2015-06-08_09-04-26I’m a conference skeptic, but in the first 15 minutes of Summer Brand Camp, they had me convinced this was going to be different — and it definitely delivered.

The event is focused on the intersection of consumer and employer brands — which is already unique — but the main focus of the content is purpose.

Most people already know the days of the “company men” are over and that employee loyalty is hard to come by. Consumer loyalty is just as tricky to earn.

Identifying and bottling purpose is more important than ever for attracting and keeping both customers and talent.

Summer Brand Camp: Top 6 Takeaways.

With the majority attendees representing the hospitality and foodservice industries, the conference focused on providing rich experiences to what has historically been considered a transactional space for both hires and buyers.

The content of the conference was really different than any I have seen before, so if you weren’t able to attend, have no fear — we’ll share some highlights from sessions that stood out for you here. You can also check the hashtag #SBrandCamp on Twitter to take a peek at what other attendees found valuable.

1. Help Employees Discover Their Purpose.

chilisAt the very least, with 24/7 connection to technology, we can say that the lines between our work and personal lives have blurred.

Chili’s Grill & Bar ambassadors Chris Ebbeler and Dom Perry shared some of the ways they focus on helping employees discover their purpose with a focus on celebrating health and wellness, sharing “love notes” with employees, and offering them unforgettable experiences like driving racecars.

Takeaway #1:

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” — Simon Sinek

2. Moments Matter.

CGn5Q7PUkAAG0kFWhether you work on the customer or candidate experience (or both), you’re likely noticing some trends that are highlighting the importance of moments.

Kyle Lacy brought focus to mobility, the collaborative economy, data at scale (big data), cloud computing, machine learning, and humanizing automation and the impact they are having on the marketplace bringing the focus back to experience and memorability.

Lacy asked the audience to remember the focus of their work is not the minutia, but that if you work in employment branding, you are an experience maker and manager.

Takeaway #2:

Companies like Google, Uber, and AirBnB are disrupting the marketplace by owning audiences and delivering them experiences that change the game.

3. Substance Beats Style.

CGqpyYaUYAA4qE5How many times have you heard, “People do business with people they like?” But today, it’s not just about being likeable, it’s about being useful.

Content marketing author Jay Baer calls marketing so useful people will pay for it being a “Youtility.”

He reminded that “trust is the filter through which all business success must pass.”

And in an attempt to discover trustworthy recommendations online, customers have found that the guest experience and employee experience have converged with marketing — you can search reviews, social media updates, and ranty blog posts online.

And with 92% of Americans trusting recommendations from friends and family members (Nielsen), while only 47% trust companies, creating memorable experiences for customers and employees is the most effective way to build trust within their communities.

Takeaway #3:

Smart businesses create trust with help, not hype.

4. Dare to Serve.

cherylIn 2007, Cheryl Bachelder took over as CEO of Popeyes (Louisiana Kitchen). Visits, sales, and profit were down — and Bachelder and her team made what she called “a daring declaration” to turn things around and become one of the hottest concept quick service restaurants. Since then, they focused on creating a workplace where people are motivated with respect and dignity.

She talked about how in the “nice guys finish last” world, we may be glorifying the wrong type of leadership — what she calls “Leader First Leaders,” who use power to advance their own agenda.

Instead, she made a call for Serve First Leaders who use their power to lift up those they lead, but maintain a rigorous focus on results.

Takeaway #4:

There are no great leaders without great results.

5. Changing the Workplace, Marketplace, and the World.

unnamed (7)Amanda Hite is changing the world for the better with her social media agency BTC Revolutions. By understanding that people are the medium — be it community managers (or community igniters, as she calls them), advocates, influencers, Vine stars, YouTubers, and social media personalities — she works to bring people together over causes they can get behind.

If you’re already working with a community or in the process of building one — Hite reminds to “out-love everyone” and keep your community positive by letting them win together.

Takeaway #5:

Bond your community over wins they can share together.

6. Your Culture Is Your Brand.

unnamed (8)If you work in marketing or HR in any industry — chances are you’ve had a brand crush on Chipotle at some point. They’ve built a tribe of loyalists by being different and disrupting the quick service market.

Chipotle Recruitment Strategy Manager JD Cummings and Brand Voice Lead William Espey talked about how the Chipotle culture is the brand — and that the best recruiting tool they have is a culture that effectively engages employees.

In a market where every candidate is a customer, a positive candidate experience not only protects their employment brand, but also their customer experience.

They’re proud to give employees a total sense of ownership over the restaurant. Their focus on culture and the employee experience has inspired them to offer a wide variety of benefits including tuition reimbursement and, soon, paid vacation time and sick pay for all employees at all levels of the organization.

Takeaway #6:

When employees are engaged, the customer experience inspires loyalty that brings a measurable lift in return.

Bottom line: Wherever you touch the candidate or customer experience, the inspiration you’ll get from this event is well worth your time.

Put Summer Brand Camp on your list of events to attend next year — you won’t regret it.

lizzieLizzie Maldonado is a strategic social and content marketing professional with significant experience developing and leading B2B and social business functions, having served as Sr. Manager of Social Media for Radio Shack and the Starr Conspiracy, in addition to a long list of consulting clients.

Lizzie is a digital storyteller who uses social media and digital marketing to make B2B brands stand out with B2C panache. She writes about the truth in B2B social media at Resnarkable and is a contributor to Social Media Today and The Glass Heel. She was also suspended 32 times in high school. So she means business.

Follow Lizzie @Lizonomics or connect with her on LinkedIn.