BAM Marketing Congress 2023
Day 1: the clash between human and artificial
Pause. Re-think. The theme of the BAM congress was clear. Although there was little time for apause. "Change has never been so fast... and will never be so slow again". A report from the first day of the congress.
"Above all, make sure you are not 'stuck in the middle'." It was a phrase Dado Van Peteghem said in passing during his presentation on the B-stage (for those not present: the main stage). But that one sentence summed up an entire first day of congress.
After all, it was a day of extremes. As a participant, you were constantly tossed back and forth between the two code words: 'human' (with 'meaningful' and 'sustainable' as variants) and 'artificial' (with 'technology' and 'AI' as variants).
It started right away with the first two speakers of the day. Both Mark Schaefer and Dado Van Peteghem chose a clear focus. One went for 'human', the other for 'technology'. The tone was immediately set.
Both domains were explored further during the day, but it was undoubtedly sustainability that attracted the most attention. In this area, the conference participants were presented with the crème de la crème of sustainability marketing on day 1. Both Wayne Visser and Victoria Hurth climbed the stage.
The former is a professor at the University of Cambridge and Antwerp Management School, the latter is associated with the Institute for Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge. The result of two academic profiles? Very reasoned, in-depth presentations that addressed the need for a very thorough reform of our business and marketing thinking.
Victoria Hurth went furthest in this. If the term 'holistic' had not already been invented, it would have been immediately claimed to stick on this presentation. Wayne Visser, however, did not let himself off the hook with his speech. He ended catchily with a poem of his own writing.
Human takes the lead
In between the two, then, was Erinch Sahan's presentation, which provided numerous models to make the doughnut economy concrete. Not to mention Samira Brophy, who showed how advertising for sustainability themes can be 'magnificent'.
With this strong line-up, the 'human' side won out over the artificial side by a bike length. Curious to see what that will be on Day 2.