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Mazda Appoints Chief Marketing Officer in Upmarket Push

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Mazda’s North American Operations has named Dino Bernacchi as its chief marketing officer, a position created specifically to aid the automaker in establishing itself as a premium brand.

The manufacturer has taken steps to ditch its economical heritage for nearly a year as it pushes upmarket. Model redesigns have followed a cohesive, sleek trend while the company zeroes in on a future “premium, pricey modelâ€� to secure its new identity.

Until then, image is everything for Mazda. The brand doesn’t seem interested in swapping over to a luxury-focused lineup or changing its production philosophy. While Mazda had what was arguably the most aesthetically appealing booth at the New York auto show (even if Porsche and Volvo had the better snacks), most of its vehicles still start below $25,000. 

Bernacchi’s job will be to help shift the brand toward a more exclusive image, perhaps rationalizing a bump in price. According to Mazda, his duties begin with analyzing customer interactions from the “earliest discovery phase,” all the way through purchasing and ownership. Mazda will use that data to build superior brand perception, likely through marketing and not through a slew of expensive new models.

Mazda doesn’t want to rock the boat too much, but it’s noticed its demographic has grown in prosperity in recent years and its buyers now expect more. The challenge will be in making buyers believe the current product is suddenly worth paying more. Bernacchi should have no trouble with this, as he was previously employed as the marketing director for Harley-Davidson.

“As customer tastes and expectations change, and Mazda moves itself to a new, more premium, position in the industry, it is critical that Mazda be laser-focused in our approach to how we tell our proud brand story at every touchpoint in the customer’s journey with us,� Mazda North American Operations CEO Masahiro Moro said in the official announcement. “Dino’s leadership experience in doing exactly that in the past is why he is perfectly suited for this role at Mazda.�

[Image: Mazda]

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