Under the title “Embrace uncertainty: Finding positives in unsettling times”, the Belgian Association of Marketing (BAM) organized its annual Marketing congress on the 8th and 9th of December 2022 in Brussels.
With 1 349 visitors, 63 speakers, hosts, the BAM congress team, the OFCORES event team, the partners, and suppliers, this 41st edition of the BAM marketing congress was a great success. Our team was excited to visit many of the keynotes and sessions during the two-day event while connecting with peers and subject matter experts.
From many speakers that took on the BAM stage, there are a few that I’d like to highlight in this overview.
Let’s start with Clo Willaerts and her talk about “The Future of Marketing: Chaos or Amazement?”. Clo Willaerts is a Belgian keynote speaker, author and digital strategy consultant with over 20 years of experience in digital business, digital marketing and digital culture. In her presentation, she focused on hot topics like metaverse and NFTs. Her main question was: “Should you invest in your own branded metaverse and sell customized clothing for your customer’s avatars as NFTs during a live-streamed virtual event?” The answer: Absolutely not. In her opinion, businesses should spend 10% of their marketing budget on seeing how far they can take new technologies during a controlled experiment. However, she also mentioned the harsh reality that the crisis left an impact on the current marketing budgets, and many companies decreased from 10% of total revenue to 6%.
Following a strong premise that the future of marketing doesn’t lie in Fear Of Missing Out on the latest trend, Clo made her point about how using her 4N Strategic Model is the most important when setting up your marketing budgets:
Another inspiring keynote was the one from Sara Riis-Carstensen, known for leading transformations for world-renowned brands. She was the former Global Brand Director of LEGO. In her keynote, Sara explained how she took LEGO on a transformational journey towards becoming a powerful brand, despite hurdles.
Her key message was that the superpower of a brand lies in its core purpose, and it should serve as an inspiration when creating a business strategy. She highlighted the importance of creativity and why -if you want to be a disruptor- you should think and act like children, meaning to keep exploring and staying curious.
Through the example of different “LEGO Friends” campaigns over time, she explained how they navigated as a brand through uncertainty and mistakes until they reached a successful conclusion. The first items that were launched weren’t well received by the customers because of the obvious clichés (pink for girls, etc. ), which caused a substantial negative backlash from some communities. Sara explained how they dealt with this problem through 4 different stages: Ignore, React, Embrace and Impact. The result was they launched a new campaign, completely driven by customer input and feedback.
Another great keynote came from Silvia Garcia, who worked for 15 years as an International Marketing Director and President of the Happiness Institute for Coca-Cola. As a renowned expert on positive leadership and happiness at work, she knows how to engage with all types of audiences with inspiring work-related examples of applying the science of happiness at work.
Led by a key point that happiness impacts all our decisions, but even more so the other way around that our decisions also can determine how happy we’ll be.
In Silvia’s opinion, only 50% of your happiness level is genetically determined, and 10% is determined by circumstances. Leaving us with 40% of the pure decisions we make in our lives.
She shared her formula for how to achieve higher levels of happiness:
(good ratio: 3 positives for one negative!)
She also shared eight key components of how they measured the happiness level at Coca-Cola:
Another inspiring talk came from Jürgen Ingels, an (entrepreneur who is also the author of the book “50 Lessen Voor Ondernemers”. In his book, he reveals 50 lessons he has learned as a top entrepreneur. In his keynote, he shared with the audience concrete, practical tips about how to take your company to the next level.
In his opinion, the most successful and profitable companies are companies that can squeeze time by following these suggestions:
And lastly, I’d like to mention Rik Vera, a renowned thought leader, keynote speaker, advisor and workshop facilitator on the topics of customer-centricity, ecosystems, change management, sales and marketing.
Having gathered over 20 years of C-level experience in sales and marketing-related functions, he now inspires companies to develop customer-centric strategies fit for a connected world. He is also the author of “The Managers The Day after Tomorrow” (2018) and “A guide to the Ecosystem Economy” (2021).
When talking about the most important skills of the future, Rik listed the 5 Cs: Creativity, Curiosity (NCS – Net Curiosity Score), Compassion, Critical Thinking and Collaboration.
We hope these insights will inspire you as much as they inspired us. A big thank you to the BAM team for hosting another amazing event, and see you at the next BAM 2023!