Seller’s Secret Recipe

Courtesy: Thunderbird School of Global Management
Courtesy: Thunderbird School of Global Management

How do brands differentiate themselves and court consumers’ attention? Kevin Sellers, VP of Advertising and Digital Marketing for Intel was on campus to speak to students about this. Hosted by the Thunderbird Marketing Association, it was impressive to have a leader of his caliber on campus. Currently a marketing and branding executive, Mr. Sellers has had a successful career in Market Research, Brand Strategy, Investor Relations, Finance and Operations Management, spanning 16 years in the high-tech industry.

Mr. Sellers’ presentation had an easy message: “Simple is Hard.”. He went over many marketing concepts that are familiar to Thunderbird students but applied context to them in real world terms. One of the key items he covered was the emphasis on rational vs. emotional in advertising: brands that know how to position themselves as unique on both levels succeed where others cannot. Mr. Sellers also talked of the need for brands to have a “secret recipe”, with a clear call to action and identifying a simple and relatable message. The best example of this, he said, was Intel itself. After extensive research, Intel decided to create a central and simple message of “looking inside”. This message has enabled them to simplify their brand approach to consumers, whilst clearly defining what Intel is all about i.e. looking inside devices, be it computers, portable device or others.

Courtesy: www.intelfreepress.com
Courtesy: www.intelfreepress.com

Storytelling and its importance was another point that Mr. Sellers emphasized, with consumers currently consuming close to 5000 messages from different forms of media. He stressed that unless brands learn to set themselves apart through storytelling, brands, and the message they are trying to convey, will slip through the minds of consumers. An example that he provided for this was Dove’s Real Women Beauty Sketches campaign. To him, the campaign stood out because it showcased creativity by thinking outside the box. With zero money spent on the campaign, it still had a strong enough impact so as to increase Dove’s sales and drive up their profits. This brought up another key point: marketing budgets. Mr. Sellers opined that marketing budgets, or lack thereof was no excuse not to be creative. He surmised that more often than not, the availability of large marketing budgets makes marketers lazy and creatively challenged.

All in all, a very fascinating session and hopefully Thunderbird will welcome back Mr. Sellers in the near future to hear more from his experience!

(Thanks to Stuti Vora ’13 for input on this article)

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