Matthew Quint is the Director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School. He is also the producer and host of The Center's prestigious BRITE Conference. Matthew sits down with Chris Snyder to discuss modern branding as well as the intersection of academia and the ever-expanding business world.
This episode is sponsored by Juhll. They are a full service digital marketing consultancy that has over 20 years of experience helping your business grow sales online. They've helped most of their clients grow more than 50% year over year by helping them meet their digital marketing goals.
Juhll Digital Agency works with companies who are doing $50 million in top line revenue that have a marketing budget of $2 million. They build your company from the ground up and they also help you in creating a strategy that will work best for your team.
"At its broadest, a brand is anything that influences the relationship between an organization and its stakeholders." - Matthew Quint
"I feel like, you know, running a business is all about making mistakes. You just hope you don't make big ones." - Matthew Quint
"Getting a degree provides accreditation; provides a network. It provides an in-person experience. It provides people to talk with them, bounce ideas at. That's one of the key things. I mean, students often can learn sometimes as much from each other." - Matthew Quint
Chris Snyder [00:00:43] Hello, everyone, Chris Snyder here, host of the Snyder Showdown, president at Juhll Agency, and founder of FinTech Startup Banks.com. As you know, on the show, we take a no B.S. approach to business success and failure told through the stories of the top executives who have lived them. Join us today as we get unfiltered backstories behind successful brands. Today, the show is brought to you by Banks.com, a global financial services marketplace. Banks dot com helps the world discover and connect with financial brands facilitating financial connections that last a lifetime. If you a consumer shopping for financial products and services, or you are a financial institution looking to extend your brand head on over to banks dot com to learn more. OK, on the show today, we're joined by Matthew Quint. He is the director for The Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School. He is also the producer and host of the center's prestigious BRITE Conference. Matthew supported the initial development of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, which provides research to support sustainable policies and investment. Prior to moving to New York City, Matthew was the assistant counselor of nuclear science and technology at the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C. Matthew is here today to discuss how Columbia Business School is bridging the gap between the theory and the real-world implementation of branding. Welcome, Matthew.
Matthew Quint [00:02:22] Great to be here, Chris. Looking forward to the conversation.
Chris Snyder [00:02:24] So am I. I'm so glad to have you. As you know, Matt, the beginning of the show, we always like to give our audience a quick nugget about your upbringing. So can you tell us about where you grew up and how you got to where you are today?
Matthew Quint [00:02:37] Absolutely, Chris. I am a a Long Island boy. So I grew up, you know, 60 miles outside of New York City, a town called Port Jefferson. So New York City was my backyard, but I have a bit of that feel. And growing up in, you know, nice suburban neighborhood. Really lucky. Great place to grow up. And then went ended up at Cornell for my undergraduate degree, which is sort of a family tradition. My grandfather was a professor there of art and architecture. So that's where my mom grew up and looked at a few places. But Cornell had so much to offer. I was it was a great place to go.
Chris Snyder [00:03:23] But you did not do art in architecture like your grandfather, right?
Matthew Quint [00:03:28] Did not. I am. And again, a little bit of my upbringing. So my mom continued to do art history and work like that. My dad was a computer programmer from taking a class at M.I.T. in the 50s. So we are talking punch cards, machine, you know, machines the size of warehouses kind of thing. So early computer era. o I have that, you know, problem-solving slash creative mix in me. And I'd say I. So I sort of, you know, follow through. It's almost difficult, you know, moving forward of your career, what you do when you've got that. Again, I think left side, there's all this research, left side, right side brain actually isn't split like quite the same way people talk about it from a biological standpoint. But those two little halves merging together. And so when I went to Cornell, I took basically the majors, which let me take as many other types of classes that I like. So I ended up with, they call it government at Cornell, but poli-sci or political science is what almost every other school calls it. And a history degree. So dual major. But I also took psychology classes, classes, etc.. So that did you.
Chris Snyder [00:04:49] So so I was a poli sci in history. Minor. I did not go to Cornell. No way. Those guys had me there. But the thing I found interesting about poly sci is it's because I could easily write like ten or twelve-page papers in an hour. And if you sat me down to do a math problem, I get so bored like I didn't want to do it anymore. And history just kind of came with the bow along with psychology in a bunch of other stuff. But what led you to poli-sci? What did you think you were gonna do with that degree when you got out? Because you don't become a politician just because you took political science. Right.
Matthew Quint [00:05:28] Yeah, well, I think it goes back to this. I took the degree, I took the major, which had the basically the least amount of requirements so that I could get as much of a quote-unquote, liberal arts degree as you could. So I could take theater. I could take psychology. I could take I took history classes for fun. And I had one of those moments where I committed to being more of a real student. Only in my junior year and my poli-sci advisor, who I had not really met with much, you know, and choosing it as my major as a sophomore railed into me like I'd wasted all this time and I was wasting his time and how was I not committed already, et cetera, et cetera. So I just went right back and was like, well, I'm done actually a bunch of poly sci. But what other classes have I taken that get me close to another major so maybe I can find it and find a mentor in another department. And so I was where I got this dual major or I move to history or I was close enough there that I was able to sort of do both. But yeah, it was a mix and it's sort of like yours. You know, there's the precision of something like math. The analytical side. There is a right answer. Right. And then there's the flow of literature or political science in many ways or history or these others where there's you know, it's there's an argument to be made and supporting facts and evidence. But there's not necessarily a right answer. And as we get into this. Yes. Yeah. I think even, you know, the world is too caught up in many ways in right or wrong or right answer or not especially, we talk with brands or consumer behavior or all these things. Right. A lot of the stuff we talk about is like, you know. Fifty-five percent of people think this and forty-five percent think that. So becomes a majority of people think this. Right. I go back to, you know, NFL and advertisers on the NFL for Super Bowl advertising, which for decades were heavily male-dominated style ads. Not recognizing that forty-five percent of the audience watching the Super Bowl were women. And so there was a huge gap in who you were actually reaching relative to the tone and style of the ads that were made. Right. Because of a small difference which gets equated into some poller difference rather than, you know, these nuanced differences.
Chris Snyder [00:07:51] So, yeah, that's interesting. If I feel like just because you can measure things in probably over the last 20 years, we've become so code engineering and data focus, we may have we may have lost ourselves a little bit in that mess. Right.
Matthew Quint [00:08:12] There's this you know, the art and science of marketing is a phrase that's come up. e of the first people I heard use it years back was Jonathan Becker, who is now president of the San Jose Sharks. At the time, he was Chief Marketing Officer of SCDP, was one of the organizations that we worked with at The Brand Center. You'll hear me call it that, as we're here on the podcast Center on Global Brand Leadership, but Brand Center for short. And he used that phrase and others have as well. And I think that is it's right. It's the same thing I'm talking about. People get let the pendulum swing into. It's all about analytics. And you get others then who swing the pendulum and say we're all wrong. Gut instinct or, you know, understanding or soft elements or what's import creativity isn't an analytical efforts. And of course, that's true. But the reality is it's a blend. There's no analytics that should inform, right? It's all true. That's it.
Chris Snyder [00:09:08] That's a great point. So you go to Cornell, you've got an Ivy League degree. You're a smart guy. Your grandfather's smart. Your mother's bar. Your dad is smart. And you get a Palestine history degree. Did you want to go into law? Like, wow. Like, how does that work? What did you do after school?
