Grace Chan Markus
Senior Director of Go-to-Market Strategy and Brand Activation, EMEA Region, Tommy Hilfiger
I have always enjoyed representing iconic global brands that have a real story and legacy.
By Adam Sylvain
Grace Chan Markus T’12 is the senior director of go-to-market strategy and brand activation for the EMEA region at Tommy Hilfiger, one of the iconic lifestyle brands owned by PVH Corp.
It’s a marketing role that involves the nuance of shepherding the proud heritage of a legacy brand while also finding creative ways to engage consumers in local markets. Helping renowned fashion and lifestyle brands meet this challenge is something Markus has excelled at throughout her career.
“I have always enjoyed representing iconic global brands that have a real story and legacy,” says Markus, who has held previous roles at luxury retail titans such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Saks Fifth Avenue. “When you are in that position, you have to strike a fine balance of retaining brand DNA through and through while using insights to shape campaigns that will resonate in local markets.”
Accomplishing the second part of this goal requires understanding the more subtle aspects of consumer behavior. For example, Markus says in her current role, Italian consumers tend to respond to specific colorways in products, whereas fit and fabrications of clothing are emphasized more in marketing to German consumers.
As the role of influencer marketing continues to grow, Tommy Hilfiger has also embraced its partnerships with international celebrities such as Canadian pop singer Shawn Mendes. Beneath this level of globally recognized talent, the company will tap into regional influencers as well. This could mean bringing K-pop artists into marketing campaigns in Asia or seizing opportunities to collaborate with local influencers known for their grassroots advocacy on topics like sustainability.
While the influencer approach can be very effective, Markus is also a strong proponent of keeping the quality, craftsmanship, and desirability of products front and center.
“A key strategy for us is focusing on our ‘hero’ products,” she says. “It could be a polo shirt or a puffer jacket or a shirtdress for women, but it always hinges on storytelling that weaves the hero product into a broader narrative about quality and innovation.”
Coordination and consistency are critical to ensuring these regional efforts harmonize within a global brand. A prime example was the deliberate planning and sequencing that went into the marketing of Tommy Hilfiger’s fall 2022 campaign.
This included the global launch of their new “TH” monogram and corresponding fall collection which debuted during New York Fashion Week last September. “In the lead-up, but really peaking during Fashion Week, we turned on our key marketing channels to create a highly synchronized campaign that was designed to uplift brand awareness and consideration globally,” says Markus. “This resulted in being the second most-searched brand during New York Fashion Week.”
Such campaigns highlight the ways that consumer understanding and strategic marketing help Tommy Hilfiger shape its direct-to-consumer business. Markus says a greater challenge is managing how the brand appears in the marketing of major wholesalers who carry the company’s products.
“We have to keep a close eye on not only the way our brand shows up on our own web page and in our own brick-and-mortar stores, but also with third-party retailers,” she says. “Maintaining the integrity of your brand can be challenging when you have other parties interpreting how Tommy Hilfiger shows up.”
This story originally appeared in print in the summer 2023 issue of Tuck Today magazine.
The Beauty of Inclusion: Meet L’Oréal’s Tara Pyle T’12
For Tara Pyle T’12, a senior vice president at L’Oréal, keeping customers loyal to the world’s largest beauty company starts with making room for diverse perspectives.Read More
Becoming a Marketing Chameleon: Meet Felipe Burgaz T’91
Over the past 30 years, Felipe Burgaz T’91, senior director of marketing for Uber Latin America, has mastered the art and science of reaching customers across borders, industries, and cultures.Read More
How to Be a Successful Product Marketer with Meta’s Federico Queirolo T’14
Federico Queirolo T’14, product and go-to-market leader at Meta, shares his experiences and tips for successful product marketing.Read More
Shaping the Future of Beer, and Beyond: Meet Heineken’s Eric Markus T'12
An interview with Eric Markus T'12, marketing director of Global Commerce at The HEINEKEN Company.Read More
Marketing Strategies Designed to Fit Every Shopper: Meet Marketing Leader Karilyn Anderson T’14
Brooks Brothers and Eddie Bauer might be some of the oldest retailers in the country with strong legacies, but Karilyn Anderson T’14 is using her digital expertise to bring them into the future.Read More
