By Nimish Nathwani’13
When I first read the Marketing TREK proposal this summer before getting started on my application, I asked myself, “Why Portland of all places?” The apprehension eased and a feeling of excitement took over when we saw the final schedule of our TREK. The lineup was incredibly impressive; from world-class sports apparel brands like Adidas, Nike and Columbia Sportswear to some of the biggest names in tech industry like Intel, Survey Monkey and Jive Software, a world-class ad agency in Wieden + Kennedy (ad agency for P&G “Thank you, Mom” campaign, “Old Spice Man” campaign, Nike and Coca Cola ads), Portland Timbers (official MLS team of the city) and Leatherman, a truly American line of multi tools and knives. The 15 marketing enthusiasts along with Tony Kmetty from CMC were excited about the 3-day tour to the “Rose City”.
The remarkable company lineup had an exceptional array of company representatives for us “TREKers” to interact with. Conversations about strategic interactions between marketing and finance at Jive Software made us realize the importance of collaboration between two extremely important and interdependent teams in an organization. Our visit to Columbia’s “Innovations Lab” was just breathtaking. Adidas was very gracious to play host represented by marketing managers of Adidas Running, Adidas Tennis and Adidas – Texas A&M strategic partnership. TREKers also earned the liberty to splurge at the Adidas employee store. For many sports fanatics in the Marketing TREK, the visit to the Nike World Headquarters Campus was surreal. The discussions and conversations at Survey Monkey and Intel were particularly interesting because of how they redefine their industry dynamics by providing cutthroat innovative solutions, and how the brand plays a critical role in being seen as trustworthy and performance oriented.
Our journey continued. The visit to Portland Timbers provided an interesting perspective to how a fairly recent MLS team simultaneously markets the sport and the team and has been so successful in creating loyalty among fans. With world-class ground facilities, the home stadium has played host to several great European soccer teams. Leatherman was a unique company within the mix of companies we visited contributed by their altered product line and target audience (the typical American dad). How the company utilized social media to create awareness and brand loyalty was particularly fascinating. Finally, the one company visit that really stood out probably for
all of us was to Wieden + Kennedy, where we had the opportunity to meet with Account Managers and Media Planners for P&G, Nike and Coca Cola. This visit was exclusive in various aspects; office layout and amenities, the culture (off course, it is after all an ad agency!) and conversations with some of the most creative personalities in the business. One of the key takeaways from the visit for future marketing and brand managers was to understand the thought process of the people who bring to life the creative side of the brand.
Apart from visiting these amazing companies, TREKers also had a great time networking with many TBird Alumni at Portland’s famous Huber’s Café, and enjoyed watching the NBA game between Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers Live at Rose Quarter Arena. The three days flew past in a jiffy! Inspired by thought provoking lessons and experiences, I am sure each and every one of us is thrilled to kick-start our careers in the adrenaline packed marketing world right after Thunderbird!