t’s something I heard for the first time early
in my career from my boss and mentor
at the Coca-Cola Company, Sergio Zyman.
It’s a simple phrase, but its meaning is really
complex. Because every word spoken (and
those left unsaid), every interaction (and
those actions not taken), and every image
displayed on behalf of an organization reflects
It amazes me, the degree to which organizations—and people for that matter—fail
to successfully tell their story or, even worse,
simply defer and let others tell it for them.
Here’s the big takeaway: how you represent
yourself defines you. I’m not sure there’s
anything that matters more. Yes, actions may
speak louder than words, but words carry
your character and personality forward. We
present to those around us what we do and
what we stand for through the words and
images we choose. Everything communicates.
Over the years, I’ve seen how powerful
a well-told story can be. An engaging,
compelling, and authentic narrative can be
truly transformative. To be able to effectively
and genuinely impart our core values and
identity stakes a claim to our unique space
in the world. When we learn to share our
stories, we’re more confident and determined,
knowing exactly who we are and where we’re
going in the world.
That brings me to the story of the College
of Liberal Arts—the foundation of which is
our new tag line: Think Broadly. Lead Boldly.
From the time our working group first heard
those four words strung together, we felt they
captured the essence of the College and its
students, faculty, staff, and alumni. These
words truly evoke what makes Purdue Liberal
Arts—and all of us who are part of the
College—different, better, special.
I have seen people energized by our
recast message. The people to whom the story
belongs have begun to share it with pride.
That’s how I know we got the story right.
It’s really true. Everything does
Todd Putman lives in Los Angeles and
is the chief commercial officer for Bolthouse
Farms. He has spent more than 25 years in
management, marketing, and innovation
roles for companies and brands like Procter
& Gamble, The Walt Disney Company,
Coca-Cola, and Pinkberry. He is also a
member of the Dean’s Advisory Council.
Photo courtesy of Todd B. Putman.
TODD B. PUTMAN
Brian Lamb School of Communication