NAPA AUTO PARTS Refreshing Brand After 100 Years

Changes include strategic alliances with new agency partners and transforming its internal marketing team.

NAPA AUTO PARTS announced today it is reigniting its iconic brand through strategic alliances with new agency partners and transforming its internal marketing team with marketing disruptors from several Fortune 500 companies. These new players will place a priority on the modern and emerging demands of consumers, further differentiating NAPA in the highly competitive auto care and auto repair industry.

Strategic promotions and hires include Jamie Walton, executive vice president, chief merchandising officer, an automotive aftermarket veteran who previously led merchandise and strategic marketing for Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) Asia Pacific until February 2021, and Marti Walsh, vice president, marketing, who joined NAPA in late 2020 after a nearly 20-year tenure at The Coca-Cola Co. 

After a competitive RFP process, agencies The Variable, Merkle and Golin will join forces to round out NAPA’s external partner team.

“NAPA has kept people on the road in communities worldwide for the past 100 years, and we plan to do that for the next century,” says Walton. “We are arriving at the dawn of an entirely new era for our industry and this collective team brings the excitement, energy and passion required to drive value and shared values with customers, retailers, investors and the business community.”