Matthew Quint [00:09:27] That's so funny because I don't think we prepped this. Or maybe you gave a deeper look in the background when we spoke a little earlier. But yes, I was undecided. I graduated in'93, to date myself a little bit. And at the time, the job market, well, isn't as tough as obviously we're seeing now. But it was another dip in the economy. Jobs were hard to come by. A buddy of mine and I had both been to D.C. He had done. Cornell and Washington program there for a semester. And I had spent a week there as a college student. Sara is a high school student in like week-long intensive program there. And so we both said, like, we don't know exactly what we want to do, but there's always jobs available in Washington, D.C. There's so much turnover. He had an economics degree. I had my poly science history will find jobs. And we ended up both in that difficult time applying to law firms, knowing that that was a place you could at least, you know, begin to pay the rent. So, yeah, my. And I thought about it. It is a mix of this, you know, art and sciences. We're talking about this analytical side, this precision, this history was a lot about history and precedent and all those kind of things and arguments and making an argument which I did all enjoy doing. And so my first gig, after waiting tables for three months, the summer I arrived was which was great. By the way, I love this. One of my favorite jobs ever, actually, was to end up working at a firm at the time called Shop Pitmen Pots and Trowbridge, as you know, that project co-ordinator and then legal assistant after a, you know, nine months of getting that little mini promotion to legal assistant level. And that was an interesting place. I saw I saw enough there to make me decide death that I definitely didn't want to go into law.
Chris Snyder [00:11:16] Criminal law, business law. Kind of went along with this.
Matthew Quint [00:11:20] The firm practiced everything. I ended up in a specific case involving Westinghouse big, you know, manufacturers and Dukane Light company Pittsburgh and outlying Pennsylvania area power company involving a component of a nuclear power reactor called a nuclear steam generator. And it was - so there were a range of lawsuits around this. My firm, it kind of uncovered what was a clear design flaw. And, yeah, one of these things you learn was, you know. So I ended up in a civil litigation federal trial in Pittsburgh and, you know, sitting there with the, you know, with the judge who slept during the case periods and attorneys being backhanded and all of that. I mean, it was. And then, of course, many of my peers who were, you know, who were there, who many of them who were passionate and really wanted to do law, but enough on the other side who were, you know, a little like me. You know what I want to do? I feel like I need to jump into something that's going to get a career started, going to, you know, make a good living at and like law is a thing you can do for that. And so being around enough people that were like me, there were about 20 or so of us who were sort of recent grads in this program co-ordinator legal assistance program. And realization was, you know, there's enough people clearly going to law school who are passionate about it. Whenever I decide to go back to graduate school, I want to do something I'm passionate about. And so so I. So the law kind of phased out as something.
Chris Snyder [00:13:04] You know, by the way, I think what you just said is there might have may or may not have been someone that got backhanded back in the 90s. But it's it feels like, you know, when you're in litigation and you're participating, there's some heated, you know, environments which actually you made a great point. Now I understand how you became the assistant counselor of nuclear science and technology. But here's the confusing part at the embassy of Australia in Washington, DC. All right. You gotta unpack that for me. For me, you gotta unpack that.
Matthew Quint [00:13:43] Is that so? Right. It might. I had that moment where the case went to trial in the fall of 94. And so '95 - wanted to do something else. You know, I don't haven't built a large network yet. Right. As a 23-year-old or whatever in D.C., I'm starting to send my resume out to a couple of people. I know we're connected, but I'm also looking at The Washington Post print, Washington Post classified ads. What's in there? I'm circling it with my marker. And sure enough, one of the things that posted there was a position as the assistant counselor, nuclear science and technology at the Australian embassy. And in a way, you're kind of eyes bugout as everyone's does it like how fascinating that seems like it might be. That was my exact reaction to it. And so put in the application had that, you know, not at the background of knowing a bit about the issues from both some nonproliferation classes that I took back at Cornell, as well as, of course, working as a legal system on this case, that. That I got the gig, got hired, and essentially...so, you know all countries have embassies abroad. One of the things you learn when you're at an embassy is actually there's a requirement to hire a certain percentage of locally engaged staff. So every embassy around the world has to hire locals from that country to work in the embassy. Now, sometimes they're very simple job seekers. No requirement. What they do so they can come and do any really type of job. But what you find in. You know, established countries with embassies and other established companies, countries. They will often hire people with some sort of a policy background of some kind or analysis background or that kind of thing to sort of be that local knowledge center for the posted officers who are coming from overseas. So the position I had was essentially that sort of, you know, U.S. kid relatively at that point, but who had a degree from a good institution in political science in history, who understood our system of government in a way that folks from Australia were coming over to have these two to three year posted positions and might not be as familiar with. So in the end, I was there for about a decade and I trained three bosses working part-time there.
Chris Snyder [00:16:23] Wow. So did you get to, I mean, this is kind of a dumb question, but I'm assuming you went to Australia.
Matthew Quint [00:16:31] No, Chris. I know. Exactly.
Chris Snyder [00:16:35] Oh, God, you didn't. You mean you didn't make Crocodile Dundee while you were the assistant counselor at the embassy of Australia?
Matthew Quint [00:16:43] No. That would have been awesome. That would've been awesome.
Chris Snyder [00:16:46] You're busy working, mate.
Matthew Quint [00:16:49] Yeah. Well, you know, of course, my role was to be the policy expert of the U.S. system and sort of each time. And it would have been, you know, an expensive effort for them to fly me back and spend time in Australia. And each time I was gonna make a push for that. I was in a, I think, maybe I want to look for a different career and had those moments a couple of times in the moment that I was going to push to go back as like, you know what? I think I'm in a job hunt and then for a family reason initially and then for September eleventh, right when my now wife and I were contemplating moving to New York, it put a hold on those. I was like in that moment of do I push to have them spend, you know, several tens of thousands of dollars? Most likely really to send me back to Australia. But I wouldn't do that. Just my own conscious wouldn't have done that without a commitment to then learn more and more about the organization, to then give it more value in the role I had in Washington back when I got back to the States. So each of those times I was sort of in I think I mean, I look for a new job and I look to move to New York. And then something happened that kept me at the job there for a while.
Chris Snyder [00:17:59] So you worked? You were, yeah. You had a really good career until you decided to go back to Columbia. We're not back to Columbia. But I guess you decided to go to Columbia to get your M.S. in strategic communications. Why did you decide to do that? Why did you choose Columbia?
Matthew Quint [00:18:18] So the Columbia choice was for a job first. So the the the the what's now called the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. At the time, it was called the Program on International Investment, the Columbia Program on our National Investment. At the time it had just started. I was sort of career deciding on a different career. Nuclear science, as you can imagine, is a very has a very polarizing, controversial elements in its I have my own. I don't think we'll dive down that rabbit hole, but I have my own, you know, ups and downs of the value of what we've done, just, you know, in splitting the atom and the benefits it could have and the challenges it has. So I wanted something a little different. And I was looking at jobs. Friends of mine ran and not so my little my sort of personal little side pashing kind of stuff is has been theater, a little bit theater music. Friends of mine ran an off off-Broadway theater in New York I got involved in that is sure to do a little stage. Managing wasn't much of a paid gig. I was interning with someone in the theater worlds on the general manager side of C, trying to decide what to do and realized that universities offered half time roles that had health benefits. I was like, Oh, that's an interesting thing. I can explore this creative theater side, which doesn't pay well and may never lead to a career, but still have something that gives me a bit of a paycheck and also pays for, you know, health insurance and benefits and stuff. So I was hunching around looking for positions and saw one again at sort of this policy side thing. It was more an admin position, was a two-person team at the time that my the head of it who started it was a guy named Karl Sauvant who was brought in by Jeff Sachs, who is heading the Earth Institute at Columbia at the time, and had created it and headed it for 15 years or so. And he had basically instituted with the dean of the law school at the time to create this new program looking at. Particularly an area called Foreign Direct Investment, which is this ownership share of an organization abroad. So a lot of time it's like mergers and acquisitions as we talk about as ABN Beth. Right. Is an FDI scenario where you've got a corporate headquarters in one country that buys another firm in another country and then is running that business in another country. And that was sort of Karl's background it at the U.N. you'd been at the U.N. and so I was, you know, helping do a lot of administrative stuff, building that with him, you know, supporting in all areas a small little two-person team. Most of my career has been these little two-person, three-person teams, and I realized he'd get a free degree while I was there.
