Home Hardware looks to the future with new marketing VP

Rick McNabb tapped with helping the home improvement retailer strengthen its brand

Home Hardware is hammering out its future marketing strategy with the appointment of Rick McNabb, a veteran in the brand and home improvement businesses, as its new vice-president of marketing and sales.

McNabb, who starts March 7, is being tapped to help strengthen the hardware chain’s brand and to help it build market share in the increasingly competitive home improvement retail space.

“This hire was really a commitment to Home Hardware dealer-owners to say ‘We know it’s a competitive retail landscape  …. We’ve gone out and found a proven leader to come in and provide marketing and sales operations leadership to help us grow our business’,” says Rob Wallace, Home Hardware’s director of marketing, who will report to McNabb.

Home Hardware, is a cooperative and Canada’s largest independent home improvement retailer. It has about 1,100 stores across Canada under the Home Hardware, Home Building Centre, Home Hardware Building Centre and Home Furniture banners.

McNabb’s family has run the Home Building Centre (formerly Beaver Lumber) in Parry Sound, Ont. for nearly 40 years. He has worked in the family business, including during the past couple of years, and in the past has been a franchise owner and co-chief operating officer within Cara Operations, which includes quick-service restaurants such as Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s. McNabb was a vice-president at Ted Bates Advertising in the late 1980s, and was a brand manager at Quaker Oats and Bristol-Myers earlier in his career.

Home Hardware is still mapping out its future marketing strategy, alongside Havas Worldwide, its agency of record, but Wallace says it will include a stronger digital presence, as well as a continuation of its traditional television and print campaigns.

“We know that we have a strong marketing program, but what we’d like to do is take the marketing program and make it more tactical on the retail sales front,” says Wallace.

He wouldn’t provide specific details, citing competitive reasons, but Wallace says the brand is seeking to better align its current marketing efforts, including digital and social media. They are unlikely to skimp on traditional media, though.

“We absolutely will maintain traditional marketing,” says Wallace. “Our traditional advertising and marketing programs have been very effective … but we do recognize that many consumers are looking for digital. We are looking at every possible way to ensure that we keep our sales objectives and marketing initiatives front and centre.”

Wallace says the company will also stick with its grassroots community approach to marketing, which underscores the relationship between dealers and customers.

In addition, Home Hardware says Dunc Wilson, who has been acting vice-president operations, will take on a new role as executive director of retail sales and support. He will report to McNabb.


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