Thursday, April 26, 2018, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower, 300 E. Randolph St., Chicago

American Marketing Association Chicago Announces Brand Smart 2018
Leading Innovators to Discuss Brand Reinvention in the Age of Disruption

CHICAGO, March 26, 2018— American Marketing Association Chicago (AMA Chicago) has lined up leading futurists, researchers, and branding experts to discuss Brand Reinvention in the Age of Disruption at the annual Brand Smart conference, April 26, 2018 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower, 300 E. Randolph Street, Chicago.

“Chicago is a technology and marketing epicenter, and Brand Smart 2018 panelists include CEOs, CMOs and marketing experts who are the driving forces behind brands shaping digital era marketing,” said Sherry Duda, AMA Chicago Board Director and Brand Smart event designer.

At the one-day conference, AMA Chicago will announce the first Brand Visionary Award recipient and a series of eight facilitated panel discussions will engage participants in a dialogue about emerging technologies, innovation and brand transformation in the digital era.

“Disruptions are not only coming from your traditional competitors, increasingly it is coming from entrepreneurs and various digital leaders, including the digital giants,” added Jens Ulrik Hansen, Founder of Future Associates. “Brand Smart 2018 is a great forum for participants to become inspired and curious, to challenge conventional thinking, unleash new ideas and share new approaches to win in the marketplace.”

Brand Smart 2018 Highlights

Leading experts will discuss the dynamics and opportunities presented by the digital shift and sharing economy:

  • Switzerland-based Jens Ulrik Hansen of Future Associates will open the conference and discuss “The Impact of the Digital Shift on Brands”
  • Dr. Erich Joachimsthaler of Vivaldi will close the conference discussing “A New Era for Brand Building”

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and block chain technology are transforming the marketing industry, and panelists include:

  • Susan Etlinger of Altimeter Group, an internationally recognized researcher and analyst whose TED Talk “What to do with all this Big Data” has received 1.2 million views and has been featured globally in newspapers, NPR radio and the BBC, will discuss how AI is transforming brands
  • Carolyn Heller Baird of the IBM Institute for Business Value will present research defining the dynamics and opportunities of existing and emerging technologies, and David Haucke will present a live IBM Watson demonstration
  • Melvin Petties of and Sherry Duda of Alex Reidy & Company will discuss strategies to leverage blockchain to build brand trust

Innovative brands are shaping the future of digital age marketing with strategies like seg-ME-tation and design thinking, and panelists are:

  • AMA Chicago President Bonnie Massa will join Elizabeth Ehrhardt of IRI and Michon Ellis of LimeGreen Moroch to discuss Seg-ME-tation and brand personalization with Carrie Bienkowski of Peapod and Sanjiv Gajiwala of Mike’s Hard Lemonade
  • AMA Chicaog Board Director Pamela Wedgeworth will join Erin Huizenga of Borough & Block to explain the design thinking process, and Margo Kahnrose of SpotHero will share real-world applications and outcomes

Industry disruptors are integrating emerging technologies and innovation to transform brands and panelists are:

  • Jeffrey Moss of Parker Dewey and visionaries Chris Ruder and Nicholas Gonzalez of Spikeball, and Kurt Seidensticker and Caryn Johnson of Vital Proteins will share the inspiring stories behind their innovative craft brands
  • Dan Fietsam of Laughlin Constable, Dean Petrulakis of Fuse Print Chicago and Bob Armour of Jellyvision will discuss “What do Chickens Have to do with Branding?” and share unexpected outcomes from their unconventional strategies to ‘humanize’ online benefit systems and automated call centers, and humor consumers during wait times

About Brand Smart & AMA Chicago

Brand Smart is among the largest branding conferences in the Midwest, providing a forum for business leaders and marketing executives to showcase innovative brands, share insights and discuss proven strategies. To register, see speakers’ biographies and the Brand Smart 2018 agenda, visit

AMA Chicago is a professional chapter of the American Marketing Association. Now in its 75th year, AMA Chicago provides over 1,000 Chicago area marketers cutting edge experiences, professional connections and career advancement opportunities.

Whether you’re a CMO or Marketing Director, at Brand Smart you’ll learn valuable insights about what is shaping the future of branding and how to keep driving brand loyalty and growth.