#TheGathering2017, currently in Day Two, has so far been an incredible mixture of marketing genius, inspiration, and innovation. With another day and a half left of the conference, we are set to receive a lot more information from leaders of the world’s best brands – and we cannot wait. So far, out of the many thought leaders we have heard from at The Gathering, one key message has stood out across most. What makes a cult brand? Authenticity.

LEGO Community Engagement’s Technology Strategist Johnny Castrup discussed the importance of innovating at every level. Castrup says, “You can’t tell people what to do with what they buy. They will buy it and do what they want with it.” This idea has led to LEGO’s concept of engaging with fans and communities to further its innovation and product creativity. This concept they have harnessed and fostered is an influential one, empowering their community to innovate at every level of the company. Leveraging this multi-level approach to creativity keeps the brand and its products authentic at their core.

Chris Jackman, Vice President of Global Marketing at Levi’s spoke about the importance of keeping people engaged with your brand through innovation, even when that brand is 150 years old. Jackman’s main message? “The insight is in the stories.” According to him, the most important aspect of a cult brand is to know and stand by your values, always going back to the stories that have shaped the brand. Leveraging positive brand perception and stories of inspiration over Levi’s 150-year existence is what helps the brand continue to last as a leader in its industry.

Conspiracy of Love
Conspiracy of Love founder Afdhel Aziz discussed Conscious Capitalism and his idea of “Good is the New Cool: Marketing Like You Give a Damn.” In his speech, he gave great importance to a brand’s purpose. Knowing your values and purpose is not only important for your brand itself, but for your consumers. Aziz says that “consumers expect and reward brands who have purpose at their core,” stating three reasons for this; expectations of Millennials and Generation Z, technology disruption changing advertising, and crisis of meaningfulness in marketing. Staying authentic through this, while finding allies with whom to create mutual benefit, is what will take you to the top.

Canada Goose
Canada Goose starts with authenticity. The company’s CMO Jackie Poriadijan-Asch represented Canada Goose as one of The Gathering’s Cult Brand Honorees and spoke about how the brand’s history has shaped its success. We are all used to seeing Canada Goose jackets on the backs of celebrities like actors Emma Stone and Daniel Craig, rapper Drake, and comedian Amy Schumer (among many). But what was interesting to learn is that Canada Goose does not pay for product placement or endorsements. Poriadijan-Asch says that the brand allows its products to show up organically in the environments they are intended for. She says that nine times out of 10, the celebrities you see wearing Canada Goose are doing so because they have seen film crews wearing them during cold weather shoots.

There are still many speakers to come and certainly more inspiration to be felt at The Gathering. For up-to-the-minute #TheGathering2017 updates, follow us on Twitter at @TACK10Strategy.