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10 brand and marketing conferences you can (still) attend in 2021

Got WiFi? Then the world’s conferences can come to you. Attending a conference is one of the best ways to update your knowledge and broaden your perspective by connecting with experts in branding and marketing.

What does it mean to be a successful brand in 2021? At a time of fundamental change and uncertainty, questions about branding and marketing strategy matter more than ever. Whether you attend remotely or in person, a conference or summit is a handy way to stay current and connect with your industry at this critical time.

Here are 10 branding conferences you can attend in 2021, many of them from the safety and comfort of home.

1. WorkDifferent

Date: On demand – learn at your convenience

Location: Remote

Who should go: Brand and marketing leaders and professionals in the experience management industry, especially those adapting their ways of working in response to the pandemic.

Description: WorkDifferent is a remote, on-demand event that brings together business leaders who are rethinking how to work in a world changed by COVID-19. Hear how leading brands designed new experiences and found valuable opportunities at a time of crisis.

Branding and marketing professionals should check out Omar Smith’s talk on how brands find their way without losing sight of their why, and Andrea Zahumensky and Jim Stengel in conversation on brand boldness and KFC’s agile approach to marketing during the pandemic.

Last year's speakers include:

  • Netflix - Bozoma Saint John
  • NBA - Oris Stuart
  • Atlassian - Dom Price
  • Qualtrics - Ryan Smith
  • Microsoft - Brad Anderson
  • Tony Hawk

2021 speakers announced (so far):

  • Ally Love - Peloton
  • Sal Khan - Khan Academy

Register free to experience WorkDifferent

2. Advertising Week New York

Date: October 27 - 30, 2021

Location: New York

Who should go: Brand, advertising, tech and media professionals

Description: Advertising Week is a key fixture in the advertising and marketing world’s calendar. This year brings a mix of virtual and in-person content, including daytime seminars and workshops, organized networking, evening entertainment and music performances. You can go in person or register for virtual attendance.

Featured speakers:

The 2021 agenda is yet to be confirmed, but last year’s speakers include:

  • Trevor Noah - The Daily Show
  • Kelly Campbell - Hulu
  • Luis Di Como - Unilever
  • Colleen DeCourcy - Wieden + Kennedy

Other dates in 2021 include:

AW LATAM: November (dates TBC)

AW Europe: May 10 - 13

AW Asia: May 24 - 26

AW APAC: August (dates tbc)

3. ContentTech Summit

Date: June 8 - 10

Location: Remote

Who should go: ContentTech is a great fit for senior-level professionals working in content strategy, content marketing and martech.

Description: ContentTech is run by the CMI (Content Marketing Institute). It focuses on how we can use technology to make content marketing better, especially when it comes to customer experience. This year’s event will be a mix of live-streaming keynotes, general sessions and breakouts on demand.

Featured speakers:

  • Joe Lazauskas - Contently
  • Chris Penn - Trust Insights
  • Robert Rose - Content Marketing Institute
  • Wendy Richardson - Mastercard

4. Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, 2021

Date:  June 21 - 25

Location: Cannes, France

Who should go: The Cannes Lions Festival is for everyone in the creative industries, from branding and advertising agencies to marketing leaders, media professionals to creative performers and artists.

Description: Cannes Lions is famous for bringing together a diverse and dazzling range of creative talents in one place. It’s a chance to absorb insights, knowledge and ideas and to meet and network with fellow creatives of all stripes in an exciting and celebratory atmosphere.

Featured speakers: TBC

The event is set to go ahead as an in-person occasion, but to maintain COVID-safety, organizers may limit the number of delegates. Keep an eye on their website for the latest news.

5. Inbound

Date: September 7 - 10

Location: Remote, and live in Boston, MA

Who should go: Product managers, marketers, start-up founders and creative professionals.

Description: HubSpot’s signature conference is moving to a hybrid online and in-person event for 2021. As usual though, it will feature inspiring, empowering speakers in a range of sessions with a special emphasis on how to move forward with work in the era of the ‘new normal’.

Featured speakers:

2021 speakers are TBC. In 2020, the line-up included:

  • Alicia Garza - Black Futures Lab
  • Brian Halligan & Darmesh Shah - HubSpot
  • Sandy Carter - Amazon Web Services
  • Cliff Obrecht - Canva

6. MarTech

Date: March 16 - 17, 2021

Location: Remote

Who should go: Senior marketing professionals, digital executives, and leaders focused on how marketing and technology intersect.

Description: MarTech is all about the intersection of technology and marketing – how tech underpins modern marketing, creates new ways of working and drives marketing forward through new developments and discoveries. This year’s virtual event is free to attend, and features both live and on-demand sessions from leaders in martech, plus a range of paid workshops.

Featured speakers:

  • Andrea Fryrear - Agile Sherpas
  • Tony Byrne - Real Story Group
  • David Raab - Raab & Associates
  • Christopher Penn - Trust Insights

7. Content Marketing World Conference and Expo

Date: September 28 - October 1

Location: Cleveland, OH

Who should go: Marketing, content and communications professionals who define, plan and execute content marketing for their organizations.

Description: Content Marketing World is one of the biggest global gatherings of content professionals. Organized by the CMI, it features a packed agenda with wow-factor speakers who will educate, entertain and enlighten through how-tos, case studies and insights from their respective fields of experience.

Featured speakers:
2021’s speakers have yet to be announced. In 2020, the lineup included:

  • Matthew Rayback - Adobe
  • Joe Pulizzi - Content Marketing Institute
  • W. Kamau Bell - Emmy award-winning producer and comedian
  • Luvvie Ajayi Jones - Author and podcaster

8. Strategic Marketing USA

Date: October 12 - 13

Location: Remote

Who should go: Leaders in branding and marketing strategy. Decision-makers and those tasked with guiding the future of their branding and marketing operations.

Description: Reuters’ two-day event will feature a mix of live-streaming sessions, Q&As and virtual networking, focusing on big-picture topics around marketing and branding, including technology, business infrastructure and culture. On-demand content will also be available to delegates after the live sessions.

Featured speakers:

2021’s line-up is tbc. In 2020, the speaker list included:

  • Penny Baldwin - Qualcomm
  • Evan Jones - Fender
  • Erica Chan - Alibaba
  • Nidhi Gupta - eBay

9. Confab

Date: May 5 - 7

Location: Remote

Who should go: Anyone involved in content creation and content strategy on behalf of a brand.

Description: Confab is primarily a content strategy conference, covering planning and producing content across written, graphic, audio and video formats. Speakers touch on subjects like writing for chatbots, getting stakeholder buy-in for marketing content, and of course making and distributing content in the age of coronavirus. The agenda also includes networking, breakouts and panel discussions.

Featured speakers:

  • Kristina Halvorson - Brain Traffic
  • Clay Delk - Shopify
  • Amelia Granger - Bumble
  • Sophie Tahran - The New Yorker

10. B2B Marketing Exchange

Date: February 22 - 24

Location: Remote

Who should go: Marketers at every level working in B2B.

Description: This year’s event offers more than 50 sessions across 6 tracks, including content marketing, demand generation, digital strategy, ABM, channel marketing, and sales. The digital program includes case studies, workshops and panels.

Featured speakers:

  • Brandi Starr - Tegrita
  • Jay McBain - Forrester
  • Jeanne Quinn - Cisco
  • Michael Ruby - Retina

Feeling inspired? Register now for WorkDifferent