Former Columbia Sportswear CMO Stuart Redsun on Seeking Brand Truth
Stuart Redsun, former CMO of Columbia Sportswear Company, has worked with a lot of cool brands in his career, to include Nike, Gateway, Motorola, Sony, Under Armour and the portfolio of brands at Columbia Sportswear Company (Columbia, Sorel, Mountain Hardwear and prAna). He decided to take a time out to further broaden his perspective by consulting with a variety of consumer brands and agencies, as well as teach a branding course at his alma mater University of Oregon because “just the ability to give back and then inspire others to continually learn is fun”. I couldn’t agree more! So before Professor Redsun takes on his next CMO role, I thought I’d grab him for a few minutes to hear more about what he’s learned recently and what advice he has for others who are growing in their careers.
The first piece of advice Stu gives is continually make moves that build on your experience in different functions and / or different industries. He started his career at Nike and spent 11 years experiencing Advertising, Retail Marketing and International Business. “One of the things that helped me early in my career was I volunteered for things and would spend nights and weekends working extra because I wanted to learn, I wanted to do more. I wanted to show what else I could do and gain the trust in the leader.”
The second big piece of advice Stu gives is make sure you understand every touch point you have with your consumer. It’s what prompted him to leave Nike to go to Gateway, which at the time was equal in sales (~ $10B), but was 100 percent direct response and where “you knew with every execution throughout the marketing funnel, what drove return”. With the market shifting to mobile, Stu then joined Motorola and historically changed the marketing of mobile phones globally with the launch of RAZR. But more importantly, “it was a great thing for me to learn for the first time how much momentum marketing can create just internally with people stopping you in the halls and being so proud of working for the brand.”
Hence, Brand Truth. Since Motorola, Stu went on to Sony, then Under Armour and then Columbia Sportswear Company, where “Brand Truth” couldn’t be clearer. Join us in this fascinating conversation about Brand Truth, what it is, how to find it, how to apply it to bring not only consumer loyalty, but employee loyalty. Also hear Stu’s top advice for what to do in your first CMO role, how to gain credibility and leave your own mark. “I learned from previous roles you could come in and just start executing, but you really need to have that support at the top before you start making moves as a CMO.”