AHAA Annual Conference | Joakim Wijkstrom
If the Shakespearean question “What’s in a name?” would apply, PEI’s new Chief Marketing Officer would be a hard one to crack. Joakim Wijkstrom. Really. And how would you pronounce that Sir?
“It’s really not that complicated: the j in Wijkstrom is silent. And here in Miami most people know how to pronounce Joakim. For those of you not fortunate enough to be bi-lingual, Kim will do just fine,” explains Wijkstrom.
Born to Swedish parents in Liberia, West Africa, the name question seems perpetual:
“As me and my siblings grew up in such an international environment, my Mother wanted to make sure we all had names that would work in most languages. My sister Lotta and I are still trying to figure out exactly what languages she had in mind,” says Wijkstrom.
Although majoring in Art History at Georgetown, marketing was always of interest:
“I would argue that advertising is an integral part of the contemporary art tapestry that surrounds us. I’m not trying to be pretentious about what I do: advertisings role is obviously to build brands in order to sell more products. But I also believe that when it’s done right it’s pretty close to art,” explains Wijkstrom and continues:
“I also realize that I have been very fortunate with the clients I have had the pleasure to work with. Absolut Vodka, Apple and Volkswagen are advertising icons and it’s been wonderful to be part of developing those campaigns.”
Making the move over from the agency side to the client’s is a rather big one. Why client and why now?
“I loved being on the agency side because you get exposed to such a variety of industries. Other than the campaigns I mentioned, I’ve also worked on Guitar Hero, Nextel, Alliance for Climate Protection, just to mention a few. On the down side, you never get to fully experience the effects of your work. Creating a campaign is like being a midwife. Once the baby is ready and launched you have to leave it behind. I’m very excited to be here at PEI and finally be allowed to follow the campaigns as they run their course,” says Wijkstrom.
Joakim also points out that having the Creative Department in-house makes him feel like he still has one foot back in the agency world:
“It’s a great team we have here and I believe that our Creative Department, in cooperation with the external agencies we employ, makes us very strong from a marketing perspective.”
On his general vision when it comes to marketing, Wijkstrom says:
“It is very simple: Good marketing builds strong brands. And strong brands sell more products. That’s it. There will always be the eternal struggle between marketing and sales on how to define marketing spend: is it a cost or an investment? I’m not talking specifically about PEI, this is a general rule. It’s my job to insure that it’s an investment.”
Wijkstrom’s interest in the fine arts, his keen eye for ad aesthetics and love for creative copywriting is also highly visible in his number one source of inspiration and creativity:
“I love KISS. Always have. Always will. Remember, I grew up in a small mining town in the middle of the jungle in Africa. There was no TV, no movie theater. The first time I saw a KISS album my world changed. And I’ve never looked back. Also, as we’re talking about marketing and strong brands here: KISS is the self-proclaimed biggest brand in rock and roll. And I agree with them.”
CMO Fireside Chat With Joakim Wijkstrom, CMO, Perry Ellis, International
Wednesday, October 12 4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Join us as we dive into the mind of Joakim "Kim" Wijkstrom, CMO of
Hispanic-owned Perry Ellis International, Inc. A leading designer,
distributor and licensor of men's and women's apparel,
accessories and fragrances, PEI has a sophisticated U.S. Hispanic
marketing platform. The company owns multiple internationally
brands and continues to successfully cater to the Hispanic market.