Editor’s note: Jonathan La Greca is VP strategic growth at market research firm Hotspex, Toronto. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared under the title, “Insights from top CMOs @ the 2019 Gathering Conference.” 

I have attended the Gathering, a marketing conference in Banff, for four years in a row because of the insights that top CMOs and marketing leaders share.

Here are 10 insights from the conference that resonated the most with me:

1. If you do nothing else, find a way to make your brand relevant. 

One of the recurring themes from this year’s conference was the importance of making your brand more relevant in a world where we are all more distracted than ever before.

Bill Neff from Yeti suggested that marketers might be overly obsessed with measuring awareness. He explained how “awareness is a derivative of relevance” and that if you focus on being relevant to your consumers, awareness will eventually follow.

Yeti runs an event once every five days, not with the goal of “building awareness” but instead to connect with consumers on a personal level to understand how to be more relevant to them.

2. Start with brand purpose and create ways to help people feel connected. 

Most of the brands celebrated at the conference have remained relevant by uncovering a powerful brand purpose.

People around the world are becoming more individualistic over time and by focusing on themselves rather than others, loneliness is pervasive. It is no surprise for a brand to have the purpose of helping people feel connected.  

Mindy Hamilton from Marvel Entertainment shared how her brand’s secret to success is “epic storytelling imbued with human spirit,” addressing the fact that we all want to be connected to something.

Doug Atkin, recently Airbnb’s head of community, explained the power of community and how people don’t join communities to create a...