In November 2021 Stokke’s CMO Helene Abel Hansen called me to ask me if I would be interested to take on the role of Global Brand Communication Director on an interim basis. Her arguments: you know the organization well, you developed our new marketing campaign planning en development processes in your previous project, so you are the ideal person to roll out our new way of working into the global organization. It didn’t take long to make a decision and I started this interesting and challenging journey on January 2nd, 2022.
Stokke and their challenge
My assignment had 3 different focus areas: (1) day to day management of the Global Brand Communication team, (2) implementation of the new way of working around the development of global campaigns and roll-out to local markets, and (3) at a later stage onboarding my permanent successor.
Day to day management of the Global Brand Communication team
Despite the minimal handover via Teams due to the covid lock-down in Norway in December 2021, I owned the job from day one. I as more than once surprised by the things I found om my path, which I dealt with in a pragmatic way. My main tasks and those I initiated included:
- Keeping the global marketing calendar up to date in consultation with Product Management and the S&OP responsible and updating local markets and channels specialist.
- Monitor the campaign planning, balancing demand from within the organization with team capacity and setting the right priorities in production.
- Keeping the team motivated and happy being a good listener and follow up issues with concrete actions.
- Available team capacity optimization redistributing tasks and responsibilities.
- With one of the brand communication managers dropping out, hands-on management of campaign concept and asset development. And, support the other brand communication managers.
- Improve the mutual was of working with our creative agency, i.a. as a result of a joint definition of our working process and using different project conditions.
- Direction in the execution of a couple of branding and marketing projects I worked on together with the CMO: development of the brand platform (brand positioning) of the newly acquired Babyzen brand. Development of the Stokke brand book in line with the new brand identity. And the development of Stokke’s brand strategy and strategic roadmap.
- Rolling out the brand guidelines in line with the new brand identity.
- Proactive contribution to optimizing the CRM activities and strengthen the e-commerce development roadmap for Stokke.com.
Implementation of a new campaign development way of working
I managed to succesfully implement the consumer and customer insights-driven way of working, taking a staged approach:
- Further detailing and refinement of the process flowcharts I delivered in 2021 based upon intensive conversations I had with the team.
- Knowledge with the wider marketing and stakeholder community.
- Workshops with in individual departments as stakeholders for their specific processes.
- Start with the new way of working for both the 2023 marketing budget cycle and the campaigns planned for the second half of 2022.
Onboarding my permanent successor
As my own onboarding back in December 2021 was quite minimal, I decided to do a solid hand-over with my successor:
- The basis: an extensive document with all relevant topics and links to related processes, documents and files on Sharepoint.
- Next, I planned a 1-week on-site onboarding program at Stokke HQ in Ålesund, Norway. Part of the onboarding were multiple 1-on-1 sessions with my successor as well as 1-on-1 introductions between her and her team members.
- Plus, the offer of being available for any questions or information after I finished my assignment.
During my interim period of some 6 months I managed to achieve the following deliverables:
- Strenghtened the agility of the current Global Brand Communication team, redistributing tasks and responsibilities.
- A business/value case for expanding the team in order to create true balance following increased demand for campaigns and assets over the past two years.
- Development of omnichannel global campaigns and roll-out to local markets following the marketing/campaign launch calendar.
- Clear insights in the status of campaign development and related budget.
- Smooth integration of the Babyzen team in the existing Stokke team structure.
- Improved cooperation with the lead creative agency and strenghtened MSA contract conditions.
- Translate the new Stokke brand identity into brand guidelines for different channels (work in progress).
- Version 1.0 delivery of the Stokke brand book following the new brand identity and positioning.
- Delivery of the new Babyzen brand platform (brand positioning).
- Development of the new brand strategy with a distinctive ‘big idea’ as the cornerstone including implementation roadmap (work in progress).
- Business transformation with the implementation of a new way of working for campaign calendar planning and campaign development in the global organization with consumer insights as the starting point. End-to-end in the entire value chain of internal and external stakeholders.
- Project backlog for further optimization of a range of sub-processes like ‘translations’ and ‘packaging design’.
- Smooth handover and jump start for my permanent successor.