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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  January 29, 2013

Speakers Gone Wild

What happens when a big brand doesn’t watch their local affiliates?  You get a problem like TED is dealing with, as outlined in this Fast Company article.

It reminds me of what kids do when the parents are away:  they enjoy the freedom to go a little crazy.  I get the dilemma; you don’t want to centralize control and micro-manage but you also want the brand to be protected.  TED has jumped into action with — among other things — a set of “anti-wingnut” guidelines for TEDx organizers.

The curveball that put local organizers on the wrong path:  the demands that TEDx cover “both sides of the issue”.  Really?  Who says so?  And my big question:  whose event is this anyway?  The local organizers give away too much power to appease their communities.  That — not bad speaker selection — is what really happened.

I agree with big TED’s approach:  quality comes first.  TED’s brand is based on their curation.  Those same guidelines should be instituted for any event under their banner.  As a client once told me years ago:  you can go to Tiffany and find many different sizes of diamonds.  But they are all Tiffany diamonds.

Am looking forward to going to TED this spring, as well as TEDGlobal in June.  The line ups look great.


About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.