RBC brand boss Jim Little moving to Shaw

Bank marketer moving into newly created role for expanding media company

Bank marketer moving into newly created role for expanding media company

Jim Little, chief brand and communications officer for RBC, is joining Shaw Communications as its CMO – a newly created role – at the end of April.

Little will be moving to Calgary for his new job, but spending time in Toronto and Montreal as the company tries to move its born-in-the-west brand across the country to better compete with its cable and media competitors.

“[Shaw] feels like a natural fit for me, it’s the right thing at the right time,” Little told Marketing. In broad terms, he described his role as unifying Shaw’s various cable and media products under a cohesive consumer-facing brand.

“The work is going to be [brand] solidification and clarification in the west, and aspiration and adventure throughout the rest of the network.”

In a statement released Thursday, Brad Shaw, CEO at Shaw Communications, said, “We’re pleased to welcome Jim to the senior leadership team at Shaw. Jim’s past experiences will help us lead the charge in building the Shaw brand across Canada.”

Little has helmed the RBC brand since March 2007 when he arrived from a marketing vice-presidency at Bell. During his time in the banking realm, he has overseen RBC’s expansive Olympic and golf sponsorships, the development of the animated brand mascot Arbie, and the bank’s strong push into international markets.

“It’s been a great run and we’ve done amazing things,” Little said. “We’ve spent a lot of time and money positioning RBC as the advice bank you can count on, and I think we’ve done a very good job,” Little said. “All the research we’re looking at tells us we’re known as the advice bank.”

Little also said he considered it a goal to make RBC not as “intimidating” as banks normally seem, which led to sponsored projects such as the environmentally minded Blue Water Project, which he said made the brand “more accessible.”

“Over the last five years Jim and his team, working closely with the marketing groups across the enterprise, have made a significant contribution to RBC’s brand relevance in Canada and establishing its brand presence internationally,” wrote Zabeen Hirji, RBC’s chief human resources officer, in a company memo. “Jim has worked with many leaders across RBC and we will certainly miss his expertise and creativity.”

RBC’s search for Little’s successor is just beginning. An announcement is expected by the time he officially starts at Shaw on April 26.

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