Mazda Adds Harley Davidson Exec As CMO

Mazda North American Operations is adding another layer to its marketing executive structure. 

The automaker announced the appointment of Dino Bernacchi, 47, as chief marketing officer for U.S. Operations. In this newly created position, Bernacchi will focus on the overarching role that brand communications plays in the customers’ experience with Mazda at all touch points.

His responsibilities will be more than conventional marketing, and Russell Wager, currently VP, marketing, who will report to Bernacchi, will continue to oversee Mazda’s external communications activities.

Bernacchi will report to Masahiro Moro, MNAO president and CEO as well as Mazda Motor Co.’s global CMO. His appointment is effective on May 1 and he will be based at the company’s Irvine, Calif., headquarters.



Mazda says his task is to “examine every touch point that affects a customer’s interaction with Mazda, from the earliest discovery phase of new-car shopping, through the research and purchase, to ownership and ultimately through to repurchase, and developing an overarching strategy to deliver clear, precise, consistent messages that support the Mazda premium brand vision.”

"Mazda has always had a marketing challenge to stand out and be heard from the rest of the Japanese automakers, who are bigger and louder," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader. "Mazda makes terrific vehicles, but it has been a constant effort to get consumers to think about the brand and get on their shopping lists."

In addition, Bernacchi will have responsibility for the design, development, and execution of the strategies and processes required “to deliver Mazda messaging in the ever-evolving multi-channel world; enhance customer engagement with Mazda and respond to accelerating changes in technological and digital innovation and rapidly changing consumer behavior.”

“The need to hone our company’s focus as a provider of exceptional customer experiences at every touchpoint with our brand, through our communications, with our vehicles and handled by our network of Mazda dealerships, has never been more clear,” Moro said in a statement. “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. Dino’s leadership experience in doing exactly that in the past is why he is perfectly suited for this role at Mazda.”

Bernacchi has 23 years of experience in marketing communications and has worked on both the agency, supplier and in-house side of the business at Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Visteon, General Motors and, most recently, as marketing director at Harley-Davidson Motor Co. in Milwaukee.

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