At the end of any email from Erich Parker, you’ll see five small words: "’Creativity takes courage.’- Henri Matisse.”
Erich knows something about courage. He has taken a business that hadn’t advertised for several years and successfully galvanized thirteen divisions to form a global communications strategy which includes Ad-Funded Content, Targeted Digital Activity, Events and a Series of 2-minute Advertorials that tell stories of Innovation between DuPont and its customers.
In the process, he transformed a brand primarily aligned with science to a recognized force in innovation and collaboration. Through Erich’s extraordinary efforts, DuPont is re-defining its position in the global economy.
“Welcome to the Global Collaboratory” has been introduced as the company tagline and the work is built largely on content partnerships and thought leadership. However, Erich admits that marketing multi-nationally is fraught with challenges.
He says, “There are the obvious challenges of messaging that perfectly suits one culture, but is wildly inappropriate for another. And that issue goes far beyond copy translation or transcreation, largely tactical tasks. To me, the bigger challenge is part of a business imperative to understand the nuances, the zeitgeist of a country or region. Of course, the dominance of digital communication is rapidly breaking down those defining differences. Perhaps in years to come, multi-national marketing will be a lot more straightforward . . . not on my watch . . . but certainly in the decades to come.”
The son of a US Navy Admiral, Erich Parker has spent most of his early life moving nearly every year. He confesses, “I remain quite skilled at packing a suitcase or a box. My first foray into communicating for a living was as a tenor on concert and opera stages. I don’t see that as very different from what I do today. I’m just not wearing a wig and lugging around a 20-pound costume.”
It’s easy to see why he’s passionate about international marketing. “I have traveled the world-–-warmly welcomed into the stick and palm frond houses of farmers in Vietnam, accepted by the family of a salmon fisherman in Chile as if I were a favorite uncle, greeted with smiles and hugs by graduate students studying energy conservation in the U.A.E.-–-and I find cultural and ideological differences notwithstanding, we’re all pretty much the same at our core. I love creating marketing campaigns that find those messages that resonate across borders, while respecting what is unique in a culture. It’s affirming and heaps of fun.”
It’s easy to see why Erich Parker is brand champion: “I strongly believe in the power of a brand that forms the basis of a relationship with an organization, a product, or a person. Given the cacophony of noise in today’s communications landscape, brand is more important than it has ever been.”
When asked if such an internationalist had any recent adventures, Erich’s list was a long one: “Let’s see,” he said, “A flooded hotel room near the Mekong Delta, herding sheep about to ruin a documentary film shot, finding myself unwittingly locked in a windowless room in a leather goods stall in a Shanghai market . . . . Shall I continue?”
Yes, Erich Parker. Please continue…