–Mike McClure, Yaffe Group Executive Creative Director & Social Media guy
You don’t have to be a solopreneur or trying to sell yourself to get a lot out of Brand Camp University. It may be about personal branding and attract a large following of people who are trying to get their own businesses started. And for good reason. But, I can tell you from personal experience that Brand Camp is worthwhile, even if you’re in a well-established larger firm and do branding for a living. Because I am one such individual and I’ve gotten a whole lot out of my previous Brand Camp experiences.
At my first Brand Camp, Mitch Joel was one of the speakers. I had never heard of him before. Now thanks to Brand Camp, he’s one of my favorite sources of constant inspiration. I won his book “Six Pixels of Separation” at the event and found it fascinating and helpful. I started following his blog and I never miss one of his podcasts. This is just one way Brand Camp has affected my life on a weekly basis since I first went.
Another way Brand Camp changed how I saw myself was Scott Monty’s talk about “The Rise of the Brandividual.” These are people like Richard Branson and Steve Jobs, who’s personal brands were a part of the larger brands they represented. Scott talked about how his personal brand was deeply intertwined with the Ford brand. At the time, I was doing all the outfacing social media for The Yaffe Group, for which I’m a partner and part owner. Scott’s talk made sense to me, to start thinking of myself as Yaffe’s brandividual in the social space. It’s the reason, to this day, if you go to my twitter page you’ll see Yaffe information as my background.
One of the most moving presentations I’ve ever seen took place at Brand Camp. Paraplegic Olympic gold medalist, April Holmes, told her story and the room feel silent in rapt attention. It was so moving, more than a few sniffles could be heard throughout the crowd. She even passed her gold medal around so each of us could take a picture with it and know our dreams were achievable if we kept at it.
Brand Camp is also a chance to meet and talk to some of the top people in their fields. Last year, I got back early from lunch to find Peter Shankman sitting in the lobby having a conversation with perhaps a dozen people. I joined the conversation and found him to be very personable and approachable. It’s only at events like this that you have a chance to get into a small group discussion with someone of Peter’s caliber. I also saw Ungeeked’s Cd Lang speak and have since connected with her in numerous conversations via twitter.
So, sometimes it’s about what you learn and how you use it going forward. Sometimes you find someone who’s content will provide great value in the long haul. Sometimes it’s about the connections you make. In any case, I’ve found Brand Camp University to be incredibly valueable in both my professional and personal life. And I look forward to seeing what this year’s event will bring!
Yaffe Group Executive Creative Director & Social Media guy