Erin Paul, Director of Design Strategy, The Trinity Group

Panel Moderator:

“Getting Creative with the B2C Agency of the Future”
“Getting Creative with the B2B Agency of the Future”


favicon-50Erin Paul is a strategic leader and creative problem solver for a wide range of brand challenges with over 18 years of experience working with CPG companies. She has led brand building initiatives and new product brand and packaging development for MillerCoors, Constellation Brands, The Hershey Company, Campbell’s and Albertsons, to name just a few.

Her years spent as a designer and her in-depth knowledge of the brand development lifecycle allow her to be an effective translator between strategic business objectives and effective design solutions. Tapping into this “whole brain” mentality to bring clients innovative solutions is her pursuit and passion. With a creative bent and talent for imagining possibilities, Erin blurs disciplinary lines to bring clients unique solutions for the most challenging problems.

Twitter @ErinLeighPaul

Fred Richards, Chief Creative Officer & Partner, Kaleidoscope to Speak at BrandSmart 2016



Kaleidoscope_Logo_RegularAs Kaleidoscope CCO, Fred plays an integral role in the growth and evolution of the firm’s strategic creative vision, client service processes and business development efforts. He ensures that Kaleidoscope leverages its diverse creative talent from all offices in Chicago, New York and Europe to generate fresh, strategic packaging design solutions for clients.

Fred joined Kaleidoscope in 2014 and has worked in the international design industry for more than 20 years, specifically in the “Fast Moving Consumer Goods” category. Having worked for some of the world’s leading branding and design companies in Britain, USA, Switzerland, Fred brings a multifaceted perspective and rich design philosophy to Kaleidoscope’s design.

Chicago Cubs Senior Director of Marketing, Alison Miller to Speak at BrandSmart 2016

BrandSmart 2016: Creativity: Connecting Ideas to Drive Results, takes place Thursday, April 28, 2016.


Transforming the Cubs Brand



Alison joined the Chicago Cubs in 2012 as senior director of marketing.  At the Cubs, Alison is responsible for branding, marketing, fan research, advertising, broadcasting and game entertainment at Wrigley Field.  Prior to joining the Cubs, Alison spent over a decade in marketing at General Mills where she was tasked with brand management of products including Cheerios, Chex, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker.  Alison earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2000 and her MBA from Harvard Business School in 2005. She was a starter on the women’s basketball team at Michigan, helping lead the Wolverines to two NCAA appearances in both 1998 and 2000.   Alison resides in Lincoln Park.

A 140 year old brand with the longest championship drought in all of sports (yes, it’s been 107 years).  An unfortunate  ‘loveable losers’ nickname.   A historic but dilapidated ballpark.  Behind new ownership and investment from the Ricketts family, a major reboot has happened on the north side.  Both on and off of the field, the Chicago Cubs are the ultimate turn around brand in the making.  Cubs Senior Director of Marketing Alison Miller will give us a behind-the-scenes look at how the organization is crafting a transformation of one of sport’s most iconic brands.



Craig Greenfield, COO, Performics Worldwide to Speak At BrandSmart 2016

BrandSmart 2016: Creativity: Connecting Ideas to Drive Results, takes place Thursday, April 28, 2016.


Brand-Building and Data-Driven Demand Generation


Today, consumers move seamlessly and simultaneously across channels and devices in the path-to-purchase. Every brand touchpoint is part of a holistic, omni-channel shopping journey. The lines between physical and virtual shopping have blurred, with mobile as the key integrator. No matter where, each and every moment could be “shoppable.” Throughout this journey, consumers have come to expect highly personalized experiences, aligned with their wants and needs, in specific moments. Yet, many advertisers still treat every customer and moment the same. Intent is the largest marketing variable. It shapes how people discover content, dictates paths-to-purchase and mediates meaningful interactions with brands, regardless of media type. In today’s landscape, successful advertisers are identifying intent at each consumer decision point, matching that intent and turning it into conversions.
  •  Move from mass marketing to moment marketing, and pull strategy to predictive strategy
  • Build a process to understanding consumer intent, extracting meaning from data: consumer journeys, search keywords, device, geo, demographics, CRM etc.
  • Create an intent hypothesis, a vision of experiences that you think will best engage each of your audiences by moment
  • Leverage in-market data (clicks, leads, conversions)–powered by advanced analytics–to continually validate and refine your intent hypothesis


