The Gathering summit good for Banff business
Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 06:00 am
Masters of cult branding return to Banff next week.
The Gathering is bringing a fourth year of marquee names, networking and marketing insight to its annual summit, Feb. 22-24 at the Fairmont Banff Springs, and a music festival downtown, Feb. 23-24.
Put on by Cult Collective Ltd., an advertising company from Calgary, The Gathering honours top brands that have achieved an undying allegiance of followers across the globe.
“These coveted brands that never get together on the planet are all in one room at one team time,” said Ryan Gill, Cult’s president. “It’s not just a summit or award galley, it’s really a coming together of celebrities of the marketing world.”
Seven featured cult brands and six emerging brands make up 2017 honourees, including Fender, ChapStick, Levi’s, Canada Goose and the annual charity honouree, Make A Wish Foundation.
These brands, among others, will have a brand attendee speak at the summit about the story of their company’s success.
The little guys, of course, are always welcome to hear the success stories.
“Inspiration is always relevant,” said Gill. “Levi’s started out as a two person shop in San Francisco. Those stories are the ones we want to shine the light on. They have been able to stay around forever using cult-like brand techniques – it doesn’t matter what type of business.”
Deciding on brands chosen as honourees is usually a year-long process.
Starting at about 1,000 brands, a list is then narrowed down to 500, then 250, which is followed by a lot of phone calls. Cult will then visit a selected bunch of brands, before whittling down to the eight to 12 honourees.
This year will see an addition called Catching Smoke, a workshop for how the next generation is approaching branding, and how to apply what is learned at the summit.
The event will attract thousands of people to Banff and, in some cases, first time visitors to the mountain town.
“We estimated last year that the economic impact was $2 or $3 million for the area,” said Gill. “Banff is a place where people want to come and is a destination for people as well.”
With Banff as The Gathering’s home turf, Gill says they want the annual event to “grow smart, not fast” and remain an exclusive atmosphere.
“We want to keep it small and intimate – if you get too large you lose your soul, and you could get lost in the crowd,” said Gill.
Striving to grow about “10 per cent” each year and become a festival-like event, while still embracing an exclusive feel, The Gathering expanded to include a music festival, which will feature 2017 headliners Sam Roberts Band and Bob Moses performing at Banff’s Rose and Crown and Hoodoo Lounge. Please see page 45 for more details.
Gill thinks in 2018 the music festival will likely head to other Bow Valley towns such as Lake Louise and Canmore.