective.

7. Jill McDonald from McDonald’s
shared with us how they have made a complete brand turnaround which was
a good description on how to improve your position during hard market

The Marketing Society Conference in the one event I always attend, and I'd recommend booking for next year's conference on 17th November 2009, which celebrates "50 year's of forward thinking". You can book here.