UT alumna, Taco Bell VP of digital innovation speaks about branding, dreaming big

Mikaela Cannizzo

UT alumna Tressie Lieberman spoke about her journey from advertising student to vice president of digital innovation and on demand for Taco Bell on Thursday night.

In her talk, Lieberman discussed how she built a brand for herself in both her personal and professional life. Learning how to dream big and take risks in college helped her achieve success in her current position at Taco Bell, Lieberman said.

“My personal vision at work is to see what could be in myself, others and [the] business and make it happen through kindness, passion and creativity,” Lieberman said.

Tasked with creating the digital brand and social media presence of Taco Bell, Lieberman said she has developed ways to engage with the community.

“We set up this big vision to be the most relevant brand,” Lieberman said.

Taco Bell is often recognized for its social media presence. When the company developed a Taco Bell app that allows customers to order food, it deleted all social media posts for a day to direct fans to the new app.

Taco Bell also received attention when it was the first major brand to promote its business through Snapchat.

While she emphasized the importance of interacting with fans and producing innovative content, Lieberman said she believes digital natives have an advantage in the workforce.

“Digital natives are going to be better at their jobs than a lot of people who have been at it for a long time,” Lieberman said. “Technology is changing everything, so understanding how that’s going to influence marketing and advertising is critical.”

Speak, a student-run organization, hosted the presentation as its debut event in a semester-long lineup of speakers. Andrew Watts, management information systems junior and Speak president, said he wants to highlight companies that have not been represented on campus.

“I really want to find speakers and companies that are making a genuine impact,” Watts said. “Students can learn from them and hopefully apply their lessons to their own lives so they can make an impact as well.”

Heath Farrell, management information systems senior and Speak member, said he wanted to attend the event because of his interest in technology and Lieberman’s award-winning campaigns.

“I like learning how her classes and her time here at UT helped her develop into the role she has at Taco Bell,” Farrell said.