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Newsroom, OCB Commentary, UST MBC

Corporate Messaging in Every Cookie

JanetandPhil / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

In a recent discussion in my Strategic Writing course, we considered a company called Mondelēz International.  Actually, we started by looking at a snack-sized package of Oreo cookies.  The point of the dialogue was to consider what “corporate” messaging  means to a copywriter in the marketing department asked to develop material geared to sell snack-packs.

Now, you may not have heard of Mondelēz International, but if you took the time to click through on the link above, many of the brands featured in the animation will prove familiar.  And there in the midst is Oreo, a product that still bears the Nabisco logo on the package (which ends up being a brand between other brands). Continue Reading

Newsroom, OCB Commentary, UST MBC

Clients, connections and creativity

KarwoskiIt’s not only the agency world that has clients – if you’re in a marketing communications function within a company, you have internal clients, and that’s a good mentality to have when it comes to producing great work.

A big part of doing great work is making meaningful connections. Connecting with your clients, whether internal or external, to make certain you’re asking the right questions and solving the right problem/challenge.

Great creative work is always rooted in great strategy, which begins with solving the right problem/challenge. The classic example being the railroad industry approaching strategy from a perspective of being in the railroad business, not grasping that they were in fact really in the transportation business. Continue Reading

EveningMBA, Newsroom, OCB Alumni, OCB Commentary, UST MBC

Margaret Murphy ’00 M.B.A. on Clients, Creative and Connections

Admissions Transfer Student Portraits

Evening UST MBA alumna Margaret Murphy, president of OLSON and its subsidiary 1to1, understands the importance of these three C’s of her business. We’ve taken some excerpts from her interview with B. Magazine in Fall 2011 to share here. 

“Our objective is to build and activate brand communities from the masses down to the one-to-one level for our clients,” stated Murphy, reinforcing the company mantra “Connection is all that counts.” The goal is then to tailor the interactions and communications to benefit the consumer, such as offering timely information and special offers most relevant and valued by each individual, which in turn drives business for the client.

“I get a lot of energy from ‘solutioning’ around our clients in a creative way,” remarks Murphy, “whether that’s actual design or just how we creatively solve a client’s problem.” Great creative design and clever messaging will always be a core part of advertising and marketing, but to strategically build and execute a campaign across several channels and platforms simultaneously (print, PR, online, mobile, etc.) requires a “line-blurring agency” according to Murphy. Continue Reading

Newsroom, OCB Commentary, UST MBC

T-shirts and Tattoos

A committed UST fan.

A committed UST fan.

The license plate frame on my car reads “Alumni” at the top and “University of St. Thomas” at the bottom.  The metal looks a bit shabby, since it previously adorned at least two other cars, but the purple letters seem to be surviving.  I’m proud to hold a couple of degrees from UST and own a fair number of items emblazoned with its name and logos.  However, the limit of my brand loyalty falls short of a purple shield tattoo.

It’s fascinating how we manage loyalty to the brands in our lives.  For instance, while I purchase and eat exclusively Skippy® Superchunk peanut butter, there are no t-shirts or other memorabilia in the house to affirm this bias.  Further, this post represents the only public or private admission of this behavior.  So, even though absolutely loyal to the brand in use, I am a pretty crappy customer on the referral side.  My kids don’t even eat the stuff.

Even though we all have some unshakable brand affinities, other brand connections seem to be more chameleon-like.  Personally, the colors change on the alumni front, depending on the company being kept.  When chatting with undergrad friends, the Beaver hat figuratively comes out (Just making sure you don’t think I actually have a rodent for my head.).  Most of the time, I’m a Tommy.  Not a traditional Tommy perhaps, because the diplomas aren’t undergrad, but a card carrying graduate school Tommy.  It helps to believe in the quality of education here, but the affinity also contributes to defining me in the context of the business community, in the same way the Harley-Davidson eagle on my leather vest distinguishes me from a sport-bike rider.  Not good or bad, just decidedly different. Continue Reading

Newsroom, OCB Alumni, UST MBC

Why I Stay Involved as an Alumna

ocbgbabWith an alumni community of more than 17,000, feeling the sense of connection to your graduate program can seem impossible. However, looking back at the countless hours spent in the Keffer Library and the evenings and weekend that were sacrificed to homework there is no denying that once I graduated there was no looking back as I began a new journey and became a graduate business alumna.

