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CONFERENCE: Brand Owners to Face Hard-Hitting Questions


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A Fulbright scholar from America’s acclaimed Yale University, Nicola Robins, is to ask some pertinent and hard-hitting questions of South Africa’s brand managers and owners when she addresses Brands and Branding for Good Conference 2010 in October.

A partner at sustainability think-tank and consultancy Incite, Robins has a BSc (Hons) from the University of Cape Town and an MSc in Industrial Environmental Management from Yale. She is also a Senior Associate of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership in South Africa, a visiting lecturer at the UCT Graduate School of Business and co-founder of the Raindance Network which applies traditional African knowledge to sustainability challenges.

Her topic should prompt brand managers and brand owners to sit up and take notice, and begin asking hard questions about the future of their brands.

Is good enough? will explore the branding and ethical issues that arise when brands and their advertising agencies start leveraging how ‘good’, ‘considerate’ and ‘authentic’ they are and asks how the pursuit of self-interest and profit-at-any-cost, today’s biggest concerns for most companies and their brands, can ever be aligned with ‘doing good’.

Said conference convenor, Ken Preston: “An avid strategist, coach and facilitator, Robin has over 20 years of experience helping to shift the way people see sustainability in South Africa, the United States, China and Australia.

“The questions she is going to be asking delegates at Brands and Branding for Good 2 are extremely valid. For example, what happens to the rampant pursuit of self-interest and profit-at-any-cost when our brands ‘get good’? Why is sustainability not philanthropy, and why should contributing one percent of post-tax profit to doing good be encouraged but not confused with building a sustainable society.

“The answers will shape the future of South Africa’s brands as they enter the new era of sustainability demanded by our consumers and our societies.”

Offering an unrivalled opportunity for local business to plug into a world of global insights, local case-studies, panel discussions and presentations over either one or two days, Brands and Branding for Good 2010 builds on the success of the inaugural conference held in 2009 to give brand owners and their agencies the opportunity to understand and appreciate the prevailing consumer shift, and align their brands with sustainable values.

Joining Robins on the podium will be:

• Leslie Pascaud - Director Responsible Marketing Practice, Added Value Group, Paris
• Mindy Goldstein - Partner and Programme Director Ogilvy and Mather, and member of the founding team of OgilvyEarth, New York
• Seth Farbman - Senior Partner and President, OgilvyEarth, New York
• Jean Cox-Kearns – Head of the Dell Take Back organisation for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region
• Melissa Attree - Social Media Marketing and Communications Professional and Founder, GetOn eMarketing
• Jo-Ann de Wet - Operations Director, McDonald’s, South Africa
• Mzamo Masito - Marketing Director, Nike, South Africa
• Paul Bannister - Managing Director, Ignite. Served as the acting CEO of the International Marketing Council of SA during the crucial build-up to the hosting of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup.
• Mike Schalit - Chief Creative Director, Net#work BBDO South Africa, and Co-founder of the MAL Foundation
• Deon Robbertze - Executive Creative Director of Zoom and Creative Director Ogilvy Earth at Zoom Advertising, South Africa
• Mike Freedman - Founder, Freedthinkers
• Nicholas Maweni - Marketing and Communications Executive Sub-Sahara Africa, IBM
• Mitchell Faigan - President Citizen Brand, Kimberly-Clark, USA
• Terry Volkwyn - CEO, Primedia Broadcasting

• Andrew Human - CEO, The Loerie Awards

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