brandjunkie Jim Thompson on BRITE

27Feb08

This month at BRITE I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Jim Thompson, editor of BRITE media sponsor, brandchannel. brandchannel was launched in 2001 by Interbrand in an effort to create “the world’s only online exchange about branding.” I was interested to hear why brandchannel chose to sponsor BRITE and Jim’s takeaways from attending the conference.

Amanda: What innovation in business and technology is brandchannel leading?

Brandjunkie_9 Jim: We are huge fans of innovation and are using our online presence to accomplish something that we believe is unquestionably unique: the brandchannel 2008 brandjunkie awards. We’ve spent the past seven months designing insightful questions that will allow branding professionals across the globe to participate in our survey, which captures what people really think about brands—sentiments that can’t necessarily be demonstrated in a simple chart or index. Voting began on February 25! Visit http://www.brandchannel.com for more details. (I apologize for the shameless plug!)

Amanda: What encouraged you and your brandchannel colleagues to sign up for BRITE and serve as a sponsor?

Jim: We’re always looking for new ideas and talented writers with a distinctive understanding of the branding industry. The BRITE conference provided us with that environment, and we weren’t disappointed. Becoming a sponsor was an easy decision. We know that success in life often depends on surrounding yourself with good people. And the BRITE conference naturally attracts intelligent, motivated, and inspiring people. We appreciate being associated with that group on any level.

Amanda: What were your favorite sessions and why?

Jim: My favorite session was listening to Marty Homlish speak at the BRITE Jury Award for Big Thinker on Friday morning. As an editor, I love compelling stories that teach us about ourselves, both as regular human beings and professionals. The story he told regarding how the Sony Walkman came into existence—so it would be possible to listen to music while playing tennis—is an excellent example of human ingenuity and creativity.

Amanda: What were your big takeaways from the conference?

Jim: Enthusiasm. Creativity is such an important component to any endeavor, and if creativity needs anything it is enthusiasm. brandchannel came out of the conference inspired by all of the talented professionals we encountered; listening to their ideas and accomplishments made us want to work harder and seek creative ways to expand brandchannel’s potential.

Amanda: A few weeks after the conference, what idea(s) presented at BRITE are you and your colleagues still thinking about?

Jim: Telling the truth. One theme that arose repeatedly was that, in all situations, effective branding is about conveying the truth. The reason I still think about this is because it’s such simple advice, and yet is apparently difficult to practice. I understand most corporations don’t want to be misleading; it’s that they have trouble conveying the truth because they don’t really know who they are as a brand. That opens up a whole new level of intriguing discourse.

Amanda: After the conference, have you and your colleagues discussed implementing anything you learned or heard at BRITE?

Jim: Because we are an online publication, our ears always perk up when we hear the word “technology.” One of my favorite moments from the conference was listening to Craig Newmark. After receiving effusive praise from fellow panel members about how he single-handedly revolutionized the way entire cultures shop, date, congregate, and socialize, he slowly leaned toward the microphone and explained that he really didn’t do anything other than provide people with a platform. That’s what we’d like to accomplish at brandchannel. We’d like it to be a living, breathing online entity where branding professional come not just to read articles, but to interact with the content and each other via our comment sections and brandjunkie awards.

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