RedBalloon today announced the appointment of Nick Baker as its new CEO. Baker joins RedBalloon after seven years as chief marketing officer of Tourism Australia.
Baker, who was named as the Australian Marketing Institute’s Marketer of the Year in 2014, ended his seven-year stint at Tourism Australia at the end of January and claims he was drawn to the entrepreneurial role at RedBalloon due to it being a “very marketing and consumer-focused company.”
Baker starts his role at the gift experience company on Monday, replacing the current CEO, Kristie Buchanan, who is leaving to start a family.
Fresh from camping in in the snowy Grand Canyon with his family, British marketer Baker told B&T how he plans to expand and grow the business, which already offers more than 3000 unique experiences from in excess of one thousand providers across Australia and New Zealand.
Baker said: “The foremost thing is to really understand the consumer and suppliers, and how the consumer is working today and how we need to go out to market with them.
“I really need to get my feet in there and look under the bonnet a bit to see what channels they’re using.
“One of the things that has drawn me to RedBalloon, apart from it being a very successful company, is that it’s a very marketing and consumer-focused company, and they’re obviously spaces that I know and enjoy.
“And also the use of technology, they’ve done very well there and that’s something that’s going to be very interesting to continue to be part of. Data is a way of informing what we do – it’s the really important one – and I’m really looking forward to seeing the data and analytics behind RedBalloon.
“I think you still need that massive absolute sort of customer-centricity focus in an entity like that when there are lots of other people out there and they’ve done a great job so far in looking after the customer, and I think as that changes with the use of devices and how you interact and engage with customers changes, we want to make sure that we’re there.”
RedBalloon is jointly owned by Naomi Simson and Peter Simson, who both sit on the board as non-executive directors, and offers everything from shark dives for thrill-seeker, to cookery classes for the culinary connoisseur.
“I look forward to be able to trial the experiences,” laughed Baker. “I quite like the idea of the micro brewers course, and a photography one – and the more traditional activities like fishing. Although driving a Ferrari or Lamborghini would be fun!”
Baker had a highly successful record as CMO of Tourism Australia. He took over in the wake of the ‘So Where the Bloody Hell Are You?’ campaign, and went on to create and manage three of its most successful campaigns, as well as high-profile events, including bringing Oprah Winfrey to Australia.
During his time at Tourism Australia, visitor numbers to Australia grew steadily and it is Baker’s ability to further grow business that RedBalloon is counting on.
He added: “I had many highlights at Tourism Australia but the last one I think was the development of the campaign and strategy around Restaurant Australia. And doing Oprah, as showing the power of the big idea to rally teams behind was fantastic and just getting a brand that everyone could stand behind for years and years like Australia was really pivotal in terms of how that area developed.
He added: “RedBalloon is obviously a very successful company with a very strong brand and my first job is to get in there and look at what’s been going on, how they go about their business and get a really good solid understanding of it. And then hopefully to work together with the team to expand and grow the business.”
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