Shoot for the Summit: Annual Spring Conference



The National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group (MEG), one of 10 independent study groups, will host its annual spring conference, May 14-16, at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago just prior to the start of the annual Restaurant Show. The cost to attend MEG, which includes all meeting materials, meals and breaks, is $495 per person for National Restaurant Association members and $995 for non-members.

This year’s theme, Shoot for the Summit: Take Your Brand to the Top in 2014, will include two full days of workshops, symposiums, and networking opportunities with industry influencers and tastemakers, proven leaders and consumer behavioral experts. Branding and social media trailblazers will also be on hand to share their knowledge and expertise with attendees.

The gathering kicks-off on Wednesday, May 14 with an opening reception from 6-8pm. The conference shifts into high gear Thursday morning when Jonah Berger, a James G. Campbell Associate Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania, gives the opening keynote address on Crafting Contagious Ideas. Berger is also the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Matt Brown, chief gaming officer for Conteneo, will give the closing keynote address that afternoon with Playing Serious Games…Amplify Strategic Creativity.

Additional speakers during the two-day conference include:

• Jenifer Anhorn, vice president/brand director for Periscope, who will discuss Social Strategy: Putting Content First.

Building a Brand With a Hammer and a Nail is what Laura Ries, president of Ries & Ries and author Visual Hammer. The father-daughter Atlanta-based company are focus consultants and have helped major corporations strategically build their brands.

• Denny’s CEO John Miller will discuss Share Our Strength: Leaving a Mark on the Restaurant Industry. As Chairperson of Share Our Strength, Miller is charged with putting an end to childhood hunger in America.

• Chris Sullivan, the founder and former CEO of Outback Steakhouses, Inc., and current director of Bloomin’ Brands, shares with the audience A New Reality: Integrate Technology and Make More Money.

• Have Fear No More as Robbie Blinkoff-principal anthropologist and managing partner of Context-Based Research Group, gets to the core of consumer behavior providing answers for “why” people/consumers behave the way they do.

Who’s Afraid of Big Data? Attendees will find out when Mike Lukianoff, CEO and founder of Czar Metrics, takes to the podium.

The multicultural market is a fast growing consumer segment. Gerry Fernandez, founder and president of Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance, along with Shawne M. Howell, owner of Marketing Strategies, will share how to Grow Your Business and Brand with the Multicultural Market.

• BJ Emerson, CEO and head story hunter with Buzzadelic, which helps businesses drive awareness and reach new customers online, will let usin on What Does the Future Look Like for Social Marketers.

Closing out MEG’s 2014 Spring Conference will be a discussion on Buzzed About Brands.

The conference will conclude with a farewell Happy Hour on Friday, May 16.

Posted by Erica Schmucker

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