Today we’re going client side to see how transformative ideas and creativity can be on the inside of the house. And there’s no one better to talk to about that than Tom Butta.

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Tom’s Bio:

Tom Butta has sat squarely in the hot seat of transformation for his entire career. As CMO or CEO he has helped public and private companies capitalize on critical moments and accelerate through opportunity.

He started in advertising at Hill Holiday and Y&R. As CMO of Red Hat where he helped position open source technologies as a viable alternative to proprietary one. He also helped drive the second highest IPO in NASDAQ history. As CMO of PTC Tom helped position product development as a value play with his seminal work around The Way to Product First. That work — and the value roadmap he architected in 2002 — is still in use today by PTC which is now the second largest independent software company in the world.

As CEO of Superstock, Tom helped create a legitimate challenger to Getty Images in the digital creative content space

As CEO of FGI, Tom helped position both KPMG and Deloitte as viable challengers to Accenture, Newsweek as the rightful owner of newsweeklies, Reebok PUMP as an alternative performance brand to Nike, and Armani A/X Exchange as an accessible designer brand.

He was a Fast Company Fast 50 Reader’s Choice winner. And is a lecturer at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and New York Institute of Technology.

Today, Tom is founder and managing director of 21Weeks, a brand value accelerator for CEOs and executives dissatisfied with the status quo. Clients include those in cloud computing, advertising systems of record, online chat and support, product development, and international tennis tournaments.

And I might add he, like me, is a Hamilton College grad. Which we discovered by accident while working together years ago. He even was the same year as my older brother, Andy Burns. Spooky.

Show notes:

  • We begin by discussing Tom’s instrumental role in launching the controversial “Product First” campaign at PTC.
  • He talks about the importance of a CMO not only being creative, but hand picking the right team around him or her.
  • CMO as “creative director” for the brand.
  • He explains how to get people in a large organization to rally around a single, transformative brand idea.
  • Tom talks about his current company, which he founded, called 21Weeks and how it is transforming brands today.
  • He ends by making public the identity of an Ideasicle Expert!