New-Economy Marketing: Brandmakers Exchange Ideas

I relish conversations with new-economy brandmakers who are working on the cutting edge.

Last week, I hosted a jam session with some of Chicago’s most innovative brandmakers. The guest of honor was new-economy marketing maven Kathryn Kercher, in from New York.

Photo taken by superstar brandmaker Brandy Agerbeck

We exchanged ideas about what’s next for marketers, under a sprawling umbrella that held back the rain. Kathryn shared insights based on the game-changing brands she’s advising in New York’s Silicon Alley: Trulia (reinvention of real estate search); SquareTrade (reinvention of warranty business); MeetMe (new kind of social network); Bonobos (custom men’s retail) and Spotify (digital music service).

As expected, it was both inspiring and electric.


1. Buying paid media marks a threshold for digital brands. It’s a rite of passage to create and air a spot. Goal: big audience numbers. True audience: VCs who like big numbers.
2. The winning trifecta is paid, owned and earned engagement with consumers.
3. Talent need in marketing: hybrid marketers with classic training, brand-building experience, and digital savvy.

I got positive feedback from the jam session and I’m thinking I’ll do it again. Why not? After all, the cutting edge works best when is the blade is sharp.