Orthman moved to Japan to take on the role of communications manager in 2020 and previously worked on Nissan’s media / communications team for North America. Prior to that, he worked as a public relations manager for Chrysler.
“Infiniti is a brand born to defy convention and Wendy has a knack for big and revolutionary ideas. With this change, Infiniti is once again making a bold statement by truly integrating marketing, social and communications into a single vision. “Said Olga Filippova, division general manager, Infiniti Global Brand, Sales and Marketing.” Beyond pushing boundaries and challenging what’s possible with a level of energy, tenacity and good humor that we value, Wendy embodies the human approach that sets Infiniti apart, and these strengths are invaluable assets as we guide Infiniti into a brilliant new era. “
We imagine his greatest asset is probably the willingness to take on what is presumably a rather heavy workload. (Editor’s note – I was pointed out by at least one person who has worked with Orthman that this sentence could be taken to suggest that we think Orthman is unqualified. That’s not Matt’s intent – he was criticizing Infiniti for putting three counts. one person worth working on. Matt has never meant to imply that he believes Orthman is not qualified for the role, and I hope this note clears up any potential confusion.) However, having previously worked in the public relations and automotive marketing industry, I know that many positions are little more than simple management jobs where you effectively tell clients exactly what they want to hear. Underlings tend to be research drones that download over long hours so that the resulting data can be turned into something more palatable and typically wait for an opportunity to prove that they are attractive and charming enough to become a member of the organization. outwards. But even the most jaunty of marketing jobs will get tiring when you do three at once, and Orthman may be the hardest worker on Infiniti’s roster as far as we know.
However, it remains curious that the automaker has only promoted one person to manage a broad (albeit related) spectrum of business. Automotive News he similarly noted that it was rare to see a relatively fresh-faced communications manager promoted to a number of high-level marketing roles. But he referred to Audi’s decision to promote Tara Rush from head of communications to head of marketing in 2020 to show that it was not unprecedented, even though the outlet ultimately attributed Orthman’s promotion to optics.
Infiniti is describing promotion as an out-of-the-box choice designed to capitalize on Orthman’s abilities as an “advocate for diversity and inclusion, lifestyle storytelling and digital media.” Such traits are becoming increasingly important within the automotive sector. Auto brands are known for high-budget TV campaigns, but fast-moving social media campaigns are taking on new relevance as brands adapt to the media habits of younger shoppers.
Whether this won’t result in noteworthy changes to the brand’s outbound messaging remains to be seen. But move away from spending money on “high budget TV campaigns” it looks like something a company that has just solidified its entire media leadership in one place could do, even as buying trends are actually shifting to the internet. Nissan and its subsidiaries have been downsizing / restructuring for a few years now. After hearing about how they had to cancel the planned premium electric vehicle offensive (which would begin this year) and seeing Infiniti’s US sales slide in the wrong direction since 2018, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised to see the brand. failed to complete his ranks following some considerable personnel changes.
Regardless, we wish Wendy a lot of luck and hope she finds the time to juggle all three positions. Let’s hope Filippova and Infiniti President / Senior Vice President Peyman Kargar go easy on her as she settles down.
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