When Andres Kiger was an MBA student at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, he would use his time walking across the Key Bridge to think about what he wanted to do with his life and what his career might hold.
“I always have had a passion for marketing, and I always have loved iconic brands,” he said, recalling those walks. “And I had this bug to be around the world.”
Kiger (MBA ’95) shared his lessons from more than 20 years in global marketing, including as vice president of Latin America marketing at Converse, with fellow Hoyas on March 30 as part of Georgetown McDonough’s Stanton Distinguished Leaders Series.
Kiger has had the opportunity to see his career aspirations come to fruition through his work with both Converse and Coca-Cola, including leading Coca-Cola’s marketing efforts for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He is the recipient of numerous international marketing awards, including a 2014 Gold Effie for his work with Coca-Cola Brazil.
For Kiger, all iconic brands share certain characteristics, starting with the ability to weave a compelling narrative.
“Brands have to be able to connect, excite, and inspire their audiences,” he said. “A good story always wins.”
He also emphasized the importance of knowing when to listen and when to talk, respecting the company’s past while innovating and moving forward, and having a unique point of view.
Converse, often called the 108-year-old teenager, has staked a claim as a brand that fosters self-expression and creativity, he said.
“There’s an authenticity [about Converse] that is very refreshing,” Kiger said.
Above all, iconic brands listen to, respect, and involve their customers, which Kiger summed up in the Converse statement of beliefs: “Celebrate our audiences. Bring cultures together. Own, don’t rent. Be useful.”
After a conversation with Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean of MBA programs and associate professor of marketing, Kiger answered questions from students and offered his advice for aspiring marketers.
“Dream big,” he said. “At the end of the day, don’t let yourself hold yourself back.”