School of Business Brings World-Renowned Brand Experts to University of Montana

Joan Giese, Scott Bedbury, Kevin Keller, and Jakki Mohr

Distinguished brand experts Kevin Keller and Scott Bedbury visited the University of Montana on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 22-23.  The duo gave two presentations to audiences of about 150 business students and they also gave talks to faculty and a brand workshop with UM deans. 

Keller is the E. B. Osborn Professor of Marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.  He has marketed some of the world’s most successful brands, including Accenture, American Express, Disney, Ford, Intel, Levi-Strauss, L. L. Bean, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung and Starbucks.

Bedbury is a branding consultant and CEO of Brandstream, a global firm with offices in the Seattle area.  He is perhaps best known for his work as Nike advertising director and the launch of the “Just Do It” campaign.  He also served as the Starbucks chief marketing officer during its formative years.

Keller’s presentation drew from his consulting experiences and brand lessons from five companies, including Disney, Levi-Strauss, Red Bull, Procter & Gamble and Samsung. 

He emphasized that a brand “is a promise that a company or an organization makes to its customers.” According to Keller, the strongest brands offer not only quality products or services but also a meaningful interaction and quality experience. 

Bedbury talked to the students about how strong brands can unleash disruptive innovation, highlighting his work with Nike, Starbucks and AirBnB, among others. The importance of treating employees with pride and dignity so they, in turn, serve customers with passion and purpose was another highlight of Bedbury’s presentation. 

“I loved seeing how both Kevin and Scott distilled large, complex brands down to a few words – the brand mantra — that conveyed the emotions, values and benefits offered by the brand,” said Kayla Gonzales (MS in Business Analytics, 2017). “The power of language was made abundantly clear as was the need for all employees in an organization to execute on the brand promise.”