Highlights from the Minnesota Marketing Summit

This year’s Minnesota Marketing Summit, hosted by IC Summits, was held in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday, September 24. The turnout of high-level marketing professionals at the event was phenomenal, giving people the perfect opportunity to connect with area marketers and learn from someone they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk to.

Although we were in a room full of professionals from the same industry, there was representation from many different sized companies, making this event interesting and diverse. There were perspectives shared from many angles, from boutique agencies to large Fortune 500 companies, sharing insights and trends and tactics that work for them. Sponsors, including Brandpoint, had booths set up around the room. This opened an opportunity for attendees to strike a conversation with a brand they were interested in or to pick up some free swag.

The theme of this year’s conference was “The Minnesota Brand.” While much of the attention was given to the attributes that make a great Minnesota brand, the companies that showcased how they exude these qualities all had one thing in common: that focusing on the customer experience was the most critical component to their success.



The Opening Keynote – “Taking a Brand to the National Stage”

Beth McDonnell opened the summit with an engaging and information-rich morning keynote speech, describing how her team helped bring the U.S. Bank brand to a national audience.

Beth and her team wanted to rethink the customer interaction model that was in place at U.S. Bank and focus on connecting all the touch points into a cohesive experience. Her team needed to enhance the customers’ digital experience while keeping meaningful relationships at the heart of the brand.

The surprising element shared in her presentation was that employees were the key to the driving the success that helped them to deliver meaningful results. Employees were active on social media, attending events and just getting involved with the brand that they worked for. Having U.S. Bank employees as company advocates was an extremely helpful way to communicate the value of the brand to the public.


Hearing Minnesotans Talk about the Minnesota Brand

 It was cool to hear from large, well-known brands about what it means to embody the Minnesota brand. Megan Gunderson, Vice President of Marketing for Minnesota United FC, shared the meaning behind the logo of the state’s soccer team. The logo is a loon, which is the state bird of Minnesota, and each of the 11 feathers on the bird stands for each player on the pitch. Everything included in the logo’s design reflects part of the Minnesota brand, even the stripes on the background of the logo.


A Powerful Discussion about Women and Leadership in Marketing

Midday was punctuated by a great conversation on the topic of gendered leadership in marketing and navigating what that means in today’s business culture.

Julia Haldorson, Michelle Benson, Catherine Higgins Whiteside, Jill Renslow and Megan Hanson gave outstanding tips and thought-provoking perspectives on what female leadership means to them individually and the things they are seeing change as they grow in their careers.

The importance of being your true, authentic self, as well as making sure that your voice is heard and your expertise is understood was a key theme coming from the panel, with the value add of representation and how that matters.

Michelle summed it up perfectly, “Let’s get to a day where a leader isn’t defined by them being a man or a woman, but purely as a leader!” 


Building a Successful Brand/Agency Collaboration

As the last panel of the day, our president Scott Severson participated in a conversation on what it takes to build successful brand/agency collaboration. Joining him was Lana Slygh from TCF Bank, Brandon Broxey from Best Buy and Lynn Farmer from Hamline University, acting as the moderator.

The best part about this panel was that there were voices from both sides: Brandpoint representing the agency viewpoint and Best Buy and TCF Bank having a brand’s perspective.

The panelists offered up their point of view on what it takes to have successful collaboration and a sustainable partnership. Common themes from both sides included making sure the partnership is a good fit, setting expectations early and having consistent communication and alignment on what the outcomes need to be.


Cocktails and Kudos

The jam-packed day ended with rounds of applause, a cocktail hour and one last opportunity for attendees to network before everyone parted ways.

I would highly recommend this event for anyone in marketing who is looking to connect with other professionals, learn about upcoming trends in marketing and hear from successful brands about their stories.

Interested in attending an upcoming IC Summits event? See what other cities are on the schedule this year! Or are you looking to add events to your budget for 2020? Check out this list of the top marketing conferences around the country to see what would be best for you!

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