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Brand Futures: Chicago 2023

The largest complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton – affectionately named “Sue” – is normally the star of every show at the Chicago Field Museum. However, last Thursday, the prehistoric wonder of “Sue” took a back seat to cutting-edge marketing conversations.

On Thursday, October 12, Opal hosted Brand Futures: Chicago, bringing top marketers from Chicago’s legendary brands together at the Field Museum. At this one-of-a-kind marketing meet up, guests enjoyed an evening of great food, making connections, and sharing hot takes – in a truly one-of-a-kind space.   

One attendee had this to say about the event: 

“Thank you for including me in last night’s event. Honestly, it was great. I’ve been missing these types of opportunities to get together with folks in Marketing and have some of the “hard conversations” we’re all itching to have!”

Facilitating Connections among Top Talent 

While the dinosaurs and hors d’oeuvres were a draw, the key feature of our Brand Futures events are the connections. We strive to build a venue for marketers from legendary brands (big and small) to meet – and share unfiltered thought leadership – in a safe space.

We were proud to say that Google, Boeing, Square, Motorola Solutions, Ulta, Starbucks, and many more standout brands attended our event! 

Experience in the Field… 

When searching for a venue to host Brand Futures: Chicago, we wanted a space that would make a statement. A 40-foot long T-Rex as the backdrop – and 10 other dinosaur skeletons – fit the bill. Numerous attendees both from Chicago and out of town said they had never been to the Chicago Field Museum before but had always wanted to visit! 

The food also earned rave reviews. The chicken and waffle cones, charcuterie, and the mushroom truffle arancini all satisfied. Desserts weren’t lacking either with a brownies board and 4 colors of macarons (that guests and hosts alike couldn’t resist taking home!). 

Your Hosts 

Alyx Wynn, Director of Marketing at U.S. Soccer Federation, and Opal Head of Growth Katie Pocklington shared hosting duties. Drawing from their extensive marketing backgrounds, they kickstarted the evening’s signature “Hot Takes” conversation! 

Conversations on the Cutting-Edge 

While the backdrop may have been 67 million years old, the evening’s conversations were firmly rooted in the 2023 state of the marketing industry. 

During the “Hot Takes” component of Brand Futures, we share the mic and ask everyone to give their unique and candid ideas on the state of the marketing. These are a few of the most memorable conversation points: 

  • Does a person make a brand/product? For example, if you buy a Tesla, do you support what Elon says and does? Big picture, should this influence how marketers think about partnerships? 
  • The line between storytelling and lying in marketing. For example, athletic wear marketing suggests that you’re going to be faster if you wear a certain legging – but that’s not really possible. Is that a lie? However, the right equipment can get people moving and training – which will make them healthier and faster. 
  • Letting consumers drive the short term course of your business based on what fads they’re following. Is this smart – and how do you do it authentically? 
  • Consumers who can’t afford to speak with their wallets. For example, there are some people who would love to support eco-friendly small businesses, but they can only afford to shop big box retail.

More Brand Futures are on the Horizon 

Go to any Brand Futures and you won’t be able to deny that the vibe is truly one-of-a-kind. Through the end of 2023 and the entirety of 2024, we’re hosting numerous Brand Futures events at hubs of marketing talent throughout the country. We hope to see you at one or more of them. 

Our next event is in Atlanta on 11/9 – explore the event details right here

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