No hot air as businesses debate brands at Balloon Fiesta

Hosted by sponsors Thrings for the fourth year in a row, and featuring official partners Business West, the event saw guests network and participate in a panel debate on the importance, challenges and potential pitfalls around branding.

They also watched a spectacular early-morning ascent of more than 100 colourful balloons before getting down to business.

The panel discussion – chaired by former BBC Radio Bristol presenter Steve Le Fevre – considered how and why people buy into a brand, their attitudes to what sits behind a brand, brands and business practice transparency, and social media’s role in building – and destroying – a brand.

Joining Steve on the panel were Rob Law, creator and CEO of children's sit-on suitcase business Trunki, Nick Davies, founder of social platform Neighbourly, and Peter Haigh, managing director of Bristol Energy.

The lively debate focussed on what sits behind a brand; nowadays there is more and more scrutiny on a brand’s purpose, its ethical culture and green credentials, in addition to it making a profit.

Colin Stratton, who is a partner in Thrings’ commercial property team and head of the law firm’s Bristol office, said: “It was a real privilege to be able to host the business breakfast once again in the glorious surroundings of Ashton Court.

“It was great to see so many people in attendance and thanks to the good weather, we were able to enjoy a spectacular mass ascent of balloons.

"It was the perfect opportunity to acknowledge what a great city we live in and Bristol’s importance to the regional and national economy. It also provided a chance to celebrate some of the region’s most successful consumer brands.”

One of the city’s iconic and best-loved cultural gatherings, the four-day Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest free ballooning event. Now in its 39th year, it attracts more than 250,000 people and injects as much as £15million into the Bristol economy every year.

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