Chris Snyder [00:21:15] Is that how that works? If if a brand name university like Columbia finds someone like at the time was your boss and he says, hey, I'm really good at all this stuff. There's a school like Columbia say, OK, we're gonna fire this thing up with a few people and then just grow it organically. Like, how does that work? Is that common?
Matthew Quint [00:21:36] There are definitely different ways that centers build up. I mean, mostly they're driven by some faculty member dean level potentially, or, you know, like Jeff was, you know, with a passion area. And sometimes they have it'll be maybe it'll be a dean looking to do something else so that the Center on Global Leadership was started in 1999 as an example where the dean of this school is a time IRA Feldberg sort of felt the school needed to be a little more entrepreneurial and tap specific faculty. He knew that had sort of that foot in both the peer review academic worlds, but also did stuff with companies, did lectures, wrote, you know, more trade books, kind of paperbacks that, you know, that are probably on your shelf, Chris. Right. You know, and myself and such and other executives. So he tapped so my, our faculty director who started The Center, as is Bernd Schmitt. So he kind of tapped Schmitt, is how you'll hear me phrase him. When I started at The Center, that was that he was going by sort of "meet Schmitt," creating his brand as Schmitt. That stuck with me, even though he now goes by Bernd more. And I kind of dropped that. But that's just ingrained in my head. So he, you know, kind of tapped Bernd, who just put out a book called Experience a Marketing and said like, hey, I'd like you to be interested. Let's reach out to some alumni to get a little funding to get some staff member get started and start doing thinking like that. So things though, that center was the same. Jeff Sachs worked with Karl Sauvant at U.N. On The Millennium Cities projects and sort of Karl, you know, it's come into retirement from his U.N. career. And I think Jeff was like, hey, I feel like there's this need to create a legal, better international legal. Procedures to help support corporate investment in more sustainable growth in emerging economies in the world. And I need this sort of thought institute at Columbia to do that. Would you, Karl, would you come and help get this thing started? And so, you know, it's just so so I'm working with him, you know, ahead. I'm working for a guy who had just left the U.N. with 75 staff members heading a division at the U.N. with 75 staff members to me half time. So he was a very driven individual, as you'd expect, says people like that are. So it was. It was an eye-opening experience moving from the Australian embassy. And not that I didn't work hard there. But as you you know, that generalization of the Australian culture is not is a true generalization. They are a laid back culture. And I moved to, you know, a super driven former U.N. division director with 75 staff members, to me half time. And it was a necessary, in many ways, a great kick in the pants to move in and have this new drive pushing on me in a way that I hadn't had, especially having moved to New York, where there is a whole different expectation of, you know, even in non-profits like, you know, like a university, like just a different expectation that the kind of workload and the hustle you need to go through.
Chris Snyder [00:25:02] So, yeah, we need that. More people need that. You've got to get kicked around a little. So when you look back, it felt while you were telling me that I really felt like you appreciated that pain and we need that sometimes. You do. I mean, look, you just said you went there for health insurance, basically in the theater. Well, it doesn't pay. Well, I'm a smart guy. I'm a little, I don't want to do this. And I needed some health insurance. And here you are, kick your ass kicked by some guy from the U.N. that's been like a baller for 30 years. Probably gone. Be doing Matt. Get your shit together. Right. So.
Matthew Quint [00:25:39] Oh, it wasn't me, per se. He just a driven individual that my first. And again, I can't get to the value of Karl, not, you know. All good. It was tough at times. Was it changed for me with. It was a bit of a bird, you know, it was bird. It wasn't easy. But for the conference is a pickup for us. We ran his former Chief of Staff at the UN. It would sort of take it, not a more leadership role at the division. There was one of the presenters at the conference and we'd been emailing back and forth and we met each with my head. And the first words out of his mouth were, I know how you feel, Matt. So, you know, not nice to meet you, Matt. Not even out, like, literally the first words. But he got, you know, people like that - they get things. They get things done. It's not my personality, per se. You know, I have a small team. The Center on Global Brand Leadership that's bounced around between, you know, me and one other administrator to two and a half people at times, depending on the projects we're doing and the funding that's coming in and that kind of stuff. But, you know, it worked. It was it's actually that a necessary pain.
Chris Snyder [00:26:57] Yeah. So let's talk about The Center for a minute. I'll call it The Center as if I worked there. You gave me permission to do that earlier, though. So what do you guys do? It sounds like you bring, you know, really smart, you know, the philosophical, smart people together with executives. What do you unpack this a little bit? Talk about the BRITE Conference and really tell us in your own words what you guys are trying to accomplish. Like what do you do?
Matthew Quint [00:27:25] Yeah, the one-sentence where I usually talk about it is we create, gather, and share knowledge on what it takes to build and maintain a strong brand.
Chris Snyder [00:27:35] Okay, I love that. So now I'm going to say what is Brand? Because that seems really fuzzy. That seems like a really fuzzy thing, but I'm sure the smart people are going to define that and figure out how to measure it. Right. So what is brand to The Center?
Matthew Quint [00:27:55] Yeah, and it's interesting you bring that up, because it's gotten. I've been there now a little over a decade. And when I started, it was a pretty amorphous term, used in lots of different ways. Generally, when I started at the center, most folks thought of Brand at that time under what I would call brand identity. So under the idea of it's about your logo, your look, your image, your communications, some maybe your marketing tactics, but maybe Brand does even separate brand. You know, Brand is kind of the image thing and marketing is sort of the action execution kind of thing that was sort of, you know, up up until a decade ago, certainly more of the way that people thought of that term, the way the center has thought about it, which dates back to, you know, Schmitt writing this book that came out in '99 called Experiential Marketing was about experience. Right. Which is still a buzzword today. Chris will probably get into that. What are executives, brand marketers, CEO? I mean, everyone today talking about experience. This was something that Schmitt was both working on with companies as a consultant and running research on, you know, peer review style research on different things back in the 90s, wrote this book. It came out around the time Gillmor implying that Keall More Umpired book came out, the experience economy. Few more people know that. I think they were they were, you know, consultant brand guys themselves. So they pushed the brand of that book a little more in those days. But Schmitt was sort of that academic kind of experience, Gould wrote back then. And so that was the model of what brand really meant and the start of The Center, which was, you know, experiences which I talk about now is anything that. At its broadest, a brand is anything that influences the relationship between an organization and its stakeholders. So we can do marketing. Communications is a key point of that because a lot of our moments with brands and brand identity are. I walk across something on the aisle or I see an ad for it. Right. Not out of all the brands out there. The number that we use relative to the number that we come across is much smaller. That ratio is, you know, way less on the used versus come across. So for a lot of people, the brand is mostly a marketing communications thing. They haven't really lived it or use the brands. They don't know the depth of that deeper stakeholder experience someone has when they're a user or a brand. But when you get to that level, you know, whereas fascinated by things like supply chain and operations or technology and innovation in terms of what is important, to build a strong brand as something that's a little more in the purview specifically of marketing communications. And of course, a lot of this is a lot of the discussion of the business world over the last decade of which organizations are beginning to, you know, been slowly cracking the nut on it is breaking down silos. Right. Really? What a brand studding what a brand is to me is a lot about breaking down the silos of an organization so that every element of an organization is communicating with each other, sharing knowledge with each other, working with each other. Right. When I started at the brand center, the classic thing with marketers was, you know, product development and R&D. Like they come up with ideas and they build something and then they dump it on us and say, sell it. For a marketer, it was like, well, I mean, customers don't want it right. It's the case. Or maybe they hit a jam. And this will be the easiest thing in the world to sell or we need to work with it and we'll build and grow. Right. And so, you know, that sort of thinking about brand is this silo breakdown, which is now how a lot of people talk about brand, including see, you know, when I started hearing the word brand out of a CEO was rare. And if it was it was generally about identity kind of things.
