Announcing: Ottawa Brand Strategy Boot Camp – August 27

Registration has just opened for the August edition of our successful Beg to DIFFER Brand Strategy Boot Camp – brought to you by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) and Brandvelope Consulting.

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Dennis fields questions at the last OCRI Beg to DIFFER Brand Strategy Bootcamp in May 2009.

generic Helvetica, information pills sans-serif; FONT-SIZE: +3″>Register here at the OCRI Web site.

This  boot camp is for all managers and executives with marketing, PR, or communication responsibility–whether in technology, government, not-for-profit, or other industries.  Basically, if you manage a brand and want to learn how to manage it for maximum connection and value (for your customers and for yourself) this boot camp is for you.


Thursday August 27, 2009


Nepean Sailing Club 3259 Carling Avenue

Two Options:

OPTION 1: Half-Day Bootcamp – morning only

  • 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. – Registration and Coffee
  • 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Seminar 

OPTION 2: Full-Day Bootcamp

  • Morning seminar (as above), plus:
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Hands-on Workshop

Why you should attend:

Reason 1: morning session

Dennis at front -square
Morning Session provides theory, practical case studies, & tips

This seminar provides a great overview of three important topic areas for all Brand Managers:

  • What is a brand, and why is it important? You’re being branded one way or the other; we’ll help you take control.
  • The building blocks of brands. How to analyze, develop, and leverage the different facets of corporate strategy to ensure that your brands are making the right promises, and following through.
  • Brand management. How to use the brand elements and marketing tools at your disposal to manage your image in the minds of consumers. How to be a brand stickler without being seen as a “brand cop”. How to get your colleagues to live the brand.
  • Reason 2: afternoon workshop (only for full-day participants)

    Afternoon workshop (available only to full-day bootcampers) is more interactive, and involves hands-on critique of your brand.

    In this smaller-group setting, you’ll get a chance to apply the theory from the morning to your brand and get help from other participants and the workshop leaders.  The workshop will allow you to do a point-by-point inspection all the aspects of your brand. But note that the afternoon is for active participants only; be ready to give and take constructive feedback.

    Reason 3: Take-aways

    All participants will receive 1) Beg to DIFFER Brand Strategy Workbook  plus, full-day participants will also get 2) a personalized assesment of your brand strengths and challenges.

    Reason 4: Beautiful setting

    Nepean Sailing club is at 3259 Carling Avenue, just West of Andrew Haydon Park – only a short drive from downtown and Kanata. This venue offers stunning scenery and a relaxed atmosphere – we took the photo below from just outside the conference room. It’s the perfect place to spend a late August day gearing your brand up for the fall. Google Map here.

    Back deck
    Boot Camp will be held at the beautiful Nepean Sailing Club - 3259 Carling Avenue on Lac Deschênes near Andrew Haydon Park

    Reason 5: don’t take our word for it

    “I thoroughly enjoyed the day and want to thank you and your colleagues for your efforts. I believe this seminar is a definite requirement in the Ottawa area and you have already put in place many of the cornerstones to build on to make this a truly awesome and interactive event for new and seasoned brand management professionals.”

    Dan Chaput
    Director, Marketing Communications
    March Networks

    Register here at the OCRI Web site.

    Tag lines: would you buy a house from a guy in a kilt?

    Differentiation is good. Very very good. I made the point in my post about the Ottawa Shawarma scene that in a crowded, site undifferentiated marketplace, for sale finding a catchy gimmick is a great way to get people to remember you. This unfortunately is the other side of the “personal branding” coin.

    Guy in Kilt

    Yes, cheap I noticed it. Yes, I remembered it. But no, I’m not going to buy a house from you my Scottish friend.

    A good tag line should do at leat one of the following a) tell me what you do if I don’t already know, b) tell me how you do your thing better than anyone else, and / or c) make an emotional connection to show me how “sympatico” you are with me – how you think like I do about your subject area. 
    This one does none of those things.

    5 Reasons this tag line won’t get me to hire the guy in the kilt:

    1) It doesn’t tell me what you do for me.  The tag line doesn’t tell me anything about your business – and mine. How well / differently do you do what you want me to hire you to do: buy or sell property? Kilt does not equal real estate excellence in my mind. Sorry.

    2) It’s all about you. There are perhaps a few large egos in the Real Estate business, and this one makes me suspect you might be among them. If you’re not, show me that by not focusing your ad entirely on yourself. If you are, just save your money and commission a statue of yourself in your back yard. Maybe a little shrine.

    3) I don’t want to see you in a kilt. I would be incredibly uncomfortable meeting you in person – especially if you were actually wearing a kilt. Don’t get me wrong, a kilt can be very classy at a wedding or a military Tattoo. But it’s an eccentric thing – kind of like telling people you are a closet Klingon speaker or always wear socks with fish on them. You’ll get remembered, but it doesn’t build your brand.

    4) There is such a thing as bad publicity / attention / memorable-ness. While I was taking this picture, a random passer-by laughed out loud at the ad. And not in a “ha ha that’s so clever I want to by a house from him” kind of way. Enough said.

    5) My wife is a MacDonald. Apparently there’s some kind of ancient blood feud. Something about your ancestors murdering a bunch of her ancestors in their sleep. Sorry. Nothing personal. But you did bring up the ethnic thing.