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Porter pursues education, training


For 20 years, Thomas C. Porter & Associates worked to help companies tell their current and potential customers who they are.

Now, with the public relations and advertising agency that bore his name sold, Thomas Porter is creating a new company that focuses on helping students learn who they are and discover how to better market themselves.

His company, which he is attempting to build with his son, Marshall, is called “Think Like Soap.” The name, as Porter describes it, is derived from an English soap maker who realized that soap was a commodity product and took steps to market his soap under a unique name, an early stab at branding.

“He was the first who recognized that he needed to differentiate his soap from all the others, and that is what I am doing,” Porter said. “Businesses and recruiters look at students as a commodity. I am helping them to basically package themselves, giving them information about their strengths and weaknesses, and packaging that information and matching them with the appropriate company.”

So far, Porter has been testing his offering at the University of Iowa. He conducted one three-hour seminar last year that 160 students paid $20 apiece to attend. He did another one five months later that attracted 230 students, he said.

Porter’s program is intended to help students discover their natural strengths, and use those talents to secure solid employment. It involves a textbook, a workbook, a Web site and lectures. Porter is still writing the textbook and workbook, and he’s looking for as much as $500,000 from investors if he decides to create a video to go along with the program.

“Humans are very adaptable, and unlike other species, we end up doing things we’re really not naturally good at but that we put up with because we’re so adapatable,” he said. “You will only truly excel at those areas where you have natural abilities.”  

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