Kellogg's CEO Launches Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series

August 31, 2018

By Kendra Parks

Steve Cahillane, CEO and chairman of the Kellogg Company, launched the 2018-2019 Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series on Thursday, August 30, presenting to an energetic auditorium, which included students, young entrepreneurs, business leaders, faculty, and staff.

Cahillane started off his appearance by providing some insight on his background within the marketing world.

“I am not a classically-trained marketer,” he stated.

After graduating from Northwestern University in 1987, Cahillane had the choice to join a management development program with Merrill Lynch or a sales representative with E&J Gallo Winery. He opted to taking on responsibilities such as dust wine bottles on display at grocery stores over keeping up with the fast-paced life of Wall Street.

Cahillane went on to obtain his MBA from Harvard, and shortly after, decided to leave Gallo Winery to start his own microbrewery, State Street Brewery, in 1995. Then, he successfully sold his business and joined Stella Artois, where he helped launch the brand into the North American market.

After gaining experience and working at companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nature’s Bounty, and the Coca-Cola Company, he was approached about joining a consumer goods company. At first, Cahillane was not interested, but when he found out it was Kellogg’s, a brand he grew up with, everything changed.

In 1906, W.K. Kellogg founded the company in Battle Creek, Michigan. Kellogg was disruptive and innovative for his time. This is something that still holds true for the Kellogg Company today.

“You’ve just got to move fast. You’ve got to be contemporary. You’ve got to think differently. And I like to say you can say this is not your father’s Kellogg, but it really is, because all those types of entrepreneurial, innovative, new ways of thinking started in 1906,” said Cahillane.

Cahillane explained that brand execution is about “how you fundamentally surround your consumer and execute better than the other guy.”

According to Cahillane, there are four steps to brand execution: connecting with the consumer in both the physical and digital world, creating things for the consumer, having a conversation with the consumer, and making it frictionless for the consumer.

“We have to get it right in that way, and really make sure that we’re having those conversations with our consumers – not at them – and there’s a lot of fun and interesting ways that you can do that,” said Cahillane.

To view Cahillane’s entire presentation, click here.

Cahillane set the tone for an exciting 2018-2019 Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series.

The Miami Business School will host the next Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series event on Monday, September 10, at 6 p.m., featuring Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald.

To register for this event, click here.

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