Performics logoSince 2005, Craig’s interest in scaling large client programs and developing company-wide processes has helped Performics successfully transition into the first truly global performance marketing agency. In his current position, Craig leads global technology and innovation, a dynamic network of change agents focused on identifying, evaluating and developing new products, services and systems to ensure competitiveness and improved operational efficiency. Craig works in tandem with Performics’s worldwide leadership, client teams and external partners to help clients identify and capture new business opportunities, negotiate strategic partnerships and enhance operational efficiency. To deliver more comprehensive solutions, the team cultivates the organization’s innovation capacity by building processes or systems. This allows them to share learning, knowledge, and the tools needed to execute effective strategy.
Craig earned a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa. Prior to Performics, Craig worked at Jacobs & Clevenger and J. Walter Thompson serving clients in Automotive, Financial Services, Retail/eCommerce and Deregulated Industries.
Social links: and Twitter @craiggreenfield

The high cost of — and new cures for — poor customer engagement.

By Chuck Kent, Chicago AMA Programming Committee Member, Director of Brand Content, Avenue

Marketing Slam visual with nameAn interesting report from Gallup raises the stakes for innovation in customer engagement—just as an interesting new event from the Chicago American Marketing Association is about to present new perspectives on how to truly engage (Feb. 23 at 1871).

“The State of the American Consumer” paints a new picture of engagement in post-recession America, one where better UX or CX must be measured by the ability to deliver superior EX… Emotional Experience. As Gallup’s research notes, “Customer engagement…. a customer’s emotional or psychological attachment to a brand, product, or company — is the definitive predictor of business growth.”

Unfortunately, it also reports that tried and true approaches to boosting engagement and delivering that growth cutting in an era where customers may long for more than user-friendliness or even superior performance. “Simply put,” says Gallup, “consumers will give more money to the businesses they feel emotionally connected to, and they will continue to ignore, or even oppose, those that provide them no [such] value.”

There’s a happy, if not surprising, alignment between what Gallup encourages and the ideas to be detailed at the first Marketing SLAM! Being presented by the Chicago American Marketing Association (Chicago AMA). For this new event, Chicago AMA encouraged professionals from the full spectrum of marketing to propose presentations on the theme “Overlooked Keys to Unlock Engagement.” A quick look at each of the six ten-minute presentations selected for the February 23 event reveals that each correlates in its own way to Gallup’s finding on the importance of emotional engagement:

  1. True Storytelling: How to Ditch the Script to Make Story Magic

There’s no telling how many times “story” has been touted in recent years as the missing bridge to span the gap between customers’ rational and emotional sides. But in a content-saturated world, where any number of barely rewritten sales pitches are passed off as “stories,” threatening to undermine the believability of the form in a business context, how can marketers access the true power of this timeless communication tool? Jolean Olson, an Emmy-winner now at Scenic Road productions, will present a case for “ditching the script” to deliver the deeper, more emotionally-honest impact that connects with inherently unscripted humans (i.e., your customers).

  1. Don’t Think Like a Marketer

When you think of customer engagement, who exactly should you think like? Even more so, who should you feel like? The answer may not be who first comes to mind — and this presentation, by Lindsay Dunn, Director of Content Marketing Solutions for the American Marketing Association, will reveal who to think like and how to get sufficiently into their hearts and minds to make the real connections that produce effective engagement.

  1. How to Divide and Conquer Customers

Customer segmentation is nothing new—but how you need to do it today is a whole new challenge and opportunity. Brad Rukstales, CEO of Cogensia, will describe how marketers can get beneath the surface of all that data to understand and even empathize with individual customers, allowing brands to engage on a more human level.

  1. Unheard of Success via Better Social Listening

“Social listening” may still be one of those words buzzing around your marketing head, having yet to register as an actionable investment of time and money. Brendan Shea, Senior Manager of Content for Sprout Social, will help you see and hear how to “listen” on social platforms in practical ways that can yield the up-to-the-minute insights required for creating spot-on content—the kind that creates engagement, engenders sharing, and connects brands to consumers (and their networks) on a deeper level.

