Don Smiley has been CEO of Milwaukee World Festival Inc. since 2004. Each year, the company hosts Summerfest and ethnic festivals throughout the summer. Summerfest started in 1968 and has grown in size and popularity through strong branding, Smiley says.
“A strong and stable future for your brand doesn’t happen on its own. It starts with thoroughly understanding your customer, the market you serve and the brand’s promise. You must then have the discipline and resources to remain true to the promise and consistently deliver, day in and day out.
“Customers believe in and trust brands that they can count on to deliver. The brand’s identity stems from simplicity and consistently delivering on the brand’s promise, no matter how large or small. Consistency builds trust. Trust builds frequency, affinity and loyalty. Loyalty builds high value, lifelong customer relationships. Those customers become champions for the brand, generating powerful ‘word of mouth’ marketing benefits that cannot be purchased.
“Staying relevant is a delicate, necessary and ongoing process. Brands that create conversations with customers and engage customers ‘beyond the sale’ are able to uncover valuable gems and insights, that if acted upon, help the brand evolve to meet changing customer wants and needs without forgetting the heritage the brand has been built on.
“As stewards of one of Milwaukee’s greatest and longstanding traditions, it is our responsibility to the City of Milwaukee, State of Wisconsin and our community to work diligently to always put our best foot forward with class and integrity in hosting approximately 1 to 1.5 million patrons at Summerfest, ‘The World’s Largest Music Festival,’ and the ethnic festivals, as well as the additional events held at Henry Maier Festival Park each year.”
– Don Smiley, Chief executive officer or Milwaukee World Festival Inc.