AlumniDec 7, 2022Campus News
By:Julia Gavigan ’23, student correspondent

Alumni Spotlight: Phil Grieco '00

Alumnus turns passion for communicating into career in marketing.
The University of Scranton Seal juxtaposed against a purple background and a man standing in the middle of a street.
“The professors had eyes on you; you weren’t just a number. ... That shaped who I am today."- Phil Grieco ’00, senior director of Brand Strategy and Consumer Insights at Monster Energy

By: Julia Gavigan ’23, student correspondent 

When Phil Grieco ’00, the senior director of Brand Strategy and Consumer Insights at Monster Energy, was an undergraduate at The University of Scranton, he already knew he had a passion for communicating with others.

“Nothing else spoke to me besides communications,” he said. “I loved talking to people and public speaking. I was so drawn to it.”

While working toward a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies, Grieco was impressed by the University’s emphasis on the Jesuit value of cura personalis, or care for the whole person. That level of attention to his wellbeing helped prepare him for his remarkable career.

“It felt like people had eyes on you,” Grieco said. “The professors had eyes on you; you weren’t just a number.

“I felt like there was a personal touch.”

He also learned the value of trying new things and meeting new people.

“That shaped who I am today,” he said.

Grieco started his career in public relations at MFA Marketing and Public Relations, a small agency now known as Finn Partners in New York City. At MFA, he worked with clients like Burton Snowboards and Timex Watches. He then switched companies in 2003 and began to work for Octagon, a sports marketing agency, as a senior account executive in Public Relations and Marketing. At Octagon, he was exposed to the inner workings of the sports marketing industry. In 2007, he became senior brand manager of Mars, the world’s leading manufacturer of chocolate, where he learned “everything from brand positioning to how to market.”

“Who is the target consumer?” Grieco said. “What is our brand? What is our message? And how are we going to go out, make it relevant, stay top of mind and build loyalty?”

At Mars, Grieco directed multimillion-dollar NASCAR and NFL partnerships across multiple brands, including M&Ms, Snickers, Pedigree, Doublemint, JuicyFruit, Skittles and Starburst. He continued to utilize the line of questioning he developed at Mars when he began working for the National Basketball Association, where he drove sponsorship deals for NBA, WNBA and G League teams to maximize revenue growth. During his time with the NBA, he also worked directly with the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans.

In 2016, Grieco moved across the country to the West Coast to work as the director of Global Marketing for GoPro, where he shaped the global marketing strategy of all GoPro brand partnerships, including Under Armour, BMW, Mattel, Toyota and Red Bull.

In his current position at Monster Energy, Grieco is responsible for overseeing strategic marketing and innovation initiatives.

“I get to work more closely with our leadership because I sit at the hub of our data,” he said. “They constantly want to know how we are doing, how are we performing, what’s up, what’s down, why is this retailer down, and why is this brand down.”

“Sometimes you can find it in the data; sometimes you need to find that information through a conversation with a stakeholder, or custom research, and that’s why data is so important.”

Throughout the creative process, Grieco says it’s imperative to listen to the wants and needs of the consumer in order to create a successful brand. One of the many projects that Grieco has been involved in at Monster Energy that exemplifies his ability to respond to the demands of his consumers was the launch of True North Energy seltzer, an organic, plant-based seltzer. The research into the target audience and goals of the launch began two years ago with the emerging popularity of regular and spiked seltzers. Starting with a research brief, Grieco and his teams discovered there was a growing interest in healthy seltzers, which eventually resulted in the creation of True North.  

Grieco was also involved in the creation of Reign, a performance energy drink and one of Grieco’s most successful beverages at Monster Energy. The 300 mg caffeine-infused beverage was launched three years ago to compete against Bang Energy drink, and, within 18 months, it became a $300 million brand. Today, it generates $450 million in retail sales annually.

As demonstrated by the products he’s launched at Monster Energy, the key to Grieco’s success is simply listening to and understanding the people around him. By caring for the needs of his consumers and embracing a form of corporatized cura personalis, Grieco proves that paying attention to each individual can benefit both one’s personal and professional lives.

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