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Marketing Faculty Teams Up with Boston Chamber for Fierce Urgency of Now Festival

Brenna McCormick stands to the left of the screen, gesturing to the crowd. On the screen are the words "emotions, aspirations, aesthetics, trust, values and products."
Brenna McCormick kicks off SMC’s “Creating Your Personal Brand” workshop. Workshop photos/Alan Geiss

“Everyone needs marketing. Marketing needs everyone.” It’s an adage that Brenna McCormick, MA ’06 typically applies to products, brands, and organizations as an instructor and director of Emerson’s Strategic Marketing Communication (SMC) graduate program.

However, it can also apply to a person’s career, as McCormick recently shared in a workshop for the city’s young professionals, hosted by SMC in partnership with the Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Fierce Urgency of Now program

Brenna McCormick head shot
Brenna McCormick

“As we come out of the depths of the pandemic, there was that desire to connect,” McCormick said. “So I had been thinking, what are the ways that we can share what’s happening in the classroom with the community rather than being behind this wall of buildings on Boylston and Tremont.”

So when she received an email from the Chamber of Commerce asking for proposals and participation in the Fierce Urgency of Now Festival, McCormick knew she had found a way to share the SMC’s knowledge and insights beyond the Emerson campus.

 Through their partnership with the festival, SMC created and hosted an interactive workshop, “Creating Your Personal Brand: From Core Values to Cover Letter,” sharing some highlights of the graduate program. Along with Michael Tucker, Marketing Communication executive-in-residence, as well as Jessica Chance, associate director of the Career Development Center, McCormick aimed to curate an engaging, informative presentation for anyone interested in capitalizing on marketing techniques.

McCormick told the audience gathered in the Student Performance Center’s Black Box that her goal was “to give you some tools to inspire how you present yourself and how you’re creating consistent and meaningful content.”

McCormick emphasized the importance of identifying and embodying personal values through marketing in order to better connect to an audience. 

“When we talk about branding, we’re looking to achieve this emotional resonance,” McCormick said. “I love speaking about this because [resonance is] of course, about sound. In physics, it’s also about amplification and reinforcement. So when we think about emotional resonance, we’re thinking about what are the messages that we’re sending out. What’s resonating with the audience? And then how can we become advocates for our brand?”

Tucker’s trademarked presentation was called “Kickass Cover Letters.” Through creating his own advertising agency as well as teaching marketing strategies to other professionals, Tucker has integrated his “hardcore marketing principles” into application and advice.

Michael Tucker head shot
Michael Tucker

“The ultimate primary objective for all marketing communications is engagement,” Tucker explained to attendees. “Engagement is that moment where we develop that sort of brand loyalty, and engagement is a two-way street. There’s value coming from the organization or the brand or the product, and there’s something coming back from you.”

Chance shared advice on how to stay resilient through any career search.

“Jessica has incredible knowledge about what’s happening in different industries as the liaison between both employers and students,” McCormick said. “That was a really incredible piece to end with. I felt like we empowered people, inspired them, and then she was also showing that this is how you keep the faith when you’re reaching out and looking for a job. There are these opportunities to really connect and to share your own story.”

For McCormick and the rest of the SMC program, this is just the beginning of their relationship with the Chamber of Commerce and Fierce Urgency of Now.

“It is really exciting to be a part of it because you can see that momentum growing,” McCormick said. “One of the things that I absolutely love about everything I teach at Emerson, in particular in teaching marketing, is that students come in, and they see the power of marketing,” McCormick said. “They want to do it in a way that is responsible, they want to bring awareness to strategic communication and create marketing that does good.”

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Isa Luzarraga View All

Isa is a sophomore journalism major minoring in media studies. She is from Omaha, Nebraska but loves coming back to the city. Outside of coursework, Isa is the Managing Editor of Your Magazine, the secretary of Emerson's chapter of NAHJ and a freelance writer for publications nationwide. She loves reading in the Common, going for long runs and sipping iced coffee.

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