It is with great sadness that I must report that the 15th Global Brand Conference, due to be held at Sheffield Hallam University in May 2020, has been cancelled. Like many, we had initially hoped that the public health emergency regarding the spread of Coronavirus would be relatively short-term. However, is has become clear that this is a very serious and enduring situation that is likely to cause serious disruption on a global scale for some considerable time to come.
We will of course be offering a full refund of the conference fee to all those who have already registered. It may take a little time to set up the process for this, particularly in light of the tumultuous situation with which the management and staff of Sheffield Hallam University, and indeed most institutions around the world, are currently faced. I assure you this will be done, however, and I would ask for your patience and understanding while we work through these challenging circumstances. Please check the conference website for updates about when and how refunds might be obtained; we will post all information there as soon as we have it.
Firstly, I would like to thank you all for your support of the conference to this point. I appreciate that you have all made considerable efforts to produce an array of really interesting papers that we had been very much looking forward to discussing, and I hope that this process has at least helped you to develop your work. Many of you have also made a hugely valuable contribution as reviewers, for which we are extraordinarily grateful.
Thank you also to Stefan Markovic and everyone at BE:ER for supporting the conference with the offer of a special issue. It is source of great sadness to us that we will not now be able to pursue this. We are also very grateful to the members of the SiG (Joana, Stuart, Oriol, Ming, Francisco and Leonor) for their unswerving support, sage advice and valuable practical assistance in putting together the building blocks of the conference.
Finally, I would like to extend special thanks to the organising committee at Sheffield Hallam University: Craig Hirst, Malcolm Baggaley, Liz Lye, Paul Beresford and Jameson Gill. Their positivity, creativity, diligence and dedication has been remarkable from start to finish, and I could not have asked for better people to have taken this journey with.
We are all naturally very disappointed by the situation we find ourselves in. We had put in a great deal of work to produce an event that would continue the traditions and successes of previous GBC conferences, and we were very excited at how it was shaping up. With 72 papers to be presented, a series of interesting and influential key notes planned and some fantastic social events booked, we were pretty much ready to go. That said, we appreciate that others have suffered, and continue to suffer, much more important and serious consequences; and the health, safety and well-being of our attendees, our staff and the families of everyone connected with the event is of course our primary concern.
The theme of the conference was Branding in a time of radical transformation. It has unfortunately proven to be a little more appropriate than we had envisaged. May I suggest that the theme of the next conference might be Branding in a time of stability and tranquillity(?)
We sincerely wish you and your loved ones all the very best in these challenging times. Our thoughts are with you all, and we look forward to a time when we can once again gather to share and develop our work as colleagues and friends.