The following is a perspective of the brand forum at PayPal written by Linda Martinez, marketing student at San Jose State University.
It was a delight to attend the Silicon Valley Brand Forum at PayPal. For a marketing student, being surrounded by such a knowledgeable group of branding experts was truly enriching. Josh Feldmeth, Interbrand’s North America CEO kicked things off by speaking about Interbrands Best Global Brands of 2015. He opened with some fun trivia slides, seeing if the audience could figure out the brand based on interesting facts about the company. Following his introduction, he led into a few different discussions. One interesting discussion that emerged was whether strong brands protected companies from crises. The conclusion was that strong brands did protect companies from crisess unless the brand went against their core competence, as was the case with Arthur Andersen and Enron. Some other instances, such as Sea World, Toyota, and Tylenol saw that their brand did help protect them from hardship and enable them to bounce back. This discussion brought to mind the current Volkswagen situation and the outcome of the problems they are facing.
The second portion of the event was a panel discussion featuring a variety of highly experienced marketing professionals. It was very insightful to gain diverse perspectives from these professionals as they shared their unique experiences. During the panel discussion, I learned the difference between nonprofit and for profit companies. Nonprofits are mission-based and for profits are purpose-based, yet both require a passion for success. Another thing I noticed mentioned frequently was the significance of trust. Trust not only with the brand and customers but within a company as well. It was interesting to hear about the concept of empowering employees and customers to tell their stories. There is inherent risk in having others speaking on a company’s behalf, however the only thing a company can do is hope their clarity and purpose carries through to the externally created messages. Adobe had a great example: encouraging customers to submit tinkered with versions of the Adobe logo which was then used for employee business cards.
Overall I thought this was a great event which brought a diverse group of marketing professionals together to talk about what we are all so passionate about!