Small business, big marketing

Thanks to Flying Solo, I scored free registration to the Small Business Big Marketing session at Victoria’s Small Business Festival this morning.

Victoria's Small Business Festival

Victoria’s Small Business Festival

The headline act was THE brand-man Russell Howcroft. I saw him give a longer presentation at a CSIRO Communicators conference late last year and the material today was much the same.  I enjoyed the refresher and the examples he showed – remember the Carton Draft big beer ad?

Brand is an overused word, was his message, and he called for truth and creativity in advertising. The health of your brand rests on four pillars: differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge.

He finished with THE WICKED SICK PROJECT – BMX, made by a couple of his colleagues. Have you seen it? Two young ad guys take a cruddy old BMX, add some hilarious advertising flair and sell it for an impressively inflated price on eBay. Worth watching whatever your business!

I had fun tweeting during the session too.  There were a handful of people tweeting using the #vicbizfest hashtag that created a buzz and even trended for a while, in Melbourne anyway!

Next up was the curiously-named but inspiring m.a.d. woman. Melina Schamroth is the entrepreneur behind a slew of socially responsible projects with some great advice for small businesses just starting out, including my favourite ‘work backwards from where you want to be’. And be strategic about who you have coffee with!

Then start-up guru Steve Sammartino hit the stage. He was a phenomenal speaker and kept the crowd entertained for his allotted 50 minutes, including running a lap around the room, speaking the whole time!

During the break/networking session I cruised the exhibition hall, met the Flying Solo guys and collecting my stamps to enter to win an iPod (I didn’t!).

The session wrapped up with a panel discussion hosted by the excellent MC, Toby Travanner, Steve and the KeepCup founder Abigail Forsyth.

It was an excellent way to spend the morning and I came out inspired and armed with some great ideas I keen to employ.