Industry veteran Brad Todd shares his insights

SMU Ad Club recently welcomed Mr. Brad Todd, Principal at the Richards Group, to campus to share his insights about the advertising industry, and his experience as a Marketing Director at Frito Lay. To a packed room in the newly renovated Advertising co-working space, Mr. Todd has discussed his more than 40 years of experience, working on both the agency and client side around the country and world (Chicago, Japan, and Dallas to name a few places). He has worked for many big brands, including Hallmark, Kimberly-Clark, Cheetos and Doritos.

IMG_4947From the beginning of his career, Brad learned early to work on anything and everything to gain experience and to try and understand things from the consumer perspective. He claims that being proactive is critical to success. However, being able to step back and look at the situation from an outside perspective will give your work a competitive edge and provide value to your client.

Mr. Todd reminded students that advertising is just aspect of the branding process. He recognizes, “It’s an important piece, but small,” and it is important to understand how a company works overall to ensure the marketing contributes to the larger goals of each organization.

Brand transformations are an especially rewarding experience. By reinventing a brand and making it relevant to consumers, advertising helps move a product from a so so in the minds of consumers, to a household name.

Fortunately, Mr. Todd has had multiple experience with brand transformations, including creating the widely known Sun Chips from a relatively underperforming chip named Pronto.

Students had many questions, so Brad gave advice about moving forward in their careers. His top tip was to make sure that you have internships get the experience needed to set you apart. Internships also let you explore different agencies and departments in agencies to find your passion. He also had great advice in how to choose a job. Some points mentioned were:

  1. to look at the distance between your position and the decision maker to ensure you can impact the brand, and
  2. make sure there is room for you to grow in the long run, either within the agency or as a stepping stone for your career.

Importantly new employees must be flexible. Given the speed at which the industry is changing, students must maintain a willingness to learn and an

active curiosity in order to stay relevant.

Moving forward may be scary, but to win in advertising Mr. Todd implores everyone…“Be curious. Be uncomfortable. Jump In.”Brad_Todd_7_7_15

Brad Todd may be contacted via LinkedIn.

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