Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, best known as the makers of Sunbrella fabrics, announced the hiring of Steve Pawl, a seasoned marketing strategist with more than 20 years of experience building international consumer brands, as its first Chief Marketing Officer.
As CMO, Pawl, who has a strong track record of developing growth strategies and strengthening brands for global companies including Husqvarna Group, Fruit of the Loom, Newell Brands and Pfizer, will direct the global brand strategy, positioning and activation for Sunbrella as well as other trade brands within Custom Fabrics. He will also support Glen Raven marketing initiatives across the company's global footprint. This elevated leadership position reflects the increased emphasis Glen Raven is placing on building connections with end-purchasers to drive preference and strengthening demand-creation programs to increase sell-through of products featuring Sunbrella. In this new role, Pawl is charged with identifying new opportunities and delivering compelling solutions for a brand that has revolutionized the way the world thinks about how fabrics look, feel and perform.
"The breadth and depth of Steve’s work in building global consumer brands in a variety of industries is a perfect fit for the first CMO of Sunbrella,” said David Swers, President and Chief Operating Officer of Glen Raven Custom Fabrics. "As Sunbrella continues its growth trajectory, this position is a natural step in expanding the brand across complex markets globally. Through Steve's leadership and proven ability to craft new purpose-driven brand strategies, we will continue our commitment to building stronger connections with our partners and end-users."
Pawl was most recently Vice President of eCommerce for Husqvarna Group, where he also served as Vice President of brand and product marketing for the company’s Consumer Brands Division. As marketing and product management leader for the $1 billion global division, Pawl crafted strategy for Husqvarna Group’s retail brand portfolio, including repositioning and refreshing its brands and developing innovation roadmaps.
"My focus as CMO for an iconic brand like Sunbrella is to work with the commercial, design and marketing teams to sharpen the Sunbrella brand positioning so we communicate a clear brand promise that resonates with customers and end-users and differentiates Sunbrella in the market," Pawl said. "Our brand promise both informs and is reflected by everything we do, from messaging and customer experience to product development, designs and distribution. I'm looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues around the world and with our business partners to keep the Sunbrella brand fresh, inspired and relevant, and convey its unique performance advantages in a compelling way."
Pawl, who holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia, said the challenge for global brands is how to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace and better communicate the brand promise to customers. For Sunbrella, a leadership brand known for its commitment to excellence, this means increasing the brand's desirability among end-users and fostering greater engagement within targeted segments.
"Brands that are focused on the customer journey are the ones poised for sustained success," he said. "We know consumers are making highly considered purchases for emotionally rich spaces – outdoor patios where they gather with friends, living rooms where they bond with their families, boats where they engage with the outdoors. Once a user enjoys their Sunbrella Bimini top, we want them to turn to Sunbrella for their patio furniture, their indoor upholstery needs and for window fabrics and realize similar enjoyment from those spaces. That’s my dream, that homeowners recognize Sunbrella can be a key enabler to help them enjoy their lifestyle and make their home more livable. To do that, we need to connect with consumers in ways that are relevant for them, in both the digital and physical worlds."
"Sunbrella is a global power brand, the result of its performance heritage combined with the strength of Glen Raven's customer partnerships," said Pawl, adding that he joined Glen Raven for the opportunity to lead a high-performing marketing team for a world-renown brand. "The future of Sunbrella is unlimited and I'm excited to help write the next chapter of our brand's rich heritage."