  1. The Future is Hear: Listening and the Engaging Power of Audio

Social listening isn’t the only thing that should be perking up your marketer’s ears. Hopefully the surge in podcasts, in our ever-more mobile marketplace, has also grabbed your attention— but how can you harness that “podcast power” in more than a me-too fashion? Gary Ricke, President of Orbis Design and long-time expert in all things digital and visual, will describe his epiphany about sound and using our ears before opening your mouth on mic can yield exceptional human-to-human engagement.

  1. Beyond engagement: The Power of Co-Creation

So you’ve finally managed to engage your customer—now what? You’ve made a connection, but how can you create a relationship? As with any lasting, healthy relationship, you don’t do it alone. Brian Walker, CEO of AE Marketing and creator of the CoCreation Labs series, will demonstrate how to co-create relationships along with customers, improving innovation, on-going engagement and overall customer experience.

Don’t forget what Gallup says: “Customer engagement… is the definitive predictor of growth.”

Come to 1871 on February 23 and let six experts show you how to really grow, at the first-ever Marketing SLAM.

Check out Marketing Slam 2016 Podcast below:


7 Things Marketing Can Learn from Improv

By Michelle Batten, Chicago AMA 2016-2017 President Elect

Marketing is both an art and a science.  Throughout the last hundred years, marketing has ebbed and flowed between these two disciplines, never quite finding the elusive balance between them.  In the last five years, the marketing industry has become increasingly infatuated with the science side – for very good reasons.  Thanks to the rise of digital and social media, we now create approximately 2.5 quintillion bits of data daily according to IBM, and last year the number of marketing technology vendors doubled to over 1800 firms across 43 platform categories. This prolific technological rise requires the modern marketer to possess a more intense analytical focus and mature STEM-oriented skillset, with those that do so seeing their organizations enjoying visibly stronger ROI and overall business performance year-to-year.

But what about marketing’s art side?  While not so cut and dry, the creative arts are equally vital to the success of the overall marketing mix.  However, the process and cultural framework one needs to employ for superior creativity and innovation has not always been as clear – until now.

The rise of comedic improvisation introduced a new discipline that changed everything.  Since the first half of the twentieth century, Chicago artists and comedic actors have carefully cultivated an approach to better creativity, collaboration and a change-oriented mindset – we know it today as The Art of Improvisation.  What started out as a new method for teaching acting through simple parlor games has evolved into a world-class art form through the development of The Second City, Saturday Night Live and other improvisational communities.

A few years ago, I decided to try out “improv” – mostly as a fun, creative outlet, plus I had heard from a few others that “doing improv” could also help improve my presentation skills.  I signed up for a Level A Beginner class at Second City and soon discovered there was much, much more behind the gift of improvisation.  Games were truly only the beginning of my year-long transformational journey from spectator to improviser, and I soon fell in love with my fellow improvisers, teachers and the craft itself.  My experiences throughout A-E class levels fundamentally reshaped my views and approach to marketing and innovation.  Improv offers an invaluable framework for individuals and organizations to continuously remain fresh, go bigger and bolder and capitalize on failures that add value, which everyone can appreciate and benefit from in the long run.  While many marketing fundamentals like the four Ps remain true, the process and culture surrounding them for many brands have become stale and flat.

So, how can today’s marketers embrace their inner improv spirit?  Look no further than the leaders of Second City itself.  I recently picked up a copy of “Yes And’ – Lessons from the Second City” which highlights seven building blocks that marketers can draw from to put a little more zip, zap, zop into their brands:

Yes And Attitude

Concept – Affirm, build and heighten ideas – suspend judgement and see what evolves first, use no sparingly.

Improv Muscle Building Exercise – “Word at a Time”

Ensemble Mindset

Concept – Tight-knit, high-functioning group where the members perform as one through art of give and take

Improv Muscle Building Exercise – “Pass the Clap” and “Zip, Zap, Zop”

Authentic Response

Concept – Funny is always grounded in the truth, call out the truth even when it’s hard to hear

Improv Muscle Building Exercise – “New Choice”

Follow the Follower Approach

Concept – Leadership and expertise become dynamic, empowering individuals to bring their own ideas to the task

Improv Muscle Building Exercise – “Last Word”

Listening First Habit

Concept – Much like “deep couch sitting”, deep listening also keeps you in the moment, not looking backward or three steps ahead

Improv Muscle Building Exercise – “Gibberish”

