While it’s not infrequent to have T-bird alums popping back on campus, it’s quite the opportunity when T-birds return to give back to the very organization and community they were a part of while they were students. Last Wednesday, the Thunderbird Marketing Association was happy to welcome back Matt Keller (Associate Brand Manager, White Wave Foods) for inspiration and some fun as well.
To start off, it was interesting to notice that Matt made it a point to be individually acquainted with every member of the audience. While Matt’s discussion was to be on Leadership in Brand Management, it lead more to understanding a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”, derived from Simon Sinek’s TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. People don’t buy what you do they buy WHY you do it. Successful marketing always starts with the why. The why becomes an integral part of any business. Knowing why you do something provides both an internal commitment to then be the best you can at that thing, and the outside world, potential customers feel that. The circle expands to HOW you do what your business does and then WHAT are the ways used to accomplish the Why and the How.
Matt then went on to elaborate the importance of having a true passion for anything you do, as well the importance of taking on more leadership, to learn to fail in the safe environment at Thunderbird being a few of the things he wished he knew prior to leaving Thunderbird. On marketing being a balance of art and science, he leaned more toward the scientific side, given the need and emphasis in numbers in marketing at present. He added however that making sense of the science and translating it to an art would be a strong skill set in the field of brand management.
After a barrage of questions from the audience, it was time for the game portion of the evening. For 3 weeks prior to the event, Prof. Baer and Matt had posed 3 series of 5 questions each week, all about marketing communications learning. Each week a winner had been chosen and the three finalists were now ready to battle it out in a Jeopardy style contest to be the winner of the 1st Silk Yogurt Cup. The questions were tough and the 3 finalists, Elsie Tu, Abhishek Kulkarni & Carlos Armero, were stumped for a major portion of the event. After several rounds, Elsie Tu emerged triumphant. Not only did she win a fancy award, she went home with a $100 Amazon gift card. Abhishek & Carlos did not go empty handed either, taking home $50 & $25 Amazon gift cards. The audience wasn’t left high and dry either – each of them got to sample products from White Wave’s Silk brand of products and coupons for Silk yogurt.
The Thunderbird Marketing Association was thrilled to have a great turn out and hopes to see you (and other alums!) at their next event.