Chris Snyder [00:32:00] Finance and sales is really what it used to be. And mostly sales right at the moment. Some of the most successful companies out there, Microsoft, Salesforce, these were, you know, legendary sales. Oracle, you know, Larry Ellison's crowds are legendary sales groups and they're well managed financially. So this brand, you've actually. So now if you talk to any growth marketing team or any startup or any venture-backed company, kind of gone are the days where you spend a year and a half in product development into your point dumping on us. The expectations now are if you don't come to the table with an MVP that has some users and has a little bit of traction and you to work. Right. So. In your experience, you guys work with a lot of large brands, just in general, maybe you work with a lot of startups to maybe you can comment on that. But how do you see companies that the size and scale that you work with actually embracing how you guys are defining brand and making this an integrative process?
Matthew Quint [00:33:09] Yeah, I think it's you know, it's levels. With different like...the classic term in academia is: it depends.
Chris Snyder [00:33:20] Well, wait a second. We're supposed to be practical.
Matthew Quint [00:33:24] It's one of the things we taught. Right. It's this it's one of the big differences, which I know is, you know, something we were likely get into of that like what is the business world or as the academic world. Right. And one of these big differences is the business world has to deal with a lot of like you go, you run with things and you have to be often, you know, decisive in what you're doing and run with it. And, you know, hope, as I was just listening to a great year, do some great stuff - there's tons of content all over the map at Columbia. There's a podcast today with the thing which your viewers may be interested in looking at the archives on our YouTube channel called Leading Through Crisis. Now, the great webinars we've been doing with business leaders, you know, we. There was one today that I was listening to earlier with Beth Ford, who was an alum of the school and CEO of Land O'Lakes. And Douglas Baker was the chairman and CEO of Ecolab, which does, you know, energy and hygiene and foodservice products globally. And he was like, you know, I feel like Douglas Baker from Ecolab said, you know, every business leader and stuff. I feel like, you know, running a business is all about making mistakes. You just hope you don't make big ones. Yah. And I think the difference in academia is right. It's a lot about precision. The peer-review process is a lot about taking out confounding factors, spending the time to make sure that the effects and your understanding, and your ability to look at that hypothesis and prove or disprove it. Obviously, most OF the stuff that's published is proving a hypothesis. We don't read that disproved hypotheses in academia because they don't make it to publication. For the most part, there's some exceptions on some big issue is really good things. But, you know, it's got to be precise. No confounding factors I've got. You know, as a company, for example, that did getting back into this, like, what are companies doing? I think they're super. There are companies that are just as ahead of the curve. And, you know, I've even watched it in, you know, we've done in our program. So Schmitt teaches a class called Managing Brands. It's sort of the core brand course at the business school for four. MBA is an executive MBA. And, you know, over the 10 years, the sharpness that the students have about what it means to build a brand is like light years ahead of what it was when I was first sitting in on his class and taking it back in 2009. Right.
Chris Snyder [00:36:02] Because you have distribution now. Right. You don't have to be a centralized unit that's monopolized all the talent in one spot, all law inside of four walls and a building under the Coke, monicker order, the Westinghouse monicker. You monopolize all this talent and then you put them all in there. The new one can come in these doors and understand how you guys are distributing your brand or delivering your products or building your products. And now it's a fucking free for all like hits. You can build your brand on Facebook. You can build your brand on LinkedIn. You can build your brand on Twitter. You can build your brand via e-mail. We can do podcasts and build your brand like it's an absolute free for all.
Matthew Quint [00:36:44] Right. That's I talk about that often when I am maybe a keynote speaker or moderator at public events, you know, business events, those kind of things. Right. One of my stage setting things because that's often the role. Right. The academic comes in and you're there to kind of set the overall stage in whatever industry or area or issue the overall conference is about. And I know one of the things I talk about is exactly this. Like in the last 20 years, the dramatic changes have been the means of both production and distribution have largely disappeared. I mean, that's that strong. Obviously, we're going to spend like we're doing a podcast here, takes a little money still to put together even this podcast, even though we're just sort of chatting on, you know, chatting on the phone together. The modern version of the phone. And that's allowed the ability for new brands to pop up. I mean, you see that. You see the, you know, the arcs of, you know, startups like that used to take at least a decade from starting, let's say, you know, Snapple as an example and. Right. Started in 83 like they got the ten million dollars of revenue in the early 90s, like over from eighty 83 to the early 90s, it took them to get to ten million dollars of revenue. Well, you've got brands that come to. Yeah. Which was huge at the time. Right. Which led to a whole. I make it totally that case. A public. Right. Well exactly. Yeah. And then they got acquired and all this kind of right. And there's a hole there. I mean the Snapple case study of being bought by Quaker is a very fast is one of my favorite brand cases, even though it's old at this point. The way that it integrates all elements of rich stakeholder relationships is sort of the perfect element of understanding what a brand is. But again, it went from, you know, took 10 years to get to 10 million dollars of revenue annually, whereas we see brands now in two years are getting to 10. Some in two years are getting to 50 or 100.
Chris Snyder [00:38:48] Look at Dollar Shave Club, right? I mean, those guys, what did they get bought? A billion or some crazy number. They built that company in like three or four years, I think.
Matthew Quint [00:38:59] Yeah, it's. And again, that night, I mean, here's there's a great one of them. But another thing for your audience, if they're interested in another podcast that we help support a little bit at the brand center is done by a guy named Mike O'Toole is president of an agency called PJ at a Boston. And he has he crafted a podcast called The Unconventional. And it's stories about unconventional marketing generally. And it's a mix. He interviews a mix of big brand players and small players. And one of the very first episodes they did was with the founder of Dollar Shave Club. And he talks about it and he talks about it. He gives actually very interesting thing. And all we talk about the means of production. Distribution is cheap. Does doesn't mean you don't need to game the system a little bit and put some budget in Nike to that door. That first video he did that sort of launched them, the YouTube video, you know, on that podcast he paid, you know, I mean, a lot of these things we think of as organic or not. A lot of these great stories we think of, there are a lot of ingredients that go into it. Some of it is finance. Some of it's smart, financial, good thinking. Some of it's you know, you do what you do. And you know, he was a credit to him for being open and honest about the fact that he paid for about 10000 views of that video to occur on YouTube. So we get some SVO so that people will begin to see it and it could get the attention it deserved, you know, but it needed that. I think, you know, like, you know, a lot of the I we tend to be more strategy side up and say we're big picture, we're in academia. The tactical stuff is what the businesses have to deal with on an everyday basis. And we are not necessarily as experts in that.
Chris Snyder [00:40:40] Let's talk about that. Actually, what is the benefit of having. There we go. What is the benefit of having Accademia linked to all this? Call it corporate America or some execution-driven arm that's held accountable for a number. Why would I want Accademia involved in my business in this capacity? What are the benefits?
