Jacob Sheridan ’14 – On Monday, through our connection with recent graduate Paul Liu ’12, the Marketing Immersion Program visited the Cummins satellite office in Indianapolis. Our host was extremely generous to us, which reflects their attitude and service towards their customers. Mr. Liu provided us with some Cummins giveaways including a t-shirt and a book on the history of Cummins. He opened the presentation up with a brief history and background of the company.
We learned that Clessie Cummins and W.G. Irwin founded Cummins in 1919. We quickly moved on to learning about the modern day Cummins. Cummins is most popular or well known for their diesel engines, but that is only one of their four product lines; the other three being power generation, distribution, and components.
As we sat in the 18th floor meeting room with a great view of the downtown, we were able to listen to several leaders in the communications department. We first listened to the Director of Executive Communications who told us about her job, the companies mission statement, and their message triangle. Our group then learned about the Visual Communications department, which focused on creating media for the company including: training and motivational videos, documentaries, and executive presentations. The department head of Internal Communications talked about how they strive to provide good communication between all their employees. One way he said they were doing this now, was installing large TV’s in all of their factories that would display company relevant news. His other roles included issues management, communications planning, and crisis communications.
The next speaker was the department head of External Communications. I found this part of the communications department the most interesting. He quickly talked about his duties, which included press release coordination, crisis communications, media strategy, media training, media monitoring, and to serve as the company spokesperson and/or media contact. He wanted to focus on the bigger picture of his job, which he said was developing relationships both with his coworkers, but also especially with the media reporters that he connected with on a regular basis. Next up was the head of Functional Excellence, which seemed to have the main goal of maintaining the right direction for the company. She further explained the importance of the message triangle, saying it was like the thesis statement and three main body points of a paper, except it represented the entire Cummins Company. She also talked about their Six Sigma program, which provided a universal communications training that enhanced communications between employees of the international company. The last speaker we heard from was also particularly interesting and he spoke about his job as the head of Digital Communications. He was in charge of managing the company’s external and internal websites as well as the company’s social media strategy. He said that his department was like an iceberg in that there were basically two other people who worked with him on the executive level, but that there were over 300 people company wide that were involved in content creation and editing for the digital communications department. He also noted the importance of company diversity and listening to your customers.
Mr. Liu wrapped up the presentation with some advice, distributing his contact information, and encouraging us to apply for internships, especially with Cummins. The visit was exciting, interesting, and educational. We were able to see what these people did and learn about careers that we might like to pursue. Although, I had known Cummins was a good company before, I think it is fair to say that most guys got to learn a lot about a company that they wouldn’t mind working for someday.