Co-Creative Spirit

Concept – Dialogues push stories farther than monologues, partner up to develop the best ideas

Improv Muscle Building Exercise – “String of Pearls”

Failure Fearlessness

Concept – Mistakes are the gift, they are a necessary and even interesting means to an end

Improve Muscle Building Exercise – “Bippity, Bippity, Bop”

A few brands have already embraced the world of improvisation to rock their brands – Progressive Insurance with sassy Flo and her ensemble of name your price characters are among the most well-known in the industry.  While the creative more than speaks for itself, Progressive’s improv investment has also paid off handsomely in growing its Facebook and other social media fan base into the millions along with solid industry brand recognition in a very crowded field of fierce competitors.

Improv will change your life too.  I highly recommend taking at least the Level A Beginner class at Second City Training Center.  For more information on available classes, go to  You can also learn more from these great reads to improve your team building and personal leadership style ala improv:

Yes And’ – Lessons from the Second City by Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton

The Second City Almanac of Improvisation by Anne Libera

The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom by Katherine S. McKnight & Mary Scruggs

I will leave you with three of my favorites from the Yes And’ authors “One Last List” epilogue:

Be Curious.  Applaud Others.  Love Your Work.

Michaël Boumendil, President and Creative Director, Sixième Son


Hear the Brand: The Rise of Audio Branding: How to Get the Most from Your Sound


Musician, composer and producer, Michaël Boumendil graduated from EDHEC with a degree in Marketing Communication.  In 1995, at age 23, he founded the agency Sixième Son and with it, invented the concept of musical design and audio branding.

The pioneering approach of Sixième Son was quickly noticed, and the young agency’s innovation was applauded by the press.  In just a few months, Sixième Son won most of the major awards for entrepreneurship, most notably the one from l’Association Jacques Douce of La Fondation 3 Suisses, as well as the award from Défis d’Or. Michaël Boumendil became the flag bearer of an innovative field, which promoted brands in a very new way.

In 2000, Michaël Boumendil was invited to breakfast at the Hotel Matignon by Prime Minister M. Lionel Jospin, who expressed a wish for the creation of a musical design trade for music composers. In 2001, the creation of a musical identity for France Telecom was applauded by the entire communication industry, representing the first major success in audio branding.  In 2005, with the creation of the musical identity for the SNCF, Michaël Boumendil, with Sixième Son, entered into an elite circle of the most broadcast composers of music in France.  Also in 2005, Michaël Boumendil was awarded the prize for EDHEC of the Year, out of 13,000 graduates of the school.  In 2007, Sixième Son defined the audio strategy for the Korean giant Samsung galaxy and created the sound identity for the company’s mobile phones. This work represented the first nonEuropean opportunity for the agency.  Today, 20 percent of the agency’s business is created for companies outside of France. In 2007, the agency also launched the sound identity TOTAL, APRR and Lyonnaise des Eaux, as well as that of more than two-dozen other large brands.  Finally, France Culture asked Sixième Son to create its first sound identity as well as handle the branding of its programming and communication.
Today, more than 250 brands operating in nearly 180 countries employ the creations produced by Sixième Son. Among these brands are: Accor, AXA, Royal Air Maroc, Christian Dior, ipad air 3, Cartier, Coca-Cola, Michelin, EDF, Peugeot, FDJ, Bel etc.

Every day in France, over 40 million people hear at least one creation developed by the agency.  Abroad, it is nearly a half billion daily listeners. And today, with over twenty employees, Sixième Son is the undisputed leader in musical design servicing companies and brands.