Matthew Quint [00:41:10] One of the things that we do or ways I think about what we do at the brand center is largely right. It's curation. I mean, I think of myself as a professional curator. It's bringing together so some of it is just bringing together smart thinkers wherever they come from academia or business or writers and journalists or wherever. Right. Any search. Right. Right. So there's some of it's like just bringing those voices together is the key thing. Right. And then and sometimes there's great, you know, business practitioner-oriented research. The difference. And again, some of that can be the difference in that. And we execute some of that. I mentioned SJP before. Another organization, AMIA, that we've worked with. So, you know, we help support some of the peer-reviewed works that our faculty do, which is this, you know, very sharp question, you know, hypothesis-driven, looking at it, taking out confounding factors. So, like, if we know if we're gonna we're on an ABC study, you know, and A/B test on something. And you're in academia like you, you're very careful that if I am testing whether a text copy of something works good, I am only showing the same image every time I show this. And then the text modifies and the text modifies in a very specific, limited way. So if I'm going to say a hedonistic approach is different from a functional approach. I need to change very few words. Have the phrasing be almost exactly the same length, etc. because if I'm like, oh, that, you know, whereas a company might do something where they're like they're hedonistic, the approach is quite different from their functional approach in the way they do it. You're like, well, they can't compare really apples to apples because one is an apple on, one is an orange one. Léger, it looks so different. And this one is this a what is the factor that's making consumer like this one better or not? Is it it it's hedonistic or is it that it's shorter? Or is it that the image you used has more red and that's more of your customer base? And the blue one, the fictional. So what academics often are better at is like thinking about the right questions, being much more precise in the the the implications of the data that you're getting. Right. And I do that, you know, when I live when we do work with our, you know, our partners on this kind of stuff, we usually we build the survey in partnership with who are working outside their interests to be where, you know, everything we do is trying to share and grow knowledge. Both of us are looking to grow knowledge. But I have certainly, you know, worked with firms or talked with firms or had people say, hey, I've got the survey map. Would you take a quick look at it and give me some feedback? And, you know, there's lots of classic things that businesses forget or their agencies and market research firms where they might ask a question like, you know, they'll ask a two-part question is, you know, are you frustrated by how slow and boring? Your Internet services, whatever. I didn't come up with a good one there. And I'm like, well, if I answer yes to that or no to that, if I'm answering yes. Is it because it's slow or is it because it's boring? Boring. Which is it right? Is it both? Is it one or the other. Yeah. Do I say. Yeah. You know, so like I see a lot of though. Like that's what that academic mindset on is like getting that much more precise analysis of what is what are the questions you're asking. What does the data mean, what are the implications? What how do you think about maybe what your KPI is, our other things? And again, you know, so of academia hasn't sat in the role of business and business may know better on business, knows better, but executing things and of course, there's decisions business make that they can't take out the confounding factors. Right. You're right. Text is a big part of everything. And academics are trying to look more and more at that as well by trying to understand what's the reproducibility of me, you know, bringing, you know, two hundred college students in to do a test. And, you know, where I bring them into our a little behavioral lab and I have them do something. And I'm like making an insight on, like, the psychology of a consumer now, like, well. So these were two hundred college students at an elite university, you know. Is that a broadly applicable finding to humanity, large to everyone in America, to young people, to old people, to the context of walking into a behavioral lab at an academic institution? You know, there are actually a lot of confounding factors that even make what academics do. And there's a greater awareness of trying to do field experiments, which is this bread and butter moment between academia and business, which bind a business that's like got that interest in doing some kind of experimentation, A/B tests, doing something willing to commit to knowing that, you know, things. I need learning. I'm going to do it. I will work with someone in academia to think about how to do that. The academic is now getting real-world behavioral data, which can be much more robust in the way there are understanding and evaluating their hypotheses of what consumer behavior is. And you know, those are the sweet spots. And again, I'm talking mostly in this sort of more. Brand marketing of the age of all of us doing this at home. With sirens going past my window?
Chris Snyder [00:46:32] Oh, you're. You're in New York City, so that's kind of...
Matthew Quint [00:46:35] Well I'm in the Jersey burbs, so actually, I don't often hear this pop up occasionally.
Chris Snyder [00:46:42] Well, it happens to add to the show's character. You know what I was just thinking I didn't really know as you describe this. You guys are aggregating all this knowledge you're seeding knowledge in. Actually, I feel like it's symbiotic because if you're SJP or you're G or you're any of these large brands, you're trying to make decisions you can't possibly staff and look broadly in aggregate across verticals and industries in your or even your own competition, because I'm sure you guys can even in your databank or your databases full of knowledge, you can aggregate and anonymize these results and actually deliver what I would consider to be completely unbiased knowledge. Because let's be clear. Academics. They don't give a fuck, right? They'll argue with you all day long, you still have to make the decision. But what I would want as a leader, as an executive or a CEO or a founder of a company, I would want somebody give it to me. Right. You guys do that for these firms?
Matthew Quint [00:47:49] Yeah. I don't know that we're necessarily talking to the CEOs of lots of these firms and key things on a regular basis. But certainly when we, you know, when we do folks strategy Polks and again, the strategy folks or again, there's this to your unbiased point. There is a balance of what we do with academia. So when it's an academic project, it needs to be more about thought leadership for the world at large vs. a solving a specific business issue. Now, academics do also work independently as consultants for a specific authorization where they may work with a CEO or some leadership team there and there that they're kind of working as a consultant. A lot. You know, instead of hiring McKinsey, they've got an issue area and they know, hey, we're looking for kind of an academic guru to give us an independent related thought about it. And so they'll say, know that's more of that direct feedback. The kind of projects when we're doing stuff with The Brand Center are more you know, I'll give you an example of a few years ago, one of the things that I know had and even still people big comes up. We did a project with AMIA, which is a leading loyalty management company that runs a whole range of things. And so they were building a kind of thought leadership platform. And we were looking for that first project to work on together and wasn't 2002 23, 2012. And obviously, as a loyalty management company, a lot of retail clients and they were getting panicked about showrooming. Is that a term you're familiar with Chris?
Chris Snyder [00:49:29] Yeah, a little bit. I don't know if that term is going to exist after COVID.
Matthew Quint [00:49:34] But what we can get into that and all sorts of thoughts of like the long term impact of COVID and how fast we rebound and what all that means, too. But right. This phenomenon, for those who aren't aware and your audience. Right. Of that phrase came out of analysts calling Best Buy a showroom for Amazon in the early 2000s, just like as Amazon went IPO and began selling much more than books. And so it tried became this phrase. And so suddenly in 2012, smartphone penetration had hit 50 percent in the Western world. And a lot of these retail companies, you know, in the report we did it talk about specific examples and letters from like the Best Buy CEO to the Samsung's of the world, saying you need to create unique SKUs for us, like we have been your partner for all this time and we are still your partner, that your product is purchased on Amazon because they came and saw it. And like, we need to make these you know, there was a pressure on retailers saying if everyone has a phone in their pocket or purse there, all the sudden going to be just pulling it out and getting better deals. And we're going to be this showroom. So, you know, Ari, A, we looked we're like, OK. Actually, nobody's really studied this. There's data that's coming out on tablet and smartphone repurchasing. But it's not location-based. So most of it is like, OK. So instead of someone sitting at their desktop or laptop, as they used to dig out their smartphone at home on their living room couch, and they're using their smartphone to like make a purchase or research stuff. So but nobody's done this. Are they in-store? What is that in-store experience? And, you know, we came up with this idea of just from our own inclination that, you know, it may not be the threat that they perceive, given that it's definitely helped me commit to buy something in store. And a lot of cases.
Chris Snyder [00:51:28] Yes, because you don't get hassled by the research or the by the sales guy who basically is claiming that your only way of understanding this complicated product is through his or her mouth and bothering you. So you do the research on your phone.
