Chief Brand Officer
GE, Café, Monogram and Haier Appliances
Bob Park is the Chief Brand Officer for GE, Café, Monogram and Haier Appliances in Canada. In addition to corporate communications and branding, his responsibility encompasses strategy, public relations, digital, advertising, promotions, and E-Commerce initiatives.
Drawing on more than 15 years of B2B/B2C sales and marketing experience, including leadership roles with globally recognized home electronics and computer brands, he is a proponent of digital innovation as well as a retail execution strategist. While at Samsung, Bob was the architect for successful product launches such as large format commercial displays as well as personal laser printer technology. He most recently led the Café brand of luxury appliances to prominence in the Canadian market utilizing next- generation data science to drive innovative digital content and campaigns.
CMO Council: What past experiences have best prepared you for the Chief Brand Officer role?
Park: Firstly, being a jack of all trades. I’ve had the benefit of being a car jockey for rental cars, purchasing computer peripherals, all the way to managing multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. I think the breadth of these experiences has contributed to allowing me to have a unique perspective and depth of knowledge. One statement I’m frequently caught making to our team is ‘put yourself in the mind of the consumer’. For example, the appliance industry in recent years has evolved as one that is providing more tech forward features such as WiFi connectability. Coming from a background in the IT industry has provided me with a unique insight into what a consumer is looking for and subsequently a good idea of how to market to them.
Secondly, the advantage of having been around so many talented mentors with diverse backgrounds, styles and experiences. I can’t begin to describe how educational and impactful this has been in shaping my own approach and style as a business leader.
CMO Council: How do you describe your leadership style?
Park: A better question might be ‘what leadership style do you aspire to?’. At the core of my philosophy is continuous improvement and evolution as leadership, individual or team success is a constant effort and a work in progress. I also think it’s important for me to have a clear idea of how the future should look and translate that vision into reality. Adaptability and empowerment are also key, as I’d be remiss not to point out that this style is complemented by major contributions from the team.
CMO Council: What are some of the secrets to better collaboration with peers in the C-suite and lines of business?
Park: I would say what has helped me most is understanding their business. Think of each line of business as visiting a new country. You’re a visitor, it’s highly unlikely they will learn your language so the onus is on you to pick up the local dialect. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced many different areas, I can often relate with different perspectives. For example, having spent time in a sales role has made me a much more complete marketer as it allowed me to really appreciate the ‘voice of the customer’. As a result my conversations with sales leaders have been much smoother. Even if you cannot spend time in a particular role, it’s important to be aware of alternate viewpoints. Successful collaboration starts with an effort to speak the same language.
CMO Council: Marketing is undergoing a transformation with an emphasis on the digital channel, empowered buyer, fragmented customer journey, etc. How are you adapting?
Park: This is really an exciting time. More recently, our focus has been on data and our use of it. Today’s successful marketer is part data scientist, part artist. The science begins with the premise that not all data is good data. Marketing data is a minefield of unstructured and semi-structured information, none of which will provide you with a conclusive measurement. Taking that into consideration, we’ve spent a lot of time and resource to refine our data mining, predictive and statistical modelling. Although we’re only scraping the surface, our understanding of the entire customer journey has made us considerably better artists. Constantly refining our ability to speak to consumers where they are with meaningful, engaging content has had a distinct impact on our efficiency and more importantly sales growth.
CMO Council: What market shifts and trends are impacting customer and competitive dynamics in your industry?
Park: For the appliance industry, the pandemic has had a significant impact. Recently consumers have been pointing many of their disposable spending dollars around home improvement. Correspondingly we’ve seen some tremendous growth. As time progresses, where it wasn’t always the case- the propensity of consumers to purchase major appliances online is exponentially increasing. The appliance industry has been largely fueled by traditional bricks and mortar. With this explosion of e-commerce I believe the manufacturers that are able to quickly adapt with automation and digital solutions will be the most successful.