Harnessing the power of creativity
"When the good campaigns succeeded, that crystalized the power of effective advertising."
The “It’s Gotta Be The Shoes” ads debuted in 1989, and Miller admitted that within moments of seeing the commercial, he fell in love with advertising. Even if he didn’t yet have full clarity about his ultimate career, Miller said in those days, he would constantly critique TV spots and print ads to dissect the goal of the brand’s message and if it was memorable.
“High school is the first time I realized that I could pursue advertising as a career,” he said. “My interest sharpened when I saw the ‘ads’ — posters, buttons, stickers — that my classmates would create when running for Student Council. I realized some campaigns were unforgettable, while others said nothing at all. When the good campaigns succeeded, that crystalized the power of effective advertising.”
Miller set off on a path to pursue those career goals with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Virginia before he landed at Goizueta looking to develop a stronger voice in driving brand strategy. Goizueta offered him a global learning platform and a diverse student population for the Cuban-American. It was also an opportunity to augment his professional experience beyond the agency level from his first job, Ogilvy & Mather, where he worked as an account executive with American Express and an account supervisor with Motorola.
"I still believe in taking bold risks creatively, but now have greater confidence in the potential for massive upside."
Now the Global Head of Business Marketing at Snap, Inc., Miller’s experience includes being a marketing leader of a platform and a client, after his six years at PepsiCo, most notably working on the Tropicana and Gatorade brands. His career then harkened back to his first appeal to advertising, to an extent, when he helped create award-winning video content that featured Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Usain Bolt.
“I have become more disciplined as a marketer,” he said. “In the past, I was all gut led purely by creativity and instinct. However, I now place equal value in data-led consumer insights. I have found over time that these insights often reveal something new about the target that enables the creative idea to land more authentically. They also help ensure our team is headed down the right path. I still believe in taking bold risks creatively, but now have greater confidence in the potential for massive upside.”
Snap’s global reach allows Miller to apply his Goizueta international experience in countries like Australia, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
This year, Miller has focused on scaling the Snapchat advertising business with the value proposition of “Real Friends. Real Results.” He is focused on delivering value for global advertisers of all sizes, from Warner Brothers and Coca-Cola down to small businesses.
Landing at Snap Inc., which did not exist when he graduated Goizueta, is another example of Miller’s unpredictable and ultimately rewarding career path. That’s why he preaches to “do the uncomfortable,” when it comes to career choices. His philosophy is to pursue high-potential and undefined projects that deliver atypical experiences.
“My focus throughout my career has remained consistent: to feel increasingly challenged and influential over time,” Miller said. “Those are my primary motivating factors in my current role and also how I set forward-looking career goals. I believe traditional career marks of success (title, compensation and team size) are outputs of experiences that stretch you beyond your comfort zone.”