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62: Kevin Lane Keller always wants to be rigorous and relevant

This is the second installment of Alan’s back-to-school podcast master class in marketing. He’s been providing great insight through his conversations with some of the greatest academic minds in the discipline. Today, his conversation is with Kevin Lane Keller. Keller is the E.B. Osborn professor of marketing at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Considered to be one of the best business school professors today, he’s the author of “Strategic Brand Management,” which is referred to by many as the “branding bible,” and he is co-author of the classic textbook, “Marketing Management.”

Keller’s passion for marketing comes through in many of the observations he makes during the podcast, and two aspects of that passion are empathy and curiosity. Growing up, he developed that empathy, which, for him, boils down to “being able to really understand how other people think.” And his curiosity bleeds through when he talks about marketing itself: “If you love marketing, there’s always something happening that you want to think about.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Consumer psychology, a competitive nature, and delivering value: Keller enumerates three of the things that attracted him to the discipline of marketing. (1:34)
  • “Painting a picture in the minds of consumers about your brand.” (3:13)
  • The role of purpose in building a brand today. (9:20)
  • “Five Things I Know About Marketing” — Keller articulates his views on brands. (13:50)
  • Keller discusses the challenges of brand architecture. (26:30)
  • Keller keeps his eye on “hall of fame” brands: From P&G and AmEx to Google and Amazon to Uber and Warby Parker. (33:50)
  • “The future of marketing is still going to be an art and a science.” (35:59)