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Building on the Emotional Experience of the Brand Linking Individual Brands With the Brand of a Convention or Event

By David Saxby


As professional speakers, we each seek to create our own brand. However, in today's marketplace, aligning everything we do with the brand of the convention or event will assist us in fulfilling the expectations of those who hire us.
A 'brand' includes something as simple as a 'logo' or 'slogan', or something more complex such as the 'colors', look and feel of the venue or the convention theme. The brand reflects the style or flavor of the convention. This leads us to the crux of the matter. How can speakers crease a unique convention experience?

Connect Everything

What is the style? Is it conservative, contemporary, casual, leading edge? A clue might be found in who has spoken at past conventions and what their content and topics were. What did the organizers like and dislike? Try to connect that style to your presentation and materials.

Customize Introductions

Address why we are the right speakers (experts) for this audience at this time. We should ensure that the person introducing us reads our introduction as written to have had introducers abbreviate to "Here's David'' That might have worked for Johnny Carson but it does nothing to enhance the promise of a unique experience. I have been introduced as Dr. Saxby. In she words of Groucho Marx, "I'm no doctor, but I do look like one." Your introduction sets the stage and mentally prepares the audience for the experience, so it is important so ensure that it gives the right impression.

Customize Content

On the June 2004 Voices of Experience CD, 'Alan Weiss', CSP, recommends that we' modify speeches for the environment not just for this client but for that day and that time...don't be a one-trick-pony."

How do we connect our presentations so that environment as that particular time? Perhaps by interviewing executives and front line workers about current challenges and asking what is important so speak about and what is taboo. We should incorporate the organization's mission, values, goals and successes, and use quotations from its' people. We might even consider interviewing the competition.

Change Delivery

'Tom Winninger'. CSP, CPAE, states that he has changed how he creates and delivers a presentation so become more process oriented, rather than lust ideas connected together." This means leading an audience from the problem through a logical process to an actionable outcome.

In his book What a Great Idea, Chic Thompson suggests that we try to capture "killer phrases"-thoughts, words or ideas that will immediately connect with the audience. Arrive early to pick up the tone of the convention, key phrases and ideas that other speakers or attendee, are using. Find our who or what is on before and after you.

Reinforce the experience after the convention. I have participants write on a 3 X 5" index card both their e-mail address and one key idea learned that they plan to use. I summarize the ideas and send them an enewsletter which again incorporates the brand

Get Innovative

As speakers we have the advantage of offering an outside perspective. One of my clients, a franchiser, is hosting an international convention this fall. He envisioned having several franchisees talk about their successes but was concerned that they aren't professional speakers. When he asked for suggestions, I offered to coach the franchisees to ensure that their presentations were effective and related to the core brand, or alternatively to coach and moderate a panel of franchisees.

Include the Brand

Include the brand in audiovisual materials, learning guides, products, enewsletters and during teleclasses. You can even "create an audio logo (an audio track) to promote the convention theme and your presentation."

The brand is the promise of a unique experience. If your client has invested in a brand, the stakeholders and conference attendees will identify with the experience of the brand. Consistent and repeated use of the brand in everything we do reinforces the experience and creates buy-in and loyalty for both current and future conventions. Build on the emotional experience of she brand and your next convention will be a success.

A marketing strategist and branding expert for 25 years, 'David Saxby' is known as a 'catalyst to igniting innovative thinking'. A former award winning advertising Creative Director, David is a past national board member of CAPS (the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers) and can be contacted at: or 403.244.7450