Now in it’s 23rd year, Brandworks University is referred to as the TED of marketing conferences. Offering MBA-level learning each spring in Madison, Wisconsin, it has become a ‘must attend’ for anyone interested in what’s best and what’s next. About 400 executives attend, most returning year after year. Many bring teams of 5 or 10 and some as many as 20 to 30 people.
Interested in 2013 conference? (If you’ve not yet received an invitation but want to see if you qualify, write firstname.lastname@example.org)
In video testimonials, past attendees (like New York Times columnist David Brooks, Scott Cook the founder of Intuit, the CMO of Virgin and Charlene Li of Altimeter) confirm what makes the conference special. 92% of past attendees “highly recommend” Brandworks with comments like:
“An energizing curriculum; outstanding faculty.”
“There’s nothing else like this available; inspiring!”
“A blue chip roster of cutting edge speakers; an interactive/curated offering.”
“Fantastically well organized.”
“It is a conference not to be missed.”
Four things differentiate Brandworks University from other conferences:
- It’s not a string of speakers patched together, but a deeply researched and carefully curated learning experience. About 18 months before each conference, LSB identifies an emerging issue facing marketers then researches, develops and vets a solution framework, identifying speakers and cases that bring it to life. Each speaker is briefed and coached so that his or her content supports the solution framework and integrates with the other speakers. This guarantees that attendees come away with leading theory, next generation strategy and a practical “how to” that they can immediately apply.
- Even networking is curated at Brandworks. Two opportunites feature cocktails and live jazz on the convention center rooftop overlooking Madison’s Lake Monona and the State Capitol building. Another is a luncheon where attendees are custom mixed and matched based on analysis of who would benefit from meeting each other.
- Brandworks is held “in the round.” A center stage with a 4-sided screen above it allows the stage to be surrounded by the 400 attendees, the farthest of which is only eight rows from the speaker. This creates an intimacy that enhances learning, interaction and great banter.
- Despite the intense learning, a Brandworks experience is a lot of fun. An improv group helps host the event, concluding it with a roast of the speakers. There is always a contest involving a Latin translation. (The joke is that Brandworks is a “university” after all.) Prizes are given for the most hilarious submissions.