Innovation in Business Development
Published: September 8, 2021
Mass migration online brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many innovations that help us work, play, collaborate, and socialize. INTA’s 2021 Brand Resilience: Risk, Recovery, and the Future of the Brand Practitioner Conference (September 22‒23) is emblematic of this. The Conference Project Team has brought creativity and ingenuity to the program. The result: novel opportunities to network during enjoyable, engaging, and fun activities.
Emily Judge (Procter & Gamble, USA) is hosting an interactive game show‒style session titled “Did You Catch That? Team Trivia Competition” in which registrants compete in small groups to answer questions that draw on the Conference panel discussions.
Jason Champion (Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP, USA) is facilitating a workshop titled “The Adventure Begins…” in which registrants working in small teams solve hypothetical legal problems.
Ms. Judge and Mr. Champion sat down with the INTA Bulletin to give a sneak peek into their sessions and share some advice for how registrants can get the most from these Business Development opportunities.
How were the ideas behind your Business Development sessions conceived? And what have you learned as you’ve worked on developing these sessions?
Emily Judge (EJ): We want the Brand Resilience Conference to be engaging, whether it’s an in-person or a virtual event. Opportunities for registrants to interact with the speakers, the content, and each other always enriches the experience. The idea for the trivia session occurred to me after watching my kids play trivia-style quizzes online last year as a part of their virtual schooling. They enjoyed and even seemed energized by the experience.
Indeed, online interactive games and activities have reached new heights of popularity as a way to stay connected to coworkers, friends, and family over the past 18 months of virtual living, so it seemed like a natural addition to the Conference’s program.
Jason Champion (JC): A lot of virtual sessions and online networking events can start to feel quite similar after a while, so we really wanted to try something different and exciting. With this in mind, the idea for the workshop came from brainstorming around what types of activities we thought we would enjoy participating in at a conference.
The workshop is a great opportunity to collaborate in a small group with fellow brand professionals that you may not yet have met. We’ve all been in sessions where you have ice-breaker questions which are good conversation starters but not necessarily something that you want to do for an hour straight. With the workshop, the goal is to host a really memorable experience where you can meaningfully connect with people while working together as a team. We also made it a competition, so registrants are motivated to collaborate and come up with the best possible solutions. It’s going to be interesting to see how they think and what approaches they agree to take together in solving real-world problems.
Ms. Judge, success in your session depends on teamwork and a healthy competitive spirit. What will participants take away from this session in terms of relationship building and business development?
EJ: Team challenges, like the format we’ll use at the Conference, are a comfortable and easy way to get to know new people. The conversation topics are already set. The time limits for each round keep the conversation moving. Networking and building professional relationships should be comfortable and easy—this, unto itself, is a very helpful lesson. And teamwork brings out the best in people!
[I]t’s extremely useful to observe how other people think when faced with a challenging legal problem that doesn’t really have one correct solution.—Jason Champion
In my opinion, the gold standard for education is learning by doing. When a class or conference includes the ability to apply or interact with the material, I understand it more thoroughly and recall more of it when I need to use it in my work later. So, a team trivia session will be an ideal way to have fun connecting with other Conference registrants while also increasing the knowledge you take away at the end of the day. Considering how much most lawyers love to compete, I think it will get interesting.
Mr. Champion, the workshop that you’re facilitating draws on hypothetical brands/clients. How can such exercises help legal practitioners develop professionally in ways that the “real work” does not?
JC: The workshop and the detailed fact pattern we’ve put together really give legal practitioners an opportunity to test out their creativity and problem-solving skills without all the pressure that comes with making these kinds of tough decisions in the real world.
I also think it’s extremely useful to observe how other people think when faced with a challenging legal problem that doesn’t really have one correct solution. We’ve devised a unique fact pattern; I doubt anyone in attendance will have faced this type of situation before, so it’s going to be fun to see how the teams respond.
In the last two years, we have all attended many virtual events. What advice do you have for registrants looking to get the most out of these virtual Business Development opportunities?
JC: This isn’t the kind of conference where you can just have the platform open and tune in and out while you’re doing other work—and that’s a good thing! Make sure you attend these unique Business Development sessions and really engage with your team. To get the most out of group sessions like the workshop or trivia game, you really need to jump in with both feet and, together with your team, go for the win!
EJ: Early in the pandemic, I thought virtual events were a smart opportunity to multi-task. I was wrong. When you’re fully focused on the event, you can connect much more genuinely with people, which I think is the foundation to building business relationships. Block the time on your calendar. And commit to being fully present in the session. Maybe even act a little outlandish and set your status to “do not disturb!”
Team challenges, like the format we’ll use at the Conference, are a comfortable and easy way to get to know new people.—Emily Judge
From a practical standpoint, I also suggest taking the time to explore the Conference platform, including the networking features, attendee lists, and other information that will prepare you to follow up on connections you make during the course of the event.
Which of the educational sessions are you most excited about and why?
EJ: I’m looking forward to the session on Brand Restrictions. INTA always has useful insights from its research studies to share, and I’m interested to see how the increased focus on health and safety brought on by COVID-19 could impact brand restrictions in the future.
I’m also excited to hear Professor Ross talk about how to shift from cancel culture to a more productive and respectful dynamic in the media and public discourse. Social media is not going away, so I think it would be good for brands and people if we can make it more of a conversation and less of a shouting match.
JC: I’m most excited about the NFT [non-fungible tokens] and digital assets session. There’s so much buzz right now around this emerging technology with new companies and business models popping up overnight. People are spending millions of dollars on these things, and everyone is trying to get their foot in the door. But, at the same time, we’ve got to tackle a whole host of new legal issues that we’ve never encountered before. It’s basically the Wild West!
Again, we also find ourselves catching up with the market. NFTs are already in use and most of us are still just trying to understand what they are! What are NFTs? What is blockchain? How do these things work with my brand? We’ve got a great panel. I’m excited about the discussion and all the questions that I’m sure will follow.
Register now for the 2021 Brand Resilience: Risk, Recovery, and the Future of the Brand Practitioner Conference. Members who register by Friday, September 10, will receive Premium Access pricing and additional benefits, including early access to the virtual platform.
Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.
© 2021 International Trademark Association
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