Rebel Europe - Day Two // On the Run

At the invitation of my friend Dr. Carl Rohde, head of Science of the Times trend-filter network, your humble servant was co-keynote speaker at the Dutch marketing conference Consumentrends 2008. The two-day conference, held at a very cool beachfront resort about a half hour north of Amsterdam, is a gathering of Holland’s leading marketers who come to receive insight and inspiration by functional experts and the like. The audience included representation from Phillips, fashion trade Textilia, ABN-AMRO and Pfizer, among others. Dr. Rohde — trend expert par excellence — and I both spoke about trends, although his presentation was slightly more macro, covering such topics as Web 2.0, environment, and consumers over 50. I found it very interesting, although it was in Dutch so I didn’t understand most of what he said. Great pictures, though.

My talk focused on what American brands are doing right, and what some of them are doing wrong, particularly in engaging audiences in meaningful, authentic ways. Send me an email if you want a copy of the presentation and we’ll work something out.

Couple things I noticed...

Pepsi is killing it over there. Saw it served in several places that would likely have been Coke venues in the States, including the Beachclub Republiek, where the convention was held. A bit like a Dutch version of Nikki Beach.

People asked really thoughtful questions. One guy wanted to know how companies decide – or perhaps how they should decide – what brand extensions are appropriate. For example, I mentioned what Scion and P&G have done with branded record labels, so they wanted to know how a brand might decide whether that’s appropriate. Unfortunately, it seems most brands don’t give nearly enough thought to what is, and what’s not appropriate. For example: Cartier’s recent MySpace profile launch. Are you kidding me?