This week, Incite Group’s Brand Marketing Summit took place in New York City and brought together more than 500 attendees to connect on pressing priorities in the world of branding and marketing. With the tagline “Marketing is Dead: Engagement is Alive,” it’s no surprise that the prevailing theme of many discussions this year centered around human engagement and re-grounding marketing approaches.

In case you weren’t able to make it this year, Modern Marketing Today captured some of the top takeaways from the Brand Marketing Summit. Here’s what we were most excited to share:

The ability to make your employees your top advocate is still and elusive but important factor for companies as far as their branding is concerned. Growing enthusiasm internally is key to building customer loyalty. Speakers Casey Hall, Director of Social Media for Thomson Reuters, and Jean Marie Richardson, Founder and CEO of iFOLIO, both spoke to this stance.

At the end of the day, we’re still humans marketing to humans. It doesn’t need to be complicated, flashy, or expensive to be effective, especially if those approaches don’t align with your brand’s messaging. Speakers like Ira Rubenstein, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at PBS, Catherine Brew-Cain, Senior Director of Brand Marketing at McKesson, and Chief Creative Officer of The Writer Anelia Varelia implored attendees to keep soul as a priority in their marketing efforts.

Ultimately, that human connection translates to the bottom line. It seems obvious, but sometimes marketers need to be reminded that technology is a means to an end, with that end being making a genuine connection with customers. Vice President and Head of Brand Marketing & Advertising at Prudential Niharika Shah explained how good business sense transcends something like cultural and language barriers and appreciating those gaps will lead to success.

All this said, there was also some pushback about some of the messages being shared at the event. A call for more compelling messaging and marketing campaigns instead of blaming short attention spans throws down the gauntlet. Human nature is not always to blame, so to speak; rejection of some marketing campaigns can just be the result of tone deafness or ignorance around strong storytelling.

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