Matthew Quint [00:51:47] What exactly were in it for you while you're in the store? And again, you know, retail can be small profit margins, so anything that's eating into it can have, you know, these sort of outsized financial impacts versus potentially some other industry, is that right? It all depends. But and certainly for the best buys of the world, not a good scenario. That's like one of this. So one of the ways we think about this in academia, though, it's this days ago. What did you know? Discount? Would sales make you buy online or not? And it's like, yes, I'll buy online for sell. Like, what kind of a question is like a discount will make me buy it online? Mike, that's a meaningless thing. As if it's a ten dollar book or it's a thousand dollar TV set. What's that diskette? So, you know, it's like how we craft in academia, we have these three tiers of what's the dispute, what's the price point of the product here? Various discount levels, five percent, 10 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent. You know, and then we basically what we did in the report was we had this moment in which a majority of consumers would commit to more likely buy online than not. And what you see is it takes a 25% discount for anything under 50 dollars to be really impactful that in terms of buy it in-store. If you look at it in-store and you see it this it's got to be as high as 25 percent for you to not commit to just buy the book and Barnes Noble, you know, that kind of thing. So, yeah. But when you're talking to TV sets a two hundred and fifty dollars and up it got down to the 10 percent level. Right. Because so. Right. Those are where you get that. That's that. And again, to your point of like thinking about, well, what are the real questions I need to what's the real data that's actually going to allow me to that and make a business decision on that. And when we got the opportunity, of course, a lot of academia's isn't necessarily working directly with businesses. Right. There have to be those nice fits where there's a, you know, a business willing to do something. A faculty member, who does a certain area of study in which there's that natural fit and all of it needs to come together. So, you know, a lot of academic research is done. You know, a lot of it is done based on, you know, just general surveys of the public behavioral lab, like where those kind of things than necessarily monster data sets. A lot of companies are not. So he talked about these data sets. We've gotten some data sets from certain companies to do certain research of which will then very often cut those type of research comes out in peer review as a leading FMCG company, you know, global FMCG company and where it won't be, you know, whether it's Unilever or Procter and Gamble or whoever won't be even mentioned in the research. And so, yes, that's kind of that's where you're getting that unbiased. But again, different apartments and different researchers, you get more or less of that. So, you know, it's it's a mix. But I think that support. And then, of course, the other thing with academia is just training. Right. One of the great things, you know, rerun, especially in that I mean, there's a there's training that next generation, you know, for us, it's a Columbia Business School - they're MBAs. They're very smart. These are some of the brightest minds, right. Globally coming in to try to be future leaders of the future, leaders in business or society in various ways. People. People come out with their MBA and do different things. And they're smart. And they're kind of they're they're getting this broad stepping stone to move on. But we also do executive training programs. So we have an open enrollment training program. We run, you know, at Columbia Business School, where we'll see when we get back to running it in person. We hadn't built an online version of it. We're looking into doing that now.
Chris Snyder [00:55:27] And let's do that. Let's shift since you brought it up. We're talking about students. We're talking about training. We're talking about onsite. And then we throw COVID on top of that. Let's talk about COVID for a couple minutes. You guys run the BRITE Conference and you've got all these kids. This will be coming back to school in the fall. You've got the BRITE Conference, which from my understanding, has an amazing venue. It's part of the brand itself. What are you guys going to do about, you know, back to school in the fall or running conferences or like what do you unpack this a little bit for us? I know it's a lot, but just take it wherever you want.
Matthew Quint [00:56:11] Absolutely. Like anyone essentially in the in-person content field, whatever kind it is, it's a lot of moving to trying to find those. Right. Virtual online formats to still keep up the content. So, ah, what I had been promoting as our lucky 13th break conference was supposed to take place the last two workdays of March. And obviously that did not happen. So I sort of self jinxed. But just for your audience BRITE's stance, you know, it is influenced as a sort of ideas conference, kind of influenced by TED, my sort of mentor at Columbia who hired me at the Brand Role and now does stuff with exec ed and other within the school. So we still at the business school, David Rogers started the BRITE Conference. I got hired just before the second BRITE Conference that we were running in 2009. And that sort of acronym is for Brands Innovation and Technology. And it's really a conference that's brought together, you know, a mix of C Suite executives, other executives in various forms. Thought leaders from academia, writers, journalists, you know, leading entrepreneurs and startups, that kind of thing. So it's that nice mix of content both onstage and off. It's kind of this unique thing. And it is, you know, brand is at the core. But again, as you know, as I describe, Brand is a broad thing for us. So we have covered a mix of certain near-term tactical things that people are dealing with, but also always trying to look a little out into the future. So, you know, we hosted, as an example, we had Bre Pettis, who was the founder of MakerBot that one of the first like open-source 3D desktop printer. Back in 2010, when almost no one had ever seen a 3D printer of any kind, much less one that sat on a desk at the front of the stage. And, you know, one hundred and fifty people at the break were like crowding around, trying to get a view of seeing it, do it, do its printing. So, you know, looking at that kind of future related things, A.I., robotics, things like brand purpose and stuff like that is stuff that we were, you know, beginning to cover, you know, in 2012 and things like that of these, you know, new CEO state change from stakeholder value. What should those things be? How should that future go? So, you know, we've sort of just you know, we canceled 2020. We've got a couple of webinars. We're looking you know, we've got one coming up next week with one of our own faculty members, Rita McGrath, in partnership with Works. That's coming up on June 2nd, which will be passed probably by the time your audience hears about this. So you can go to our YouTube channel and look at the archive of it potentially right about like leading indicators of the future. She has a book. She came out. She's a management faculty member and has this, you know, what does it take to sort of understand when there's gonna be an inflection point and a change in business society in some way that you need to be thinking about as a business? And how are you going to manage that? So we're moving to those, you know, online formats.
Chris Snyder [00:59:31] This as you are you. Have you ever heard of the SaaStr Conference? Because that thing feels massive and forget SaaStr even for a second. That's just one technology example with the right very specific technology crowd. I really like what they've done there. But like, what are you guys speaking of, you know, knowledge and sharing and who you guys are and how you define yourself and your mission. This, I think, would be the perfect case study. You know, I don't think the timing's good. Obviously, you know, when when you guys we're gonna throw your conference was literally maybe a week before the conference. They shut the whole economy down, right? Yes. This is not something you guys could have done well. And I think that trying to do trying to recreate an experience and you do it poorly, I think actually damages the brand. So postponing that until next year like you guys did, I think there was something on your website. 2021. Yeah, it's awesome. In the meantime, what are you going to do? Right. Are you going to level in on building some form of this conference instead of just providing bite-sized webinars? What would you guys, what you guys got up your sleeve?
