This October the Clay team visited OnBrand: One of Europe’s leading and on-trend events in branding for the second time in a row. In the stunning old sugar factory, close to Amsterdam, over 1500 professionals in marketing shared their secrets and listened in awe to the 16 speakers that were spread over four stages that made #OnBrand18 a true brand-venture!

OnBrand is one of the most important events in marketing and branding in Europe. They are on a mission to build the biggest and greatest onbrand community in the world in which they are already succeeding.


After an introduction by non other than Susan Lindner (our highlight of TNW2017) Chris Hall CEO of Bynder and host of OnBrand’18 stated this year’s theme: ‘Getting to the authentic heart of the brand’. Anybody thirsty for ideas was encouraged to discuss, network and learn from this amazing community of brand leaders, essential in helping to build your brand to grow like any other strong tribe and eventually to become The Silicon Valley of Europe. This support was clearly tangible during OnBrand’18.

These were the highlights and lessons we’ve collected:

The savagery of pop culture by Alain Sylvain, Founder and CEO of Sylvain Labs While stating the most common branding in pop culture that is embedded into our lives without even knowing it like Santa Claus (Which is a corporate invention), Alain Sylvain explained the importance of cultivating a sympathetic culture around your brand. Where pop culture used to be an important influence in our daily life dominating the way we eat, drink and even celebrate holidays is now a way to show your brand has human value.

Brands and products now have a responsibility to further culture- and not capitalize.

Brands should:

  • Act on values, don’t preach them

  • Talk to the ignored don’t pander on the majority

  • Lean in to the backlash don’t run from it

  • Be native, don’t be a tourist (in social media)

  • Challenge cultural advantages

  • Build culture around their product

Brands need culture; culture no longer need brands. - Alain Sylvain, Sylvain Labs

Max Amordeluso, EU Lead Evangelist for Amazon Alexa in Europe Max Amordeluso's main mission is to introduce Alexa to European developers and demonstrate how they can build natural and delightful voice experiences for customers. Max provided interesting insights into how Alexa is changing the world for the better. 86% of multiple person households are welcoming Alexa as part of their family. Alexa not only makes it possible to receive information on the fly, but it’s also the beginning of a new futures perspective. Not that far away from now, it will be completely normal to talk to technology. In smart homes of the future, a voice experience will be standardized and build-in any smart home making it the centre of any household. This will become a blessing for people with less mobility like elderly or disabled persons. Max also introduced the Alexa on the go: A voice experience build-in your car enabling you to arrange your life on the road.

Market is fueled by the expectation of the customer - Max Amordeluso, Amazon Alexa

Why impactful branding is a hot topic for tech marketers by Chris Hall, Founder and CEO of Bynder Chris Hall is the CEO of Bynder, the fastest-growing digital asset management software business and the host of OnBrand'18. During the Bynder fireside chat, Chris Hall was interviewed by Danny Frietman , Co-founder of Enterprise Summit about the power of authenticity and boldness to captivate consumers and make them choose you over the competition. The advice Chris started off with was ‘don’t create content just for content's sake’. In a world where consumers are getting thrown more information to them then they bargained for that information better be good.

‘Authenticity and boldness are attracted when you have a mix of cultures in your company that together form a strong culture that will build your brand. An exciting but slow trend among millennials is the way they work. At Bynder we work with an unlimited holidays protocol. We want to push what’s considered normal to see what can be improved. The startup climate in the Netherlands has the right focus. As a European company we are always looking outside the borders for improvement vs. the US that mainly focuses within their own region. In Amsterdam the trend of innovative ecosystems with strong financial systems like Booking.com that support each other is growing strong, this reminds us of Silicon Valley. Amsterdam is a great place to live. It’s relatively cheap compared to London and Paris. The culture is easy to settle in and there’s a good work/life balance. Amsterdam hosts a very big creative sector, which ignites ideas that go globally.’


Lessons from the film industry on brand storytelling, Sançar Sahin, VP of Marketing at Typeform Movies have an undeniable ability to captivate us, enchant us, and keep us coming back for more. As a brand storyteller your goals are exactly the same. Sancar Sahin from Typeform, the company that made collecting your data cool again, used Todorov’s Equilibrium Theory, as a stepping stone for telling your brand story.

Brands will die unless they contribute to culture, and if that's the case, then those at OnBrand’18 are certainly alive and kicking... - Stefan Fountain, pr.co

The Elements Event Portal enabled visitors to schedule their day without having to miss a thing. With 16 inspirational speakers it could’ve become a mess! The app facilitated integration with your social media accounts and has a function to add notes to your scheduled talks which was a big life saver!

The most underestimated change in tech for the future will be within the workforce. People are working remotely and more flexible, making them more productive. And technology is enabling this change. - Chris Hall, Bynder

Highly inspiring speakers, a stunning venue and lots and lots to think about! OnBrand18 was a trip! Thank you OnBrand and Bynder for creating this community of likeminded people! And thanks to SugarCity and Toms for facilitating this very memorable day!

Check out the social media wrap-up of #OnBrand18 where Clay’s also featured under the ‘hot takes’ section or read the summary of inspiring quotes throughout the day!

We can't wait for next year!