Colleen Fahey, US Managing Director, Sixième Son


Hear the Brand: The Rise of Audio Branding: How to Get the Most from Your Sound


Colleen Fahey is a seasoned creative executive with deep expertise in branding and marketing at multiple touch points.
When she learned of Sixième Son, a Paris audio branding agency that had created over 300 audio brands, she approached them about expanding their borders to North America. Three years ago, she opened Sixième Son in the US. Since then has led Sixième Son’s audio branding initiatives for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, a major research hospital, a famous diaper brand, a college, a top-ten pharma company and a global vaccine launch.
Throughout her career, Colleen has worked for major marketing organizations and leading brands in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
She began her career with Frankel, where she served as Executive Creative Director. She also ran a thriving business unit of over 150 people and simultaneously carried executive responsibility for Human Resources and Employee Development.
Post the sale to Publicis, Colleen moved onto a global Publicis Worldwide strategic team based in Paris, her role was to support the network of agencies with path-to-purchase, branding, activation and kids marketing initiatives with the goal of building the Nestlé’s business around the world.
Raised in Madrid, she speaks fluent Spanish as well as conversational French and Portuguese.
Clients past and present: Atlanta, McDonalds, Frito-Lay, Visa, Target Stores. Citibank, US Centers for Disease Control, Kellogg’s, and many brands in the Nestlé portfolio including Purina, Nesquik, Maggi, Nido, Pure Life Waters, Wonka, Nestlé Ice Creams.

Related Speeches and Workshops
Brand Strategy Innovation Summit, Sept 2013 Is Your Brand’s DNA Expressed Through Sound (with Andrew Wilson, GM of ACVB)
Internet Advertising Bureau, Digital Audio Conference Oct. 2012 Hear the Brand
The Retail Connection, Courtship Along the Path to Purchase 2006. Sidney, Mexico DF, Bangkok, Manila, São Paolo, Singapore, Bogotá

Hear the Brand: Sound Branding Gurus Sixième Son, to Speak at BrandSmart 2016

Globalization, audio-enabled devices, content marketing and «continuous partial attention» all contribute to the rise of audio branding. Sixième Son’s US Managing Director, Colleen Fahey and Michaël Boumendil President and Creative Director of Sixième Son, join forces to demonstrate the importance and power of audio branding at BrandSmart 2016. BrandSmart 2016: Creativity: Connecting Ideas to Drive Results, takes place Thursday, April 28, 2016.


Colleen Fahey, US Managing Director, Sixième Son

Michaël Boumendil, President and Creative Director, Sixième Son


Hear the Brand: The Rise of Audio Branding: How to Get the Most from Your Sound

sixieme_sonGlobalization, audio-enabled devices, content marketing and «continuous partial attention» all contribute to the rise of audio branding.Today a brand needs an audio identity as powerful as its logo, colors and packaging.

Taking a look at Peugoet and Atlanta’s global efforts, we’ll see how audio branding takes advantage of the fact that music is a language that’s universally understood.  We’ll share the process a global packaged goods brand used to create the distinct audio identity that expresses the brand’s values and personality with both structure and flexibility.

We’ll look at best practices in implementing an audio brand through multiple audience touch points. Our experience suggests that there are key times in a brand’s life when a brand must re-examine its audio landscape :  launches, re-positioning, new target audience, merger/acquisition, intensified competitive environment.

Key Take-Aways:

  1. How to powerfully emphasize your brand’s points of differentiation
  2. How to unify your brand and raise brand recognition
  3. How to turn every customer touch point into a relationship builder
  4. How music moves behavior and influences sales

CMO of Assurance, Steven Handmaker to Present at BrandSmart 2016

BrandSmart 2016: Creativity: Connecting Ideas to Drive Results, takes place Thursday, April 28, 2016.

Insurance Brokers Are Sexy Rock Stars

Speaker: Steven Handmaker, Assurance Agency


Assurance_logoAssurance is not your average insurance broker. In fact, Assurance is the Purple Cow of insurance brokers. Currently ranked #1 Best Place to Work by the Chicago Tribune and #4 best workplace in the United States by Fortune Magazine, Assurance has actually made insurance cool. Assurance created and marketed a corporate culture built on over-the-top employee engagement that has resulted in increased productivity, improved employee health and wellness and off the charts customer loyalty.
Assurance’s success story is one of creating and marketing a competitive differential. The company discovered being a great place to work was one of the few opportunities left to distinguish itself in a highly commoditized marketplace. Once it made its own already great workplace its primary brand message, a flood of new talent and new clients began pouring in. The media took notice as well and has showered Assurance with an endless number of local and national workplace awards.
Steven Handmaker is the Chief Marketing Officer of Assurance, one of
the largest, independent insurance brokerages in the U.S. He serves as a member of Assurance’s executive management team and is responsible for the company’s marketing, communications, branding and digital media efforts. With more than 20 years of successful marketing experience, including his current tenure with Assurance, Steven’s become a sought after public speaker on a variety of topics related to marketing corporate culture and building a “Best Place to Work.”