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Students and Practitioners Gather to Explore How Companies Can Innovate in Today's Markets

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“Marketing Now: Innovation in a Changing Landscape” themed the Ninth Annual NYU Stern Graduate Marketing Association Conference on October 30. Some 330 students, alumni, marketing professionals and corporate representatives gathered at NYU Stern to examine the evolution of the marketing function, which is racing to adapt to the increasing presence of social media, the move to brand globalization and the impact of the recent economic climate.

The event kicked off with remarks from Rohan Oza, chief marketing officer of Glacéau vitaminwater. He encouraged attendees to pursue their passions and to have conviction in both personal and professional goals. Describing how vitaminwater created a new category in the beverage space, Oza outlined some key factors to the successful launch of a new product:

  • Hire people with passion for the brand
  • Treat everyone like a consumer
  • Influence the influencers (in entertainment, sports, etc.)
  • Cultivate passionate partners vs. endorsement contracts
  • Bring the message to the consumers (via store displays, where 70 percent of consumer decisions are made; and on the streets via branded vehicles and brand ambassadors)

Professor Jeffrey Carr moderated a discussion on marketing opportunities in emerging markets with distinguished panelists representing a range of prominent brands including Kraft, American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, Dannon and Unilever. They examined the cultural, political, economic and competitive considerations that a company must take into account to successfully extend a brand into a new market.

Attendees broke out into two panels during the afternoon to explore how innovators and entrepreneurs can create brand equity, and how existing companies can protect brand identity and leverage a lasting brand in today’s dynamic marketplace. Staying in two groups, attendees conducted a roundtable of speed networking sessions.

South Dakota native Jeffrey Hayzlett, chief marketing officer of Eastman Kodak, described the “makeover” that Kodak has undergone in recent years, moving away from a consumer business to a commercial business. As CMO, Hayzlett says he is activating the Kodak brand via advertising, the company website, social media, blogging, interactive campaigns and on the ground, as is the case with the Kodak Challenge, a competition for PGA tour players and fans. He also talked about FAST, Kodak’s core set of principles, which stands for Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Trust.

Learn more about Stern’s Graduate Marketing Association