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Q&A with James McArdle, Global Transformative Business Leader

1) Can you offer a quick overview of your company and your role within the organization?

My current role as Managing Director, Stokke US & Canada is to drive a turnaround in the North American business for this premium Norwegian children’s brand – best known for its iconic ‘Tripp Trapp’ high chair. When I joined, I realized that a fundamental change of approach was required locally for Stokke. The business needed to be rebuilt essentially from the ground up. My strategy has been to create, nurture and direct a very strong but lean team to reenergize the brand’s equity. We have worked hard to deliver an outstanding consumer experience by addressing every link in that chain. We have now rebuilt – sustainably – from the ground up and so far delivered EBIT growth of +287% in just two years.

2) Can you elaborate on your brands’ marketing campaigns?

We have moved to a digital-first approach while not ignoring some select forms of traditional marketing. In the global organization, we have become an internal model of how to leverage limited resources to for example digitally micro-target our potential consumer. At the same time, our hybrid investment in giving away 400 Tripp Trapp’s on The Ellen Show and maximizing the related digital campaign produced tremendous results. Such strategies, together with introducing such classic tactics as including new consumer-targeted catalogs along with all DTC shipped products are initiatives that cumulatively make the difference!

3) What do you consider the biggest challenges for the Sales Team these days? 

The single thing that underpins most of our challenges is keeping pace with the rapidly evolving retail environment. While still supporting a traditional four-wall wholesale customer, we must also support retailers’ digital push together with developing our own DTC channels… not the least of which is the particularly dynamic world that is Amazon. Digital POS is now even more important than physical POS and the development of suitable assets & training has been a local priority.

4) How does your company’s culture impact its Sales?

As a Norwegian company, Stokke HO has a different way of working than a North American based company. The pace of product development and their relative sense of urgency can sometimes be a sales challenge. However, there’s an inherent desire for authenticity, natural sourcing and quality of design that permeates throughout the Norwegian culture. This very identity and those cultural values underpin sales as we thus have a unique brand voice. It is the very voice that elevates us to the consumer above brands merely selling even a competitive stroller or high chair. For me, it’s really important to work with brand values that you and your team can be passionate about building.

Together, we embrace the fact that every day you start again – it’s fun being agile – I and the team love to win!

About James McArdle – LinkedIn

James McArdle is a global leader and change agent whose career is focused on driving revenue growth, building sustainable brand equity, transforming underperforming businesses and delivering outstanding financial results.

If you’d like to learn more about working with James, contact Shannon Silsby – shannon@beperpetual.com.