by Kristina Gonzalez
Before joining VERTS Mediterranean Grill as the Director of Marketing, Keith Peterson spent 8 years with Red Bull covering direct-to-consumer marketing programs and organizing one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever also known as Felix Baumgartner's jump from the edge of space.
Before this week’s Speaker Series, we wanted to dig deeper into the mind of the branding creative.
Team Austin: When you're stressed out you like to…
Keith Peterson: I’m a runner. Nothing soothes me like a run around Town Lake when it’s 90 degrees and 90% humidity. I like the pain.
TA: Your best ideas have come from...
KP: I don’t think I’ve had a single great idea sitting at my desk at work. That sounds sh*ty but...my desk is the least opportune environment to cultivating those “aha!” moments.
Creative lighting strikes hit when I’m least expecting them. They come during a run or while mowing the lawn. That’s when my brain is most susceptible to exploratory thought and I am most creative.
TA: Favorite book?
KP: I like to read marketing books, but there is a danger with constantly chasing other people's wisdom. You have to remember that people who write books about marketing are marketing to you too.
Be confident with your own intuition, your own judgement, and your own decisions.
TA: How should people seek out a mentor? Do you feel it’s important for professional growth?
KP: I have never had a mentor – I’m a bit of a loner – but that has not prevented me from excelling. I tend to borrow traits or tactics from people around me. For example, a former colleague at Red Bull had a particular way he ended presentations and sometimes I borrow it to improve my process.
TA: People say to "pick one thing and do it well" - What is your opinion on that philosophy?
KP: I would rewrite this to say, “pick one thing to believe in and do everything to support that belief.”
When you believe one idea, your energy, time and money should center around that core belief.
Elon Musk believes in changing how we travel and Mark Zuckerberg believes in changing how we communicate. Whether you are an owner of a food truck or CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you need a North Star.
TA: Is there an aspect of your job you like the least, but you know it's the most important?
KP: The marketing activity I enjoy the least is research. I love coming up with big ideas and executing them, but with research there’s always a voice in my head I have to mute that’s screaming, “LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED ALREADY!”
However, research is the bedrock for project planning and determines if the idea can be supported and how the execution can be optimized.
This is why I like talking about food and eating, but I don’t enjoy grocery shopping and cooking. That feels like research.
TA: #1 thing people have to absolutely remember with branding is...
KP: Don’t tell people where you’re going to go, just take them there.
People don’t care what your product is designed to do. They care if it improves their life and they’ll be the judge of that, regardless of what you tell them.
So just shut up already and deliver an amazing experience that gets people talking.
Even though he’s worked for a big brand like Red Bull and now for VERTS, Keith Peterson is proud to share with Team Austin how you don’t need a huge marketing budget to make an impact...
Just a bit of strategy and creativity.