There’s no denying times are tough for smartphone maker HTC, with sliding revenues and shrinking margins — and no let up expected for Q4. But the company is aiming to put a new public face on its situation next year: it’s announced the appointment of a new chief marketing officer, Benjamin Ho, who will join in January — replacing current CMO, John Wang, who HTC confirmed will be stepping down.
Ho, who will report directly to HTC CEO Peter Chou, will lead the company “into its next phase of brand marketing and awareness”, said HTC, with responsibility for worldwide marketing and branding. His first assignment will be to lead a project “dubbed internally as Marketing 2.0” — which the company qualified vaguely as a plan to refocus its efforts around “holistic marketing and mass-market brand outreach”. It added that Jason Mackenzie, currently serving as its president of global sales and marketing, will focus on global sales strategy.
It’s not entirely clear whether Ho’s appointment signals a new direction for HTC’s product strategy, or just a fresh way of talking about what it does. HTC’s marketing has been rather understated at times — typified by its ‘quietly brilliant’ slogan. In a market as fiercely competitive as smartphones, it’s arguable that a bolder marketing approach is called for.
“We welcome Benjamin to HTC and look forward to integrating the global marketing capabilities he brings to the company,” said Chou in a statement. “Our growing brand, centered around our world-class innovation and design capabilities, will provide a global platform not just for HTC, but for Taiwan culture and innovation.”
Ho was previously VP of business strategy and marketing at Far EasTone Telecommunications, and served as VP and chief marketing officer at Motorola Asia Pacific Ltd, as well as previously being director at BBDO Greater China, Dentsu and Young and Rubicam International. He earned a Business Studies and Marketing Diploma in Stamford College Singapore.