Birthday parties are typically an opportunity to reflect, to bathe in past glory, and, of course, to party!
At MORE’s 20th Birthday, on January 12, we indeed partied with a breakfast celebration at the UMass Club in Boston. But instead of reviewing our first two decades, we used the occasion to look to the future. And we had some similar-minded, forward thinking friends to help us.
For example, Keynote speaker, Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Officer at General Electric, provided an inside look at recent moves GE to position itself for the future. GE founder Thomas Alva Edison, whom in younger days was known as ‘Tom,” may not recognize the company he started. The GE brand today is far more focused, progressive, and Internet centric – proudly calling itself the first Digital Industrial firm.
“The fact is we aren’t the same company we were 10 or even five years ago,” Linda said. “We’re constantly reinventing ourselves.” For example, in marketing and advertising, Linda said, “There isn’t a platform out there now that we won’t use. There aren’t influencers out there that we won’t consider.”
The latest GE TV spots are clearly targeted at new generations of innovators, scientists, and customers. “We don’t mind poking fun at ourselves,” Linda said – a stance that might have been inconceivable just a few years ago. She emphasized the importance of the human side of the GE story. “People don’t fall in love with companies,” Boff said. (Wouldn’t it be great if they did?) Instead, people connect through emotions and authentic stories. A good story can bring immeasurable value to a brand.
To close out the morning, Sam Kennedy, President of the Boston Red Sox, made a touching shout-out to agency CEO and Founder Donna Latson Gittens as one of the first people he reached out to when first joining the Red Sox. He then surprised everyone in the house by handing out two free tickets to each guest for the May 1 Red Sox game – which he announced, to everyone’s surprise, would be designated “MORE Advertising Night” at Fenway Park. But he wasn’t done! Sam added the proverbial icing to the cake by inviting Donna to throw out the first pitch of the game! (She’s still in shock, and hopes to get some tips from her Sox fave, Mookie Betts.)
So what lies ahead? It’s the question we’ve never stopped asking for 20 years, and will continue for many MORE.