The Reception


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Brave-hearted marketing

If only all conferences were as genuinely brave and inspirational as this one was. We learned how hierarchy, blame and control get in the way of bravery, the importance of accepting pain, failure and disadvantage as unwanted but necessary drivers of bravery and just how damned, “difficult, difficult, lemon-difficult” it is. To honour perhaps the first conference I’ve ever been to, without a single weak presentation, here’s my attempt to summarise and thank each of the wonderful speakers. Labels are for jam jars – Caroline Casey Striding the stage in leathers and 5-inch heels, Caroline told how she crossed India on an elephant to fund 6,000 cataract operations and how her #valuable inclusion revolution has reached 810 million people. All before mentioning she’s blind. Wow, inclusion really is ‘the new green’.

'Be brave enough to try'

Having been “Brave” last year, this year’s marketing society conference set out to be “Braver”. An unorthodox agenda, bringing together an eclectic mix of people from inside and outside the marketing world, tied together by a common theme of courage.  

Brand of Year: Bodyform

At our Annual Dinner on 14 November at Lord’s Cricket Ground, Bodyform was voted Brave Brand of the Year in association with Campaign sponsored by IBM iX. Over 500 senior marketers, gathered to celebrate the marketing industry’s achievements and cast their vote live, selecting Bodyform from a final list of four other brave brands - also unveiled on the night –  British Army, Skittles, Sky and Ugly Drinks. The search for Brave Brand of the Year began in September when a group of marketing leaders, led by The Marketing Society chief executive Gemma Greaves, met to debate which brands had taken risks and stood out in a competitive environment. A shortlist of 20 was published and readers of Campaign and members of the society were invited to choose their favourite. The final five were revealed last night and dinner guests then voted Bodyform the winner.

‘Dare to be Braver’

Gemma Greaves, the Society’s chief executive, opened yesterday’s Braver 2018 Conference with the declaration that — following last year’s inaugural bravery-themed conference — “this year, we decided to go braver”. It was a notion that clearly resonated throughout the day in the words of an array of leaders, activists, authors, academics and even a Ballardian satirist who painted a dystopian picture of a future in which marketing has literally permeated the bodies of consumers. Everyday bravery When one hears the word ‘brave’, it’s common for the mind to conjure images of physical bravery — warriors striding into battle or firefighters entering a burning building. But Braver 2018’s speakers spoke of a more subtle, nuanced form of bravery, one accessible to all. None more so than Dr Caroline Casey, whose opening address saw her talk about the bravery of the “everyday”. “Being brave is being authentically yourself,” she said.

10 things: our conference

We were thrilled to share the Brave Conference 2018 with so many of you in London, New York, Dubai and Hong Kong yesterday. In London’s Science Museum it was a day that began with a passionate call out for human inclusion and ended with a somewhat dark dystopian vision of the future.   Here are 10 things we learned.

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