Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Clemson University hosts fifth annual Clemson Brand Innovation Summit


The recent Clemson Brand Innovation Summit, organized and hosted by Clemson University students and held at the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business, was truly a transformative experience for students, staff and attendees alike. The summit, presented by The Erwin Center for Brand Communications in collaboration with Clemson University Marketing & Communications, provided students with a unique opportunity to engage with industry leaders who offered a deep dive into the dynamic realm of brand communications.

The summit featured a star-studded lineup of keynote speakers. Here are just a few of the standout presenters:

Chris Gabaldon, SVP, Luxury Brands, Marriott International: Chris’s insights on building unforgettable brand experiences and engaging communities were nothing short of inspiring. It was a masterclass for students to create meaningful brand interactions that resonate with consumers.

Kevin Purcer, Executive Director, Customer Digital Experience, Chick-fil-A: Kevin brought his wealth of knowledge on customer digital experience to the forefront. He provided students with valuable insights into crafting customer-centric strategies in the digital age.

John Lee, Chief Data Officer, NBCUniversal: John’s discussion on data-driven marketing illuminated the crucial role of data in shaping modern brand strategies. His insights into leveraging data for effective brand communication resonated with students.

Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing & PR Officer, Ally Bank: Andrea brought her expertise to the summit with an inspiring discussion on supporting female athletes in media. Her insights were truly remarkable and added a valuable dimension to the event. Students gained valuable perspectives on promoting diversity and inclusivity in the sports industry.

Scott Tannen, Founder & CEO, Boll & Branch: Scott’s presentation highlighted the journey of building a brand with a strong focus on ethics and sustainability. Students gained valuable insights into the intersection of business and social responsibility, showcasing how companies like Boll & Branch are making their mark in the market while adhering to ethical principles.

Leslie Sims, Chief Brand Officer, Impossible Foods: Leslie shared insightful perspectives on the Impossible Foods brand and its new position in the market. Her discussion shed light on the company’s innovative strategies and its role in the evolving landscape of food and sustainability.

Michael Stich, Partner, CourtAvenue Agency: Michael’s knowledge share was a glimpse into agency life and the creative world of brand communications.

The speakers listed are just a glimpse into the full lineup of industry powerhouses in the field of marketing and communications. These experts brought their wealth of experience and expertise to the summit, enriching the student experience and inspiring the next generation of brand communication professionals. The Clemson Brand Innovation Summit served as a bridge between students and industry luminaries, allowing students to witness firsthand the innovation, creativity, and strategic thinking required in the field of brand communications.

“I greatly appreciated the diversity among the speakers. We had the privilege of hearing from individuals at the outset of their careers, as well as seasoned professionals with decades of experience. This wide range of perspectives proved invaluable to our learning experience.” – Carly Rion, Senior Clemson University Student

This event is a testament to Clemson University’s commitment to preparing students for success in the dynamic world of brand communications, ensuring they are equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to excel in a competitive global marketplace.

About the Erwin Center for Brand Communications:

Clemson University’s Erwin Center for Brand Communications is a practitioner-based educational program for future brand communications professionals. The program now offers a Brand Communications minor in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business in partnership with the Graphic Communications department.

The Center’s hallmark is its curriculum model, a “teaching hospital” that combines traditional academic coursework with hands-on instruction from current industry professionals. The result is a program that provides students with personal experiences and interactive access to the tools that will allow them to step straight from the classroom into a client or agency brand team – and to be the job candidate who can hit the ground running on day one.

At The Erwin Center, students learn by doing, in disciplines ranging from advertising, marketing and creative development to research, strategy, media and analytics.

Successful industry practitioners teach using real-world, real-time experiences, and students learn by applying communications principles to real-life client and agency challenges.

By delivering a dynamic, evolving and experiential learning environment where professional and collegiate collaboration is encouraged, The Erwin Center ensures that graduates are equipped to enter today’s global workforce as thoughtful, cutting-edge marketers prepared and excited to contribute their creativity and resourcefulness in a wide variety of communications fields.

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