Branding: Overhyped or Undervalued?

by Laura Bates and Jodi Eckes | at MinneBar 13 | 9:25 – 10:15 in Gandhi | View Schedule

You can’t go anywhere in the world today without being bombarded by marketing and the buzzword: “brand.” But truthfully, how often are you consciously thinking about your company’s brand and leveraging it to guide your business? Join us to bust some myths about brand and branding, review some case studies for inspiration, work on identifying your own brand purpose, and leave with a clearer sense of how you can leverage brand as a strategic asset for growing your business.

All levels

Laura Bates

Brand, Content & Marketing Strategist, Beacon Hill Branding, link

Collaborator, facilitator, maximizer, relationship-builder. Laura helps brands clarify their purpose and connect more powerfully with their target customers.

Sometimes called the "chief question-asker,” Laura loves working with clients to find nuggets of insight that lead to remarkable brand strategies. Not satisfied with a ho-hum or routine expression, she works hard to find what’s exceptional and most meaningful about a brand: exploring the “why” to stir ideas, aligning disparate voices, finding the moments that matter.

Key work consists of: • Client discovery and interviews • Brand insights and competitive research, • Brand positioning, promise and core values • Brand messaging frameworks • Brand launches • Content campaigns to drive engagement

Shaped by two decades of experience in leading brand agencies, Laura has worked with blue chip brands like Star Tribune, American Medical Association, Sony, Microsoft, Piper Jaffray, Nuveen Investments, Prime Therapeutics, Medtronic, Pillsbury and more Today, Laura unites emerging and mid-size clients and their teams around a unique and memorable brand strategy – providing them with a solid foundation and tools to move their business and marketing forward.

Jodi Eckes

Jodi is an interesting mix of a well-traveled Air Force kid with strong Midwestern roots. Having art in her genes, she won her first poster contest in third grade. Soon her love of art (and unknowingly design) was matched only by her growing awareness of — and loyalty to — certain brands (Barbie, Jif, Coke, GAP). She later realized those brands made home feel like "home" for her, whether she was in Choctaw, OK or Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Jodi has spent over twenty years working for notable design agencies and brands in various stages of their lifecycle: from development to evolutions to complete overhauls. She has designed and developed brand experiences for an amazing array of clients — from enterprising small businesses to some of the most recognized brands in the world, including Target, Best Buy, Mayo Clinic, 3M, COX, and ConAgra Foods. Today, she works as a brand design consultant, creating strategic makeovers and durable brands with clients who are equally passionate about bringing their brands to life from the inside out. See how at