A Supplement Brand with a Transparent Approach: Meet Ritual CMO Federico Troiani T’04
Ritual CMO Federico Troiani T’04 discovered the wellness space after a stint with General Mills, working with Pillsbury, Lucky Charms and other top brands.Read More
Using Generative AI for Personalization: Meet Marketing Leader Heather Cole T’03
As a psychology undergrad with a fascination with human behavior, Heather Cole T’03 arrived at Tuck wanting a well-rounded, fundamental experience that would teach her the business side of marketing.Read More
Nostalgia and Meeting Customers Where They Are: Meet NESN CMO Ahmed Darwish T’14
As the CMO for NESN, Ahmed Darwish T’14 has perhaps the most enviable job for fans of New England sports teams.Read More
Story & Strategy: Meet Dunkin’ CMO Jill Nelson T’16
CMO Jill Nelson T’16 says she always aspired to work for a consumer brand with a product she could see, touch, and, in the case of Dunkin’, taste.Read More
Story & Strategy: Meet Levi Strauss CMO Kenny Mitchell D’97, T’04
Kenny Mitchell D’97, T’04 was recently named CMO of Levi Strauss, an exciting new challenge for a marketing leader who has managed several esteemed brands—from PepsiCo to Nascar to McDonald’s, and most recently, Snapchat.Read More
Story & Strategy: Meet TikTok CMO Kate Jhaveri T’03
Building strong, vibrant, and supportive communities like the one she joined at Tuck has been a central theme throughout Kate Jhaveri’s decorated career.Read More
Toast Inc.’s Kelly Sennatt Esten T’12 Is at Home in the Coronavirus Storm
Kelly Sennatt Esten D’05, T’12 had just overseen the launch of a new line of point-of-service products for restaurants when the COVID-19 pandemic brought that industry to a shuddering stop.Read More
CMO Deirdre Findlay T’00 Is Disrupting Traditional Marketing
CMO Deirdre Findlay T’00 Is Disrupting Traditional MarketingRead More
Former Arnold Worldwide CEO Kiran Smith T’00 brings the collaborative mindset and creative energy she fostered at Tuck to the advertising business.Read More
When Ana Sanchez D'97 T’03 joined Colgate-Palmolive in 2003, she thought she’d only stay for a few years and move on. Nearly 15 years and a couple of international assignments later, she’s still with the company, serving as its UK marketing director.Read More
Cassie Lancellotti-Young T’11 came to Tuck with a passion for marketing. Today she’s leveraging that passion and the teamwork skills she learned at Tuck to help major retailers enhance their customers’ experiences.Read More
For Tom Christie T’85, the COO of Showtime, show business has been the proving ground for an unforgettable lesson from Tuck.Read More
At Tuck, Heather King D'81, T'86 dove into an independent study that laid the groundwork for a career that included stops at Apple, NeXT and the experience-design firm Eight Inc.Read More
Cris Rivera T'08 loves a good challenge, which is part of what drew him—an avowed city lover and marketing wonk—to Tuck.Read More
The Chinese economy has grown tremendously since 1989, and so have the opportunities for enterprising Tuck graduates, like Nancy Zhuo T'13.Read More
Beth Spruance T'96 began her career insuring boards of directors at American International Group (AIG), but found herself more interested in the companies she was insuring.Read More
On Establishing Your Personal Brand
Helen Kurtz T’97, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of Foster Farms, Inc. talks establishing your personal brand.Read More
MassMutual CMO and T'86 John Chandler’s data-driven approach to marketing has propelled the venerable life insurance company to the upper echelons of the industry and transformed the way it tells its story. And he’s only getting started.Read More
After working in marketing and academic administration, Kristen Balderston T'84 took a 20-year hiatus to raise two children before returning to the workforce to help other women do the same.Read More
Digital marketing was practically in the stone ages when Carly Rosenberg T'05 graduated from Tuck and went to work as a marketing manager at Saks Fifth Avenue.Read More
How Small Businesses Can Use Online Marketing Tools
After gaining experience at several software startups, Gail Goodman T’87 launched her own in 1999. As CEO of Constant Contact, Goodman has helped more than a half-million small-business customers navigate a rapidly evolving industry.Read More
Meet Leela Srinivasan T'06
At LinkedIn, Leela Srinivasan T'06 helped corporate recruiters find top talent.Read More
When you visit your local health food store or supermarket, you might notice a new natural sensitive toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine; Lindsay Batastini T'09 has been working on the creation and launch of "Rapid Relief" for almost three years.Read More