Editor’s Letter: Challenging Conventions at Brandweek

Our inaugural summit has gathered some of the brightest minds

Marci McCue, Flipboard; Nicholas Horbaczewski, DRL; Alex Williamson, Bumble; Jeff Brooks, Casper

Brandweek used to be just a magazine. Adweek too, and Mediaweek. The latter of the three is where I first encountered the new digital marketing and media economy as a reporter, covering the rise of the cable business and the nascent stirrings of next-gen content, marketing, distribution and monetization.

A lot has happened in that 20-year span—yes, it’s been that long. The rise of the internet, omnichannel audiences, ad tech, smartphone ubiquity and data-led marketing science. Almost none of it, however, has really considered the consumer beyond a squishy demo, the faintest statistically acceptable rating or empty calorie click or view—phantom proxies for traditional media’s long-held but now rapidly waxing reign.

This has all led up to a key inflection point where marketers in the traditional sense are really not in control anymore. The software in the new iPhones and the pervasive on-demand-only reality of most customers have wiped that slate clean. The consumer revolution is at hand.

Brand marketers that will be with us in the next five to 10 years understand that with gin-clear vision—and our inaugural Brandweek summit, which kicks off this morning in Palm Springs, Calif., has gathered some of the brightest minds. Just look at our Challenger Brand track: eight marketers from fashion (M.Gemi) and media (Flipboard) to sleep products (Casper) and drones (the Drone Racing League). In building this portion of the agenda over the past eight months, we found this category of executives to be so rich with potential learnings and inspiration that we’ve not only created a special issue on Oct. 22 to feature more of them but also a full-blown event in New York, Feb. 6-7, to fully spotlight their future-forward strategies.

I’ve had the pleasure, along with my colleague Kristina Monllos, Adweek’s senior editor, brand marketing, to hear from a good many of these executives for the On the Road to Brandweek interview series we’ve been running on Adweek.com in the lead-up to this week. They’ve all had very compelling answers and talking points, and I’m excited to hear them share their experiences and perspectives with our attendees, who will be encouraged to absorb what they have to say and then roll up their sleeves and engage with them about it.

Today, as you’ll quickly see, Brandweek has become a next-generation summit that will help transform the $600 billion brand marketing ecosystem and begin to set a new consumer-centric course that will benefit both brand marketer and their platform, publisher and agency partners.

Brandweek used to be just a magazine. But today it becomes a movement and mind-set. We hope you are here to bring your voice, lend a hand and share your vision of our bright future together.

This story first appeared in the September 24, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.