Matthew Quint [01:00:47] I mean I think we're trying and I'm certainly talking to other event organizers. Right. There's a little of the heat where a hundred unknown of like, can people spend what people spend a day? Do you think they're set? You know, in other words, what's the like? People will literally leave their office and come up to Columbia and spend an entire day sitting listening to. CMO of this organization and startup, founder of that, and a panel with the veeps of this and that and the academia. When you're online and you have the ability to immediately just shift back to your job and responsibilities. So I'm talking with folks who have run. You know, I'm trying to get the sense from folks who have run these full-day virtual conference experiences of how they've gone, what the feedback has been, how long you know, you know, where people lasted, where's there been that, you know, ups and downs. Again, that's that structural thing, right? What's the right structure? If you want to build more of a long-form day of virtual content with a large audience. What do you how do you do that effectively? You know what is working now? And everyone's experimenting right now. People don't know. You know, I set it up and said, you know, a couple of them so far. I find it interesting. I think we're going to try to do that. I have seen that I think is the thing that works effectively. The one thing we're going to start with is going to be more than that 60-minute, 90-minute webinar is likely going to be in the fall with the Association of National Advertisers. We had been planning to run an in-person conference in the fall with them. Like in February, we booked the venue that we use for Bright Learn a hall, large events based on campus. Now we're talking about creating something virtual and that will likely be our first one that we try to craft into a bit of a longer-form content. And I think what I've seen that works well is this mix of essentially, in some cases, prerecorded keynotes mixed in with maybe some live discussion and panel and maybe life keynote. But that's sort of value out of that daylong event. Our breakout moments where, for example, the keynote speaker will record the keynote. So it's sharp. It's good. 20 minutes of lead content anyway. Yeah. And then the break. And then you get. And now if you and most of these from a business model perspective, the main content is free. Because so much free content is out there, it's harder to charge for that unless it's in a niche area. So what you're charging for is that added value is the networking you're going to get by having these breakout more Zoom conference where you can ask questions. You can see people you know, and you create that networking environment in the virtual space. And I mean, the same kind of thing to talk about, like what is academia? Not just call me a business call, of course, but like all of us trying to understand and do and make change. Obviously, the thing is, everything's fluid on the ground. Again, same thing. Beth Ann and Doug on the call today, they're asking like, how is your leadership style changed in Cobbett and what have you realized there? Like. I'm still way too in the midst of it to reflect back, yet pick what I like. I'm living it right now. I can't reflect back on just two months when it's still ongoing. And I think a lot of us have that where like the on the ground situation is changing. So, you know what most of academia is looking at? Different schools are making decisions in slightly different ways, but is a hybrid model of some contract. What we're hoping is assuming that there's you know, we are seeing reopening, assuming there's not, you know, some kind of a massive uptick such that this whole flatten the curve, stay at home needs to kick in again, which I think is something that is not being stated enough by any leadership. How important it is that there is an expectation among the global public that, you know, we've got to be monitoring this and expect that we may need to go back to stay at home if things are bad. But assuming that it doesn't, it's a hybrid model. Right? The idea is, you know, there'll be certain things that can be done that things will need to be remote. There will need to continue to be Zoom. I mean, our Dean, you know, joked in one of our initial sort of town halls for the school when you know that as the stay at home waters hit, it happened to hit right at midterm midterms and spring break, you know, for our school and many like that March period was right when classes actually weren't many of them weren't even being offered. Right. Because it was midterms and break and, you know, in two weeks pivoted to teaching everything online and faster with some of there were some EMBA classes that were actually taking place. And so, like, you know, in academia, normally there'd be like a two-year evaluation with a, you know, faculty committee and blah, blah. What we would do in technology is value and can everyone get it? And what would be? And BOOM in two weeks the entire school is teaching everything online and remote. And so that's going to maintain still need to be available. They're gonna be students who are going to have visa issues that may not want to postpone. They need access to the content education. But the hope is that, you know, they'll be able to do some modification of in-person content as well in which, you know, a 70 seat classroom can hold 15 people safe. The social distancing expectations and so class of 60 odd people will be split into four groups and they'll rotate and over a 12 week period of going to classes. They'll be in four groups and each of them will have an in-person, three in-person experiences in the classroom with the faculty member pending the faculty members' comfort. Because of academia. Many faculty members are have been around for a long time and they're a high-risk population. And they made, well, every organization. Beth and Doug talked about this on the call. This is leadership across the globe is saying I'm not going to force mean you can relieve legally and there can be legal issues. And there's just a lot to talk about, brand. A lot of them talk to Internal. Both of them talk so much about your staff, your team, your people. Right. I've seen that a lot. We run a chief communication officer council. Has about 40 or so CEOs from a range of Fortune 500 companies like General Mills and Samsung and Microsoft, Zipcar and Patagonia and such and nonprofits as well mixed in. And, you know, we've we converted that which had been these blog person and you're learning workshop or two kinds of things with them to these now 90-minute every four week experiences. And, you know, they're bright, they're sort of no group now quite quote-unquote, in the corporate frontlines of all this, because that attention to staff, internal communications team membership. And then you've got outside consumers care. They want to know that the organizations are buying from as best they can because of availability and other things are making consumer decisions different now. But they want to support organizations that they know are trying to keep their staff employed, are doing best in class protective service protective systems for their staff that are, you know, giving back to their staff that are doing those kind of things. So, you know, all of that is what part of in this Cobert era is important, build a strong brand, whether it's academia, finding ways to balance the remote situation with the desire for in-person experience and the value that that has. And, you know, it's a moving target. Right now, the situation is changing on the ground. Obviously, we're all like all our fingers are crossed that, you know, with all the university academic departments scrambling around looking for what might be treatment methods, vaccine options and all of that, you know, everyone is hoping that there's some near-term treatment breakthrough. I mean, vaccination is going to take longer. By nature. But, you know, we're all kind of hoping, you know, who knows? At any moment, a treatment breakthrough may or may occur in which, you know, some of the planning that's being done, we'll get some of back to a little more of the way we used to do things with the acceleration of changes that were going on with remote work, with digital content, with new technologies. You know, all of this kind of stuff is now accelerated and that will continue to go on. And maybe we can get back to a little more of sort of the value of the in-person experience that we're managing without. But is, you know, has gaps in the way organizations are capable of doing.
Chris Snyder [01:09:41] Let me make a comment. I really like the way you're thinking about the conference. I think it's a huge mistake for any organization to try to replicate a physical conference online. I got to tell you, I sit in front of Zoom all day. So do you. It's terrible. Like, I don't want to sit in front Zoom all day and something that you mentioned there, like a prerecorded keynote. That's more show like in cinema driven than I can go up to my couch and watch my 60 inch TV and maybe gather the family around and listen to some, you know, baller CEO or CMO talk about the future of branding and the intersection of whatever, and then maybe come back downstairs 15, 20 minutes later and have my calendar scheduled for three, 20-minute meetups with faculty or what I really like how you guys are thinking about that. I think anybody who's dragging people online to do what they are trying to mimic off like it doesn't make any sense at all to me because part of the draw is you get to go to the campus. You walk the hallowed halls. You talk to the. Mature and bright, older minds that are there. And you get to touch this stuff and it makes you feel good. Zoom does not make you feel good. That doesn't mean the technology is awesome. It just means it sucks sitting in a chair, in a garage or in a home office. It just, it's a complete disconnect, in my opinion. And not a good use of their personal brand. You have to be able to connect. So put more production value into the stage-worthy things and maybe less production value. But open it up to more people on the more tactical levels. So I think that's awesome. The other comment that I wanted to make is about, you know, the kids coming back to school, the visa is this that, you know, I've been listening a lot to Scott Galloway, who's over at Stern talking about the premium in the margins that these universities charge and the experience that they provide, which is an amazing experience. And I wish that all the kids in America and abroad could enjoy the kind of experiences that World-Class universities provide. It is a great spot for them to grow and learn. But I got to tell you what's going to happen to universities in this country. They're still trying to charge a premium, but not providing the experience. What are your thoughts overall about the university situation in this country? Are we going back? What are you guys going to like? Comment maybe on what Scott said? I don't know if you feel like there's an enrichment of his commentary. I know there was some stuff written about that about a week ago. So I'll let you go on a tear on that one.
Matthew Quint [01:12:37] I want to make sure you're hearing me OK. Chris. Yeah, I think you were referring to Scott Galloway, who we've actually we've had a couple of e-mails over the years. We haven't actually connected in person. But obviously he does, you know, some really interesting stuff at NYU. He's got his L2 lab. So he's, again, another one of these faculty members who's that foot in academia. But in the practical world, in the business world as well, in what he does and I know he put an article, I think it was the article actually came out in early April, but of course, it like these things do. He's now getting called in and being talk. It's as organized as media companies. And whatever I think was CNN recently just had him on to talk about and they invited him to be their future of education discussion. Of course, we talk about that at Columbia a lot. Everyone's having this conversation. What is it going to be in the future? What does this mean now? What's the expectation? And again, I think, you know, there's two factors that are going into this, you know. One is it's hard for people to immediately change on a dime. You know, that dream and value of what getting a college degree was and is for people right now, there'll be financial implications that are going to hamper that and delay that. I think it's an important thing to also remember that for all you know, Krit, you and I are talking about it and probably almost all of your listeners, I'm going to guess, probably have a four-year college degree. Right. We're talking about it. Up until recently, less than a fifth of the country was getting four-year degrees. It's now up to about 30 to 35 percent of the millennial population has four-year degrees. So we're still talking about a minority of the population in the United States that has a four-year degree. So clearly, the cost is a big factor already. People not. And again, a lot of people have gone and done a class or two or they may go to a two-year college and those kind of. So there's obviously there's a proliferation of higher education in this country that is surpassed every other country in the world by maybe two orders of magnitude. Terms of the number of higher educational institutions in the U.S. on a per capita basis from every other country in the world. It's in part why there are so many folks, global folks who come to the United States to get a college degree is impart the capability of it. You know, the fact or the quality of the education here. But it's also just availability. It's just completely different here. So, you know, there's going to be obviously economic things. There's going to be the awareness of this available content. There is going to be more and more online content. The question is going to be, you know, accreditation of all this, a sense of quality away that schools and rankings like, you know, that come out about colleges and universities that create some kind of look at all of this if it's suddenly an online world. It's going to take more time than I think. People may think or want to talk about right now. I don't think this is. I mean, who knows when is that point of acceleration? So we've been talking about a lot of this the last twenty years. That means production in all these kind of things. You're going to have some hockey stick is going to happen. We're like higher educational institutions that are not in that top tier are going to probably start struggling left and right. Yeah. But it's also going to take employers. Right. If you want, you know, a lot of jobs now. Almost all white-collar jobs require you to have a four-year degree.
