Change Agent

Change Agents 2016: Lindsay Cook, Joe Fresh

Crafting a global brand

Canadian Business: Change Agents 2016
Lindsay Cook
Lindsay Cook

Lindsay Cook

Senior Director, Global Marketing, Joe Fresh

Follow: @JoeFresh

Why she matters: Crafting a global brand for Canada’s fast-fashion label

Lindsay Cook was headed for the courts when a summer job changed the course of her career. In university and thinking about becoming a lawyer, Cook took an internship in the brand marketing division of Loblaw Companies. “That was the TSN Turning Point,” she jokes. “I felt like I had been introduced to this whole new world of marketing. It was a nice mix of business strategy and creative thinking, and I completely fell in love.”

These days, Cook is senior director of global marketing at Joe Fresh, Loblaw’s popular fast-fashion label. She’s also one of the discipline’s most rewarded young practitioners, being included in Marketing Magazine’s 2012 30 Under 30, among other accolades. Cook earned them by staying aware of the competition, seeking out creative minds inside and outside the industry, and continuously pushing the envelope. “One of the best parts of being a marketer is doing that big idea dump,” she says. “If we had no barriers or roadblocks, what would we want to do? Then the fun part is actually figuring out how to make it happen.”

Cook joined Loblaw full time in 2007, starting in the signage and events team, and climbing her way through the marketing department from there. More recently, she worked on Joe Fresh’s U.S. expansion, and moved to New York, where she helped with the launch of the brand’s six stand-alone stores. “It was nice to see the brand grow in that space outside the grocery store and pop up in more urban markets,” says Cook. “Getting a sense of the landscape [in New York], working in one of the biggest and most relevant cities for retail and having that broader international focus has been great.”

The U.S. expansion didn’t quite work out as planned; Joe Fresh closed the last of its New York outlets in June. But Cook has had plenty to do—the team has been working on refreshing the look of the store-in-grocery-store locations, with 54 completed in 2015. “We really hadn’t touched that space since launch, and it was time to give it a facelift,” says Cook.

Cook isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, and she’s keen to tackle new ones: Joe Fresh already has a presence in places like South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, and in March 2015, it was reported that the brand intended to open 140 locations in 23 countries over the following four years. Cook won’t say much about these international plans, though it’s likely she’ll have a big part to play in them. Whatever she’s tasked with, Cook will attack it with enthusiasm and determination. “The space is constantly evolving. As marketers, we have to be agile and be able to adapt to new disciplines.”

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