This year I was honored to be one of five students named Kellogg Youn Impact Scholars, and earlier this month we had the incredible opportunity to sit alongside 17 other Youn Impact Scholars and discuss the opportunities and challenges present at the intersection of social impact and business.
Second-year student Rohan Rajiv is blogging once a week about important lessons he is learning at Kellogg. Read more of his posts here.
Marketing strategy, to me, comes down to one central insight: “Be cheap or be different.” Everything else is a losing strategy in the long run. A brand, on the other hand, is just a set of associations.
Wal-Mart, to take an example, is built on the “be cheap” strategy. And it is likely that you associate Wal-Mart with “cheap” as well. Apple, on the other hand, is built on the “think different” idea. And it is likely you associate Apple with “think different” as well.
This is particularly interesting where Apple is concerned because Apple products don’t offer much customization. Every iPhone is exactly the same, with limited ability to customize anything beyond colors. So in some ways, it is think different but own the same thing. In Apple’s case, I would posit that the source of its differentiation has moved from just “think different” to something that points to being cool/aspirational over time. It has clearly worked well for them.
When the marketing strategy and the brand’s associations align, it is pretty magical. It means all other components of marketing – e.g. advertising – are aligned, too. Since alignment is key, it points to why marketing needs to begin with the product. Shoving lots of differentiation-based advertising on a bad product isn’t a route to winning in the long term. Customers find out.
The product I was thinking about as I was writing this was me/us. As CEO’s of Me, Inc., I think these lessons raise some interesting questions for you and me. In particular, there were two questions that crossed my mind.
By Nuria Alonso Lamamie de Clairac
I recently had the opportunity to participate in the first Tech Women Alumni Dinner with nine other Kellogg women. We were very lucky to have three Kellogg alumni join us for dinner and share their experiences with us. It was great to have a wide variety of backgrounds represented, from professionals at IBM and Google to employee No. 1 of a startup that now employs 20 people.
The dinner environment was perfect to allow real conversations where we got to know these tech professionals. During dinner we talked about the challenges of the tech industry across different areas.
Tim Bossidy’s passion for finance is what brought him to Kellogg, where he is a second-year student. He felt the school’s curriculum, personalized career support and collaborative community would set him apart as he pursued a career in investment banking.
This past summer, Tim was one of four Kellogg students who interned at Goldman Sachs. All four will return to work at Goldman Sachs full time after graduation.
Tim recently participated in a Career Management Center webinar about career opportunities and career support at Kellogg. Watch the entire webinar, or continue reading to see what Tim had to say about recruiting, Kellogg’s finance curriculum and the school’s uniquely supportive community.
Jeff Hoffman is a second-year student interested in entrepreneurship and technology. He is passionate about the intersection of data science and application, focusing specifically on how data sets and insights can be leveraged to create, refine and market new products and services.
This past summer Jeff interned at Google and will return to the technology firm after graduation. He recently participated in a Career Management Center webinar about career opportunities and his experiences working with Kellogg’s career coaches. Watch the entire webinar, or continue reading to see what Jeff had to say about recruiting, his experience at Google and why he thinks Kellogg graduates are perfectly equipped to succeed in the technology industry.
By Mikhail Petrov
Two years ago, Kellogg introduced a new experiential learning class focused on international business strategy development. I am interested in international development, and I wondered what working on a real consulting project was like, so this class provided an opportunity for me to do both.
One year later, Jasmine Lipford, Andrew Tibbetts, Emi Yokoshima and I found out the implementation of our strategy from class resulted in 10,000 new jobs and the biggest stevia growing project in Ecuador.
By Erica Conti
Eleven Kellogg ladies and I had the opportunity to grab breakfast and chat with Lara Balazs ’00, Visa’s SVP, head of North America marketing in October. Prior to Visa, Balazs held a variety of marketing and strategy roles at Prophet, Gap and Nike. She was recently named as one of Brand Innovators’ 2015 Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing, alongside the Chief Management Officers of the NBA, Nestle USA and JPMorgan Chase.
Balazs has a great affinity for Kellogg, and similar to many of the Kellogg alumni that I’ve met over the years, her energy was contagious. Most of the ladies in the room, including myself, are interested in pursuing careers in marketing, and it was exciting to think that Balazs was in our shoes 15 years ago.
I was pleasantly surprised with how open she was and how interested she was in “paying forward” the professional lessons she learned throughout her career. After the event, I found myself reflecting on two particular pieces of advice she shared.