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SES NY Day Three Session of the Day: John Gerzema Keynote
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Day three of SES New York started out with an amazing keynote by John Gerzema author of The Brand Bubble. I would suggest that Mr. Gerzema gave the best "presentation" of the entire conference. His keynote was entitled, The Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid It.

John Gerzema is the Chief Insights Officer at Young & Rubicam Group. His presentation was profoundly engaging with various examples that everyone in the audience could relate to. I'll summarize a few of the many interesting items that were discussed. See the end of the post for the actual presentation.

I must admit that I was a little in awe with this presentation. I love this stuff! The presentation itself was cool with all of the examples that John used, and he didn't use just one or two, he had a ton of great examples that help tell his story.


He used elements of real life from humor and sheer numbers to illustrate how brand value has changed over recent times. John started out his amazing presentation discussing the need to manage for an upturn. You need to have superior cash flow and sustainable growth. It is important to align your brand and business strategy. Some of the other items that John touched on included:
  • It’s time like these when you have to do more with less. John went on to discuss the importance of focusing on the core of your business.
  • He mentioned that in the US, unemployment is the highest it has been in 25 years. For three consecutive months there have been 600K job losses per month.
  • In the past few months, millionaires have lost one third of their worth
  • Marketing must move from passion to compassion – John referenced Maslow’s hierarchy and that the essentials are what’s important to people now. He also said that the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy (fundamental basic needs) is very social as people are focusing on safety. Mentioned a collision of social media. There is a focus on what is real (ie food shelter basic needs)
  • Mentioned that the only certainty is uncertainty
  • There is a cultural shift in consumerism based on lack of trust (especially with the corporate world). There has been a failure of regulations and a decay in infrastructure (both emotionally and physically)
  • The top 250 most valuable global brands are worth about 2.12 trillion dollars
  • Consumers are re-thinking the trust value of brands (dubbed this the Trust Virus)
  • Consumer spending has experienced the largest drop in 62 years
  • John discussed 4 rules for post crisis criticism
  • John presented numerous great examples of brand success stories including one that stoof out for Kraft and how Kraft has created ifood assistant that creates meals on the go for busy moms. It’s one of the most popular iPhone applications available right now.
  • There is a new emphasis on self-improvement (people are settling in for a longer period of time; examples included that people are keeping their automobiles for longer periods of time in fact an all-time length of time
  • Mentioned that high end haggling is in fashion
  • Active listening w/ big companies
  • Consumers don’t trust companies, they trust the people with/at companies
  • He mentioned that companies need to trust their employees to be advocates for their brand (used Zappos as an example)
Calamity Presentation - SES Keynote Calamity Presentation - SES Keynote John Gerzema Presentation from SES NY Keynote. March 26, 2009.


Amazing stuff! This was a fantastic presentation, take the time to check it out. Also if you have not yet read The Brand Bubble, you'll want to pick it up. As a side note another great session of the day was the SEO Toolbox session due in large part to the presentation of Bruce Clay. Day three at SES NY 2009 was by far the best of the conference.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, March 26, 2009  
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