Chris Snyder [01:16:25] Or at least a technical degree of some kind That certifies you to do the job that you were hired.
Matthew Quint [01:16:32] That's right. So I think, you know, I think Scott is was right. And he's already talked about a lot of things, talked about the power of flight, certain individual faculty members as sort of brands and teachers themselves that could begin to teach classes to maybe 10000 students. And then you get an economy of scale that may actually make academia's still manageable in some ways is instead of you know, that if I can, you know, teach my class to 10000 students and they're each paying one hundred dollars for it. Well, that's a big they aren't. That's about what I would teach 70 students, you know. You know, five grand or whatever. It's, you know, depending on the university for the tuition credit of taking that class you get. So there are ways that that's going to happen. But it also takes, you know. Same thing. So it's not like I especially, you know, as someone in academia, I get asked a lot about, you know, what would you give to people as advice and thinking about how to grow their career, what schools they should go to, all that kind of stuff. And my think first and foremost, which, you know, you would not your head and everyone would, is self-motivation. Right? That's the thing that matters more than anything else, you know, is being driven yourself to move ahead. There's tons of content information, especially in our global world. Now that you can get that can help teach you in all sorts of ways, all sorts of different price levels. You know, if you're self-motivated to do it and you're committed to do it, you know, you can grow. Still getting a degree, provides accreditation, provides a network. It provides an in-person experience. It provides people to talk with them, bounce ideas, you know, at. Right. That's one of the key things. I mean, students often they can learn sometimes as much from each other, depending on their background and the setting they're in and what the classes, as they may from their faculty member, depending on what type of class it is. Right. So, you know, all of those things are factors in where the future of education may go.
Chris Snyder [01:18:29] Yeah. No, none of my - I had a couple of poli-sci professors that refused to ever answer a question. Like if I had a question, I said, well, what do you think? They would never, ever give me that answer. They would say, well, let's pose the question to the class. And now I need you to decide for yourself what you think after hearing everybody's remarks. Right. And there's these brand experiences. And I know I keep saying that. And I feel like it's actually a really good word in this case because Columbia has a great brand. Stern has a great brand. There's a lot of universities that have great brands. But part of what you just said is super important. I wonder I wonder how they would get that elsewhere because that was part of a great experience, is being mentored through how to think properly, communicate with peers and come up with your own conclusion. It's not black or white, right? It's not a math problem. It's what. How do you perceive you're gonna handle this situation or what do you think? Well, that's interesting. So a lot in education, innovation, both from a technology standpoint, a process standpoint, a cost standpoint. I think there's courses on M.I.T. for free, by the way. I then had been free for 10 years. The whole curriculum.
Matthew Quint [01:19:56] It's not that rarely. Mostly what they are like EdX and Coursera and these kind of programs partner with educational institutions of all levels, including elite schools, to offer usually some online related classes. And some of them are free. And some of them require some payday. Again, these organizations that started this where a lot of our world of online growth and brand building has been, build the audience, then figure out the business model in some ways, or you've got a business model at the start that you know you're going to charge at some point, but you need the scale of audience in order for it to work. So you give it away for free to begin with. And then you create a method for the freemium model where now I create added value that you pay for. And I add the other. I think just as I look at this, as I think we all don't know quite where. The overall winners and losers 20 years from now are going to lie on a lot of what's been happening over the last 20 years. We're going gonna see some of these models blow up, right. I wonder, with Google as an example, right, which lauded great brand etc innovate. I mean, you put the word innovation or innovative and Google's always gonna be up there and they're doing crazy stuff and trying to do all these things. And yet 90 percent of their funds, 90 percent of their revenue comes from selling advertising, which is that's not a newspaper or a television. They're essentially a media company in their search. They're selling on a dish, selling advertising. It's a different user interest. But, you know, I had a big thing of like, you know, what if we do this my question and my thought process. Right. One of these hypotheses is kind of in my head or that I don't have the answer to yet is. Voice has been growing, but hasn't taken over yet. And we'll see how well voice becomes voice pure versus voice connected to a screen where like you're talking your Alexa, you're talking or echo or whatever. But there's a screen that's also showing you information, not just speaking back out to you. But the thing is like what is it for Google? What is paid search mean? If I ask Google, what's the best place to shop in? I'm going to be visiting my in-laws in Montclair, New Jersey. And like, what's the best place to get pizza in Montclair? What is that result going to be? If I go online to Google and I'm a user, I have a choice to like, know that at the top it's going to be paid search and below that it's gonna be organic. And I can choose to look at what the paid ones, but I know it's paid at the start. Or I can just jump right to the organic. Like, what's that Google experience going to be like if it's voice only? What pizza shop is it going to tell me first and then can I trust it? And then I'm going to continue to use voice and kick Google, get away with it being paid. Well, let's say paid, and do I want that? And if people don't accept paid, but they really want the voice thing, like does Google's business model all go to hell because everyone's just asking questions of, you know, like the Enterprise, you know, Star Trek computer. You just ask questions of the computer and it's got to give you sort of honest organic results. And suddenly, Google has no SEO on paid search because people won't accept that as part of their voice experience. Right? I don't know, in hours to go or not. And what would happen to Google?
Chris Snyder [01:23:25] That's some next frontier shit right there because I never even really thought about it that way. You're in a Tesla driving around. You say, hey, take me to a pizza place. It just goes, I don't know, you just go there. You have no choice in, you know, what happens to the folks who don't have a great brand are not going to show up in the n the best result because they don't know how to put their pizza menu online, like there's gonna be a lot of companies left behind. And candidly, the advertising model for, you know, Google, Facebook, these guys have not really well, I mean, let's be honest, their search results in the top four spots on a page hasn't changed for twenty years. I mean, let's be honest. Right. It's not a lot of innovation on the front end customer experience side of this, a lot on the algo side, big data back and A.I. how fast they can make the decision. How do they catch the cheaters, people trying to game the system, the advertisers? Well, Matt, I feel like we could probably go on for the three or four hours, but we won't.
Matthew Quint [01:24:34] I was just thinking that Chris - we need to wrap a bow around this.
Chris Snyder [01:24:40] Yeah. So today we're joined by Matthew Quint. He's the Director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School. He is also the producer and host of The Center's prestigious BRITE Conference. Matthew, I really appreciate having you on the show, sharing your thoughts. It's going to be a super interesting episode for our audience. Thanks again for coming on today. Great.
Matthew Quint [01:25:06] Thanks, Chris. Really a pleasure to talk with you. So it's great to just bounce around some plan thoughts and some random ideas. So enjoy the rest of your day.