I would like to start my preview of this year’s OnBrand conference with a question:

Do we still need brands?

Consumers are blocking ads, brand value is falling, and most people wouldn’t care if 74% of all brands disappeared completely.

But while the future looks bleak for brands, in a time where companies and industries constantly face disruption, I would argue that branding is more important than ever. It’s just changed.

If a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) study is anything to go by, the value of brands is declining while the value of customer relationships is on the rise.

We’re living in an economy where consumers increasingly prefer products or services that provide convenience and top class user experiences over emotional appeal and big ideas.

Successful brands today are less dependent on their brand image and more on a customer’s direct experience and relationship with their product or service.

Just look at some of the most successful unicorns in the recent years - Uber, Airbnb, Spotify - what do they all have in common? They prize access over ownership, user experience over emotional benefit, rapid innovation over long-term margins.

But most importantly, they all cater to a new, connected and empowered consumer.

Succeed in a Brand New Era

However, navigating this new and competitive digital landscape is a tall order for brands big and small. Not only are consumers on multiple channels, they are also blocking ads, making it increasingly difficult for marketers and advertisers to win their attention.

But with challenges come opportunities.

That’s why we decided to center this year’s OnBrand conference around the concept, “Succeed in a Brand New Era”, to celebrate the success stories of some of the world’s favorite brands.

We’ve handpicked speakers from brands such as Uber, LinkedIn, Comedy Central and HubSpot, and invited them to share their stories and insights on how to build a successful brand in the 21st century.
Uber’s Casper Oppenhuis de Jong will reveal the marketing secrets behind Uber’s global scaling, while Comedy Central’s Kevin Gepford will give us an inside look into Comedy Central’s digital workspace.

But it’s not just the tech taking center stage. In an era of accountability, young consumers are looking for brands that stand for something. That’s why we’re excited to have the man behind Tony’s Chocolonely, the brand on a mission to achieve 100% slave-free chocolate, to share the company’s inspiring brand story.

In the afternoon, we will host a very special brand tech panel where speakers from Event Tech Lab, TQ Amsterdam and others will discuss developments in this space. In our Strategy track, Growth Tribe’s David Arnoux will be leading an interactive growth hacking workshop on brand building in the digital age.

This October, industry experts, thought leaders and marketing professionals will come together in Amsterdam for a full day of digital insights and networking. We hope you’ll be one of them.