October 14, 2009

By Justin Tang

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

So advised Taco Bell Inc's President and Chief Concept Officer Greg Creed in a lively talk to Anderson students about how to successfully lead a company an economic crisis on October 7 in Korn Hall. Creed was joined by Anna Ohki, Taco Bell's chief food innovation officer as they presented their strategies and personal tips on leadership and methods to marketing a brand.

Creed, the innovator behind Taco Bell's "Think Outside the Bun" campaign told students "It's most important to focus on leadership during difficult times." He explained that through reframing, a company may look for growth opportunities in situations where few growth opportunities appear to exist.

As an example, he cited Taco Bell's market share of Mexican-style food where the company already owns 60% of the $10.6 billion market. But, he noted, the company only only owns 2.6% of the $220 billion fast food market. Instead of framing the company's goal as an attempt to increase profitability by gaining more of the Mexican food market they already dominate, he reframed the situation by highlighting the potential growth in the fast food market overall.

Creed also spoke about how to work efficiently by being "Smart with Heart." He said it is essential that leaders enable their business to succeed, engage with the company on how to do so, and explain the importance of the business' goals. These three, Creed believes, connect the "head, hand, and heart."

Following Creed to the stage, Ohki discussed her four principles for success. They included being passionate for the job, staying innovative, thinking big picture, and staying authentic.

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