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Featured Events | Nov 19, 2015 |

Be nimble, be relevant, Colgate exec tells Fordham students

Christopher Rector, vice president and general manager of the Global Toothbrush Division at Colgate Palmolive.

Christopher Rector, vice president and general manager of the Global Toothbrush Division at Colgate Palmolive.

When it comes to doing business globally, companies are like boats, the vice president and general manager of the Global Toothbrush Division at Colgate Palmolive told his Fordham University audience this week.

There are cruise ships – large, set in their values and traditions – and there are speedboats, which are more nimble, quicker to turn, Christopher Rector, MBA ’98, said at a Gabelli School of Business International Business Week event.

The cruise ships do not easily adapt to changing environmental conditions. Speedboats, however, are aware of their surroundings and are able to change quickly. The speedboats, Rector said, will be more able to expand globally.

In an economy that is becoming increasingly global, the speedboat mentality is key for growth. Consumer choice is borderless, so global customers dominate, he explained. Consumers have power through e-commerce, social media, digital content and access to the rest of the world.

“What used to be an emerging market is now global competition,” Rector explained.

Rector knows about the global market. His current sector deals with $1.4 billion in new sales operations, selling products in more than 200 countries, with manufacturing in China, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Guatemala, Switzerland and Japan. Rector’s role focuses on global marketing, research and development, supply chain and innovation.

Marketing has changed as well, Rector said.

New media has changed the model from a quick, 30-second product commercial to story-based brand advertisements. Extra’s “The Story of Sarah and Juan” and Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign are examples of this.

“Build your brand story in a way that is relevant to consumers,” Rector advised.

Rector said successful marketers in today’s world use emotion as a positive point of emphasis. They also are able to pay attention to details and respect new cultures when expanding their company globally.

“Be disruptive,” Rector said when asked what he learned during his time at Fordham that influenced his career.

Rector advised individuals to find a way to stand out in the business world. He recommended that students pick an unusual topic for business projects, to make an impact and be memorable.

Here are the videos Rector referenced:

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