Editor’s Letter: Facing the Future at Brandweek

The summit is less than a month away

Brandweek is Sept. 23-25 in Palm Springs, Calif.
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If you really stop to think about it, the relationship between brands and consumers is changing at mind-boggling speed and with myriad complexities. At every turn consumers are adopting technology, software, platforms and even philosophies that inexorably transcend the traditional relationship between seller and buyer.

A senior marketing exec in the technology sector who I interviewed last week succinctly summed up this dynamic shift when I asked him what brand marketers—at their own peril—are underestimating about modern consumers. Without missing a beat, his answer was: “Brands still think they are in control. They aren’t. Consumers are in control. Until we really put the consumer first, with the help of responsibly rendered and applied data science, we are throwing time, effort and money out the window.”

Kind of a mic-drop moment if you ask me.

This new reality is something that the Adweek editorial team has been covering from many different angles for the past two years. It spins off fascinating stories almost on an hourly basis and will continue to be a generational story for those working in the media and marketing industries. There has never been a more exciting time to be in marketing.

It is also why we are bringing back the storied Brandweek brand as an event franchise to face the challenges and opportunities of a transforming brand marketing ecosystem through in-person dialogue, workshopping, networking and experience.

Held in Palm Springs, Calif., Sept. 23-25, the Brandweek summit is less than a month away, and it has been exciting to connect with the speakers over the past weeks in preparation. The agenda is absolutely jam-packed with some of the brightest minds in the business, and the interaction with them (there will be no panels or passive participation during the three days) will both inspire and offer real, actionable takeaways.

Those two elements are critical to succeed in modern marketing. You have to be inspired and excited to see the massive opportunity to embrace, and entrepreneurially tackle, data and consumer-centric creative transformation. And, quite frankly, you need to get smarter about your job—and very, very quickly. You need new skills, you need a new mindset, you need new talent and you need a new culture.

The conga line of challenges is long indeed. How do you tie marketing to revenue? How are you deploying marketing technologies like AI and design thinking? How are you realigning to understand, and keep pace with, customer journeys? And, in this presently poisonous time of hacking and fakery, how are you going to do it all in a responsible way that will help rather than harm the folks buying your products or services?

We hope to tackle these tough issues and more. Eighteen months in the making, Brandweek has been designed to help inspire and educate. The agenda we’ve blueprinted will begin to accomplish that goal and create a new community of dreamers and doers around the proposition of brand transformation.

I hope you can join us in the desert at the end of the month to face the future together.

This story first appeared in the September 3, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.