February 04, 2017

Brand Summit

By Deleita Gyasi ‘18

In early December, I had the pleasure of attending the Brand Summit at the Aurora. This
event consisted of five panelists, Seth Price (VP at Placester) Roni Kabessa (Founder / CEO of DCI), Alec Beckett (Creative Partner at Nail) Gaemer Gutierrez (Creative Director) & Lori Kettle (Owner of PVDonuts) and JWU alumnus. Besides enjoying free drinks and pizza, I took a lot of beneficial advice from the panel.

Branding is the representation and perception of a product or an individual, whether he or she be an entrepreneur, creator, or professional. What I learned was branding yourself or product is a way to make you stand out; as Alec Beckett, Creative partner at Nail, said, "who cares?" What makes a product or individual so special? What makes it different than others? Why does it stand out in comparison to the top selling competition?

Compare it to JWU’s version of Shark Tank, SharkFest. Imagine being both the contestant and the judge: it is imperative to criticize thoroughly, but know that through that, growth is attained. Many classic brands, including Coca Cola, Nike, and McDonalds, have to continue to brand themselves to stay competitive in an always changing business environment. Smart advertising can persuade the consumer to buy from one as opposed to the other.

Doing something out of the ordinary is always important to gain a bigger demographic. Remember Mike and Ike in 2012? Everyone started freaking because they were breaking up due to creative differences, but were they really? As soon as consumers saw that one name scratched out and the other remained...it drew attention. When Twix told us to pick a side, that had never been done before, especially since there is no difference between the two. Twix has been my favorite chocolate bar since ...EVER! So I should know if there is a change, but there was not. CVS stopped selling cigarettes and REI closed on Black Friday.

These companies broke the rules to stand out, creatively branding themselves. Risky changes are involved to keep a brand on top. This seminar taught me a lot about what I want to as a Fashion Merchandising & Retail Marketing major, because there is so much to do within the fashion industry it's hard to pick a job but this summit is leading me in the right direction. Wherever there's a brand summit in the future or workshop, I caution you to take full advantage. There are business people who pay advisors to help them with their companies, and this brand summit was of no charge to anyone. We're all still finding ourselves and what companies and jobs we want, take advantage of every opportunity and take control of your future.