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Using event marketing to promote your brand

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

David Brady, CMO of the Houston Zoo, explains how the Houston Zoo's event marketing strategy has helped make the zoo an important part of the Houston community.

Robin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I’m Robin Tooms, Vice President of Strategy at Savage, and I’m here today again with David Brady, Chief Marketing Officer at the Houston Zoo. David, welcome back.

David: Thanks for having me again.

Robin: Great. Well, I’m excited that you’re back and I want to hear more about a new program at the zoo called Zoo Lights. I want to hear about the program: why it’s important for the zoo, and more importantly why it’s important for Houston.

David: Sure. Well, Zoo Lights is going to be transformational for our community, in my opinion. It is going to be us taking the Houston Zoo, starting the day after Thanksgiving, and turning it into a winter wonderland of holiday lights and exhibits and displays. It’ll be open every night starting the day after Thanksgiving through January 1st, and I think it will be transformational for the city of Houston, for the entire community. There’s really nothing like this in our general community. This came about because for the last several years, I’ve put my family in the van and we’ve driven to College Station, which is about three hours round trip; we’ve driven to Galveston to Moody Gardens, which is about two-and-a-half hours round trip, and a had a great time, but there’s nothing right here in the city, and I think the city really needs it.

Robin: I agree. How did you go about proposing this idea to your leadership team to convince them that this was important?

David: Well first off it took – I’ve been at the zoo now about four years and it took a lot of me proving what I could do with the marketing departments and the departments that I oversee at the zoo, and really proving what we could do with events. Feast with the Beasts has become a sold out – everyone in town wants to get a ticket to an event every fall. Our Zoo Boo for the Halloween celebration is a great event. And proving that those events could really change the paradigm here in Houston in terms of what families do to celebrate was a great way to get started. Then I spent a year researching, putting together a performa, meeting with the senior executive team, meeting with the board of directors, and just convinced everyone that this could work and would work.

Robin: Well, great. I will definitely go again this year. I will make sure I tell all my friends about Zoo Lights, and they can go to for more information about it. This has been another edition of Brandonomics. Stay tuned next week. We will take another look at a top brand and their inside marketing strategies.


The Houston Zoo provides housing, meals, medical care and education for more than 6,000 permanent resident animals. Its mission is to provide a fun, unique and inspirational experience fostering appreciation, knowledge and care for the natural world for each of their more than 1.84 million annual guests.

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Robin Tooms is a consultant for brand, marketing and communications strategies for B2B and service companies. Expertise includes corporate branding, investor communications, employee communications, social media, and marketing with emphasis on effective online marketing and use of technology.

Contact her at or reach her by phone at 713-522-1555.

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