How to give a presentation about your brand and engage your audience without talking about your brand? This is the key to good presentations and marketing.

I recently attended a marketing conference in Barcelona where I had the opportunity to compare the presentations of two brands: Heineken and BP. They were as different as day and night, and yet, both spoke about themselves.

First, Heineken talked about one of the cornerstones of their marketing strategy: music sponsorships, especially of live music festivals. The speaker explained that marketing cannot be based on intrusive techniques and that “generating valuable content involves thinking before what people want rather than what brands want.”

From their experience, they had observed that people attending live music festivals have difficulties in finding each other within the crowd. So, they created an app to geolocate friends and send them messages. To support this app they also created a huge wireless network covering the whole festival site. In short, they provided a value to the festival that people associated with the brand.

They explain it in this video (in Spanish).

Then came BP.

The presentation began by explaining that gas stations face the challenge that no one likes having to refuel. It promised to be interesting, however, from here the speaker began to explain that one of the cornerstones of the company was security, that they had promotional coupons… and I don’t know how, but I completely lost the thread of the presentation.

When I had almost fallen asleep, I noticed a constant noise coming from the exit gate. People were leaving. “If I just could unfollow…”, I thought. At that moment I realised that those presentations and that conference were a reflection of social media and marketing.

Both Heineken and BP had talked about their brands, but the presentation of Heineken was inspiring, while the BP presentation was spam. We had witnessed the power of (good) content marketing over traditional advertising.

I find it very difficult to explain exactly where is the difference between the two presentations because I’m unable to remember anything about BP. I just know that the presentation of Heineken gave me ideas and broadened my knowledge about marketing.

In fact, Heineken didn’t mention at any moment something basic: the beer. They talked about festivals, apps, people … Perhaps it’s true that valuable content means offering people what they want.

By the way, do you know where is the term spam, in the context of unsolicited messages, derived from?