Over the past couple of years, I have been in conversations with others who had no idea that the University of St. Thomas offered such a wide variety of graduate programs. I would then take the opportunity to tell my story and explain my satisfaction and enjoyment in the MBC program at the Opus College of Business. Continue Reading

Newsroom, OCB Commentary, UST MBC

Simple tips for networking at the Alphabet Bash


On August 22, the Alphabet Bash will turn the Aria into a temporary Mecca for the movers, shakers and wanna-bes of the Twin Cities message machines. The evening, while formatted as a loosely scripted mix and mingle, takes a tremendous amount of organization and planning, particularly coordinating the efforts of the dozens of associations and sponsors now involved. The “Bash” always promises and delivers great food, a fun atmosphere and, most assuredly, the best networking on the professional marketing communication community calendar.

I’m not just touting the event because the UST Opus College of Business is one of the two primary sponsors. We are engaged because this event brings together local business communication professionals from multiple disciplines on one night. It’s imperative that we are there, and should be for anyone interested in building a network of like-minded professionals – for fun and profit!

For those who don’t feel like they know many people, and worry about meeting new folks, here are a couple of tips. Continue Reading

Environment, Faculty, Local business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, UST MBC

Mankato Kasota Stone Closes – Helped Define the UST Brand

If you’re walking around in downtown Minneapolis it would be hard to miss the St. Thomas campus. Not because we have the biggest, or the tallest building downtown, but because each building has a distinctive look, thanks to their Kasota Limestone exterior. Sadly, it was reported last week in the Mankato Free Press that one of that city’s oldest businesses, Mankato Kasota Stone, “has closed as the recession-driven slowdown in construction hurt the market for local limestone.”

Photo by Mike Ekern.

Photo by Mike Ekern.

Mike Porter, director of the Master of Business Communication program noted that Kasota Limestone “certainly is a major element of the visual brand identity of the university.” He added that, “It facilitates the transfer of our brand to downtown.” True, especially when compared to the mostly metal and glass skyscrapers that make up the minneapolis skyline. Almost every building on the main campus in St. Paul is made with Kasota Limestone. Continue Reading

Entrepreneurship, Newsroom, UST MBC

60 MPH by bike—How about that for a morning commute?


Would you bike to work if you could travel at highway speeds without breaking a sweat? Rich Kronfeld of Golden Valley would, and to do so he created a tricycle “sheathed in a carbon­-fiber pod and powered by a battery and electric motor that promise speeds of 80-90 miles per hour, though Kronfeld says he’s only taken it up to 45 mph.” The pedals turn a generator, rather than the wheels, enabling the faster speeds.

The start-up was profiled in the Star Tribune last week and Mike Porter, a marketing professor who researches entrepreneurship here at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business commented on the company’s prospects for getting additional investors and producing the bike-car-combo.

Newsroom, OCB Commentary, UST MBC

Guerrilla Marketing or Event Hijacking

Al_HikesAZ / / CC BY-NC

This week a pro-gun group informed the media and area law enforcement that its members would be out in force at community events organized by another organization, pushing the limits of the state carry laws.

This is a classic guerrilla marketing and communication tactic – to co-opt the activities or space of others, without permission, to carry out some level of promotion for your own agenda.  Of course, there are degrees of this behavior. It is certainly common, and potentially legal, for a marketer to appear on a public walkway offering product samples. The co-opting begins when that walkway is adjacent or central to a public event, such as the Uptown Art Fair or neighborhood gathering as noted in the article above. When done unobtrusively, such activity is effectively harmless.

On the other end of that spectrum, for a guerrilla group to invade another’s event with the intention of overshadowing the efforts of the actual organizers represents unfair play. Plus, in cases such as the one cited, the invasion has real potential to escalate tensions and impact safety. Since the interlopers have not participated in arranging the event, how can they know whether their activities present real danger or not? They can’t. Continue Reading

Local business, Newsroom, social media, UST MBC

Why get an MBC (or MBA)? Here’s one student’s view.

milanowski porterEarlier this spring, Master of Business Communication student Christina Milanowski was named Minnesota PRSA’s 2012 Young Professional Award winner. She was recently interviewed by Arik Hanson for his “PR Rock Stars” series and discussed why she decided to get her degree, and, what she hopes to achieve as a result:

Pursuing a masters in business communications (technically an MBC) has been one of the most impactful moves I’ve made in my life. The spark you get from sitting in a classroom and collaborating with your classmates (or finishing your homework just in time) is unmatched in the workplace setting. At St. Thomas, MBA and MBC students often share classes, allowing me to learn alongside and from working professionals much different than me – engineers, accountants, HR benefits managers and medical device sales reps. Continue Reading