Insights From

Kimberly A. Whitler

Darden Ideas to Action: Most Read Stories of 2022

Darden Ideas to Action insights draw from faculty expertise, books, research, cases and white papers. Here: the most read stories of 2022. How can one build a brand? What happens when buzz turns to backlash? How does a strategist prepare for the unforeseeable? What inequalities to women face in feedback? And why is storytelling an essential skill?

4 Steps to Building Your Brand: How Student-Athletes Can Win With NIL

Just as a successful organization has its own brand, so can a person, and it’s intertwined with reputation. That means on and off the field in the case of student-athletes, and now that they can make name, image and likeness (NIL) deals, they need guidance on how to build and manage that brand wisely. Here are the four major steps in the process.

Athlete Brands: UVA Baseball Star Learns to Pitch a Perfect Game on Social Media

In athletics, the smallest edge in reputation can mean a coveted NIL deal or a shot to play professionally. When college pitcher Brian Gursky set a goal to play in the major league, marketing expert Kim Whitler offered guidance on how to build his brand strategically, considering what his social media projected to scouts, coaches and sponsors.

5 Steps to Effectively Design and Execute Brand Purpose

Professor Kimberly Whitler shares expertise on brand purpose offers five ways in which successful brands effectively design and activate their purposes.

How to Write a Brand Essence Statement

To develop and manage a brand effectively, marketers start by defining it with a brand essence statement. In an excerpt from her book Positioning for Advantage, Professor Kim Whitler discusses the blueprint for building a brand from the bottom up, including the foundation, the support, the impact on a consumer and, ultimately, the brand essence.

What Western Marketers Can Learn From TikTok, Ocean Spray Reactions to Viral ‘Morning Vibe’ Video

Professor Whitler looks at Western executives of multinational brands who use traditional media and ad strategies, based on marketing theories and practices created largely in the West. This often leads to marketing campaigns that require months of planning, consulting with ad agencies, content creation and carefully allocating money.

The 4 Phases of Marketing Communication During Covid-19

With the onset of COVID-19, it was incredibly important for businesses to reach out to their consumers and preserve those consumers’ loyalty. Darden Professor Kimberly Whitler, an expert in marketing strategy and brand management, investigated how marketing teams were communicating with customers during the crisis.

Pandemic Pivoting: 4 Advertising Trends in Turbulent Times

How Jeep and Bill Murray responded to a pandemic: a popular Super Bowl commercial for an SUV reincarnated as a message encouraging consumers to stay home and off the road. Here are an expert marketer’s observations of how brands shifted when faced with an integral shift in the way the world did business and people lived their lives.

What to Read Now February 2020

Top stories from Ideas to Action in February 2020


Professor Kimberly Whitler shares five characteristics that better ads tend to have in common.