Culture, Client Relations, and Creating Opportunities that Build a Better Brand

Featuring Tommy Bliven, VP of Marketing

Tommy Bliven, VP of Marketing, is taking 66degrees to new horizons simply by building relationships that allow clients to define what our brand means to them.

Tommy Bliven Photo Collage

Walk me through your career journey; how did you get to where you are today, and what has helped you be successful?

Marketing has been part of my career for almost two decades now, and I was always interested in marketing and found a real passion for it when I started in the industry working for a radio station. Yes, I said radio, but luckily I wasn’t writing jingles. I began creating event experiences that started for a few hundred people and eventually led to large events for 10,000+ people. Eventually, I took that same passion to digital marketing. I found myself leading a successful digital agency which eventually led me to lead the marketing for professional services companies like Pandera and now 66degrees. 

The things that I can accredit my success to are passion, curiosity, and opportunity. I love what I do and stay curious about improving, and I believe in creating opportunities and seizing the moment when that time comes. I also know that my success is directly correlated to the team I have around me, so I have also made sure to help them grow and succeed.

As Vice President of Marketing, how have you helped 66degrees create a brand that is not only recognizable but impactful?

It’s as simple as being relatable to your target audience. Our brand needs to relate to the needs of our clients, and once a relationship with the client is established, they will further define what our brand means to them. We may want to be innovative and forward-thinking, but ultimately, the audience decides what you are to them. 

So to answer your question, we need to create a vision of who we are and what we are good at and combine that with what our clients are looking for in a partner. It’s not about creating a vision of something that we are not, but instead effectively communicating and visualizing our strengths and values and why we are the partner for them. Be relatable and build a brand that they can trust. 

What's your approach to continue building our brand as a leading Google Cloud Partner?

Building a brand that resonates with our partners is no different than what we do for our clients; essentially, they are the same. It’s all about communicating who we are and why we are their right partner. The reasons somebody should choose to work with 66degrees should not change based on whether they are clients or partners. It’s all about our technical capabilities, unmatched skill, knowledge across the Google Cloud ecosystem of products, obsession with data, focus on delivery excellence, and our highly talented people. You tie that in with the extensive portfolio of projects and brands we have worked with, and it paints a compelling picture of whether you are a client or a partner.

This month we are honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI). How do you identify yourself with the AAPI community?

Well, I will start by giving some insight into my background, which starts with being of a mixed race of Korean and American. My father was in the military and stationed in Korea, where he met my mother. I was born in Korea but soon moved to the U.S. and then traveled around to live in Europe as my father was stationed there for several years. I have been lucky enough to have been introduced to many cultures and backgrounds growing up, which has helped frame my views on community and culture.

I am very proud of both my Korean and American heritage and also very proud to represent the Asian American community. That said, identifying myself has never been about deciding between one or the other. I have been blessed to be able to have both in my life and as a part of who I am. I do, however, think that I have a responsibility to educate others on both my Asian and American heritage and the beautiful traditions and beliefs they both have.

How has your culture positively influenced you?

My culture has influenced me in many ways, but most importantly, it allows me to see the world in color versus just black and white. I was born into a mixed-race family, moved around various parts of the world, and learned about different cultures. So essentially, my culture allowed me to appreciate and be curious about the culture of others. 

Culture is something that so many people try to recreate in communities and companies, and it’s because culture is something that people seek and want to be a part of. I own my cultural background, and I hope others understand the value and the benefits of doing so.

Have you had any great mentors in your life? How have they influenced you?

I’ve never had a mentor per se, but I have had people in my life that provided me with examples of qualities or characteristics that I have actively looked to add to who I am as a person, co-worker, partner, and father. We are all one of one’s and unique in our ways, and if I did have a mentor, I would have hoped that they would have helped me become the best version of myself and not just another version of somebody else. I try to convey to anybody that I have the pleasure of guiding through their career or even life, and that’s what I plan to tell my son once he gets off of Youtube.

Outside of 66degrees, who are you, and what are you passionate about?

I’m the same person at work or home, and there is no difference. I think that has helped me sustain the effort I put into my work for the time I have. There is no switch to turn on and off, and I can be myself. The only difference there may be is that I have a work family and my real family, and I also don’t golf when I work unless I’m paid to do so. 

Tommy Bliven Photo Collage 2

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