TMMPDX Interviews: Internet Marketing Conference Preview With Dennis Hahn

| December 3, 2009 | 2 Comments

Internet Marketing Conference at Portland State University December 2009Dennis Hahn is the President and CEO of ID Branding, one of the few agencies focused on helping organizations build enduring brand cultures. Dennis has nearly 20 years of experience in the disciplines of branding, design, and digital technology. He will be sharing his knowledge with attendees of the Internet Marketing Conference on December 7th. TMMPDX caught up with the IMC co-founder for a Q&A about the upcoming conference and the concept of brand cultures.

TMMPDX: How has the Internet Marketing Conference evolved in its second year? What are your expectations for this year’s event?

DH: This year’s conference is much broader in its scope. We are covering all of the fundamental elements of the digital ecosystem and are featuring more diverse speakers that are not typically affiliated with PSU. I expect that this year’s attendees will get a conference experience that rivals those in major markets such as San Francisco or New York.

TMMPDX: At the Internet Marketing Conference, you will be speaking about ‘Digital Marketing Strategy Fundamentals’. Can you give us a preview of some of the key points you will cover?

DH: In my session, I will be providing an up-to-date overview of the digital landscape, and will be covering the foundational elements that comprise a digital strategy.

TMMPDX: Years ago your agency, ID Branding, developed a new model of branding based on a concept you call Brand Culture. What is the idea behind Brand Culture?

DH: In a nutshell, the theory of Brand Culture proposes that the old model of branding, based on creating an external, sometimes fictional, brand image, is dead—killed by the fact that people just don’t buy a manufactured brand image anymore. People today want the truth. Brand Culture offers a new model of branding. It suggests that a brand can operate much like a culture, in the anthropological sense of the word. Our white paper at www.idbranding.com tells the whole story.

TMMPDX: What role does social media marketing play in creating a Brand Culture?

DH: Social Media has empowered consumers to influence a brand—either positively or negatively. If consumers connect with a brand’s values in a meaningful way, then they will want to speak passionately on behalf of the brand. If consumers feel wronged by a brand, then they will do everything in their power to take it down. Just look at the impact that Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars” video has had on United Airlines.

TMMPDX: Now that the majority of brand marketing is done online rather than offline, how has this shift influenced brand strategy?

DH: Actually, I don’t think it has impacted brand strategy per se. What it HAS impacted is how brands need to engage with consumers. Marketers can no longer rely on the 60-second TV spot to build the brand. The Internet has forever shifted the paradigm from passive to active consumption.  Consumers want to be involved with the brand—to make it their own. This freaks out brand managers that have for decades managed their brand through a “command and control” approach. The Internet circumvents their control, so marketers have to recalibrate around this co-ownership of their brand with their consumer.

TMMPDX: You stated that “PSU’s Internet Marketing Conference is the single best opportunity for Portland-area digital marketing professionals”. Although this is a pretty convincing statement, is there anything else you want to say to encourage people to attend the conference?

DH: I believe that Portland has a large pool of talent in digital media. Unfortunately, the digital community in Portland has become highly fragmented over the past 8 years. This is an opportunity to bring the broader digital marketing community together by providing great programming in a single venue without having to travel to a major market.

TMMPDX: After attending the conference, what can students, marketing professionals, and business owners do to get started in the digital marketing world?

DH: If you’re just getting started in Digital Marketing, then this conference will expose you to the breadth of what digital marketing is all about and where to go to develop skills. If you’re already in Digital Marketing, then this conference will bring you up to speed on the current state of what’s going on. Either way, you will leave inspired and full of ideas that you can start building on the next day.

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Internet Marketing Conference at Portland State University December 2009Dennis Hahn is the President and CEO of ID Branding, one of the few agencies focused on helping organizations build enduring brand cultures. Dennis has nearly 20 years of experience in the disciplines of branding, design, and digital technology. He will be sharing his knowledge with attendees of the Internet Marketing Conference on December 7th. TMMPDX caught up with the IMC co-founder for a Q&A about the upcoming conference and the concept of brand cultures.

TMMPDX: How has the Internet Marketing Conference evolved in its second year? What are your expectations for this year’s event?

DH: This year’s conference is much broader in its scope. We are covering all of the fundamental elements of the digital ecosystem and are featuring more diverse speakers that are not typically affiliated with PSU. I expect that this year’s attendees will get a conference experience that rivals those in major markets such as San Francisco or New York.

TMMPDX: At the Internet Marketing Conference, you will be speaking about ‘Digital Marketing Strategy Fundamentals’. Can you give us a preview of some of the key points you will cover?

DH: In my session, I will be providing an up-to-date overview of the digital landscape, and will be covering the foundational elements that comprise a digital strategy.

TMMPDX: Years ago your agency, ID Branding, developed a new model of branding based on a concept you call Brand Culture. What is the idea behind Brand Culture?

DH: In a nutshell, the theory of Brand Culture proposes that the old model of branding, based on creating an external, sometimes fictional, brand image, is dead—killed by the fact that people just don’t buy a manufactured brand image anymore. People today want the truth. Brand Culture offers a new model of branding. It suggests that a brand can operate much like a culture, in the anthropological sense of the word. Our white paper at www.idbranding.com tells the whole story.

TMMPDX: What role does social media marketing play in creating a Brand Culture?

DH: Social Media has empowered consumers to influence a brand—either positively or negatively. If consumers connect with a brand’s values in a meaningful way, then they will want to speak passionately on behalf of the brand. If consumers feel wronged by a brand, then they will do everything in their power to take it down. Just look at the impact that Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars” video has had on United Airlines.

TMMPDX: Now that the majority of brand marketing is done online rather than offline, how has this shift influenced brand strategy?

DH: Actually, I don’t think it has impacted brand strategy per se. What it HAS impacted is how brands need to engage with consumers. Marketers can no longer rely on the 60-second TV spot to build the brand. The Internet has forever shifted the paradigm from passive to active consumption.  Consumers want to be involved with the brand—to make it their own. This freaks out brand managers that have for decades managed their brand through a “command and control” approach. The Internet circumvents their control, so marketers have to recalibrate around this co-ownership of their brand with their consumer.

TMMPDX: You stated that “PSU’s Internet Marketing Conference is the single best opportunity for Portland-area digital marketing professionals”. Although this is a pretty convincing statement, is there anything else you want to say to encourage people to attend the conference?

DH: I believe that Portland has a large pool of talent in digital media. Unfortunately, the digital community in Portland has become highly fragmented over the past 8 years. This is an opportunity to bring the broader digital marketing community together by providing great programming in a single venue without having to travel to a major market.

TMMPDX: After attending the conference, what can students, marketing professionals, and business owners do to get started in the digital marketing world?

DH: If you’re just getting started in Digital Marketing, then this conference will expose you to the breadth of what digital marketing is all about and where to go to develop skills. If you’re already in Digital Marketing, then this conference will bring you up to speed on the current state of what’s going on. Either way, you will leave inspired and full of ideas that you can start building on the next day.