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Marketing guru introduces ‘new brand world'

Dave Roberts, left, Comfort Solutions, and keynote speaker Scott Bedbury.Dave Roberts, left, Comfort Solutions, and keynote speaker Scott Bedbury.

CHANDLER, Ariz. - Scott Bedbury, the marketing guru who helped build Nike and Starbucks into household brands, brought his playbook to Furniture/Today's Bedding Conference here and introduced "a new brand world."
In a well-received keynote address before a record crowd of 350, Bedbury said the key to creating more meaningful brand experiences in the digital age is to connect with timeless human needs. Everyone needs to feel safe, welcomed, recognized, valued, loved and empowered, he said.
Many brands have been built around those needs, he said, citing Volvo (the need to feel safe) and Nike (the need to feel empowered) as two examples.
Coffee is a commodity, Bedbury said, but Starbucks has elevated the coffee drinking experience by creating "the Third Place," a place between the opposing poles of work and home. That special place has existed since the time a caveman took the long way home and stopped to watch a special sunset, said Bedbury, whose address was sponsored by Comfort Solutions.
Starbucks has succeeded by turning the coffee house into a hip, cool, safe place, an oasis in a frantic world, a welcoming and stimulating place, he said, and one full of emotional connections. And the company has shared that vision with its employees, a critical step in the brand-building arsenal.
"Internal communication in most companies is woefully underdeveloped and may be the most critical brand-building tool you have," Bedbury said.
At the core of every brand, he continued, are its people.
"Anyone and anything that touches your brand is either an asset or a liability," he said. And every "touch point" around the brand - every message, customer and employee - has more influence than ever in the digital media age. He noted how one employee at a New York-based Papa John's restaurant created a media firestorm by referring to a customer as "lady chinky eyes" on the printed order form.

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