Degree(s): BJ '68
What do you do?
I’m the managing partner of a marketing and communications consultancy, Rivkin & Associates LLC. We do marketing, positioning, naming, identity and crisis communications work for clients across the country.
How did you get your job?
I founded the business in 1989. Everything in my background – freelance writer, trade magazine editor, corporate communications staffer, advertising agency executive – helped prepare me for it.
What is the best professional lesson you learned at the J-School?
Get to the heart of the topic and express it simply. In a letter to a young friend, Mark Twin once wrote: “I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words, and brief sentences. That is the way to write English. It is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it.” Perfect advice.
What advice do you have for current students?
Stay curious. Learn about social psychology, human behavior, body language, cultural differences. You’ll become a better listener and a better observer.
What is your favorite J-School memory?
Working on The Maneater, 1966-68, with Larry Van Dyne, Steve Scott, Fraser Seitel and others. I was the paper’s business manager, 1967-68.
Any parting comments?
To continue the shamelessly self-promotional theme:
- I’ve co-authored six books on marketing and communications strategy, published by McGraw-Hill, Wiley and Oxford University Press.
- I’m a frequent speaker on marketing and communications topics, and have appeared at hundreds of seminars and conferences in the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia.
- After my book The Making of a Name was published, Asian Brand News described me as “America’s leading nameologist.”
- I am a senior fellow in Health Communications and Marketing Strategy for the Estes Park Institute, a leading healthcare educational organization.
Updated: November 10, 2011