The Scent of a Brand
By David Charron, Chief Strategy Officer
The views expressed here are mine and do not necessarily represent those of the MLS RoundTable.
I had the opportunity to attend a most unusual conference recently. 1000 Watt enticed several hundred people to come to Portland with teasers that essentially said “prepare to be amazed” and “get ready to turn on.” Very few could get me to travel across town let alone across the country on such a vague promise. 1000Watt however is one.
I have been a fan of these guys for some time. In the past I have retained them to facilitate meetings, create branding and messaging strategies, assess certain of our products and generally help me cut through the noise that permeates our industry. I have never been disappointed.
Upon arrival I was greeted with tchotchkes including a private label scent they called Inspire. It was specifically created for the conference. Lemon with shades of vetiver (tropical grass-look it up) and coconut. Really? Plus, what is a conference without custom rolling papers? Clearly I must get ready to “turn on.” Skepticism and curiosity carried me forward.
The venue was cozy and comfortable. Seats and sight lines were perfect. The audience was comprised primarily of real estate people but the stage was a far more eclectic group. And the topics each presenter shared turned out to be life lessons for all of us. Amazing.
- A woman who taught us how to envision and design a brand through the lens of David Bowie.
- Another remarkable woman whose heart and passion went far deeper than the tats that covered her body.
- A champion poker player that taught us how to play a winning hand regardless of the cards we are dealt.
- A young man who has built over 2000 (yes 2000) printed homes in El Salvador.
- A technology leader who shared his “long walk to water”.
- A respected national broker who shared his view of where our industry and importantly our society are headed.
- A young peer of mine who shared what leadership means to him.
- A noted film director that showed us how he looks at life from different angles through his camera.
- A well-known industry player accompanied by a Grammy award-winning fiddler and vocalist that helped us understand how large egos can drive, infuriate and reward us.
- A technology player who shared a compelling story of how his sister, restrained by Down Syndrome inspires him (and now me) every day.
- A thought- leader in our industry who shared how he connected with his father, a WW2 vet, after his return from Vietnam.
- A noted author and creative who successfully distilled 3000 year old knowledge and made it contemporary.
Where did they find these people? How did they assemble it? And this is just a partial list!
All had interludes of music from the Urban Shaman and his didgeridoo. I had no idea you could knock out such a beat with an 8 ft. horn.
It’s hard to pick any losers from this 1 1/2 day dance card. Maybe the people that couldn’t/didn’t attend?
How often do we walk away from a conference where it’s a pleasant mix of inspiration, empathy, energy, knowledge and appreciation all mixed in with a bias for action? Not very often! They may well have gotten “the scent” just right after all!
Congrats to Brian, Marc, Joel, Jessica and their team for an amazing few days. Their air time was minimal yet everything accrued to them.
I brought the rolling papers home. I look at them while eating my gummy bears.
They wouldn’t commit to doing this again. As Marc said “capturing lightning in a bottle is very hard to do.” My hope is they go for it. After all, in 2 years it will be 2020. Maybe the theme will be “I Can See Clearly Now”. Wonder how that will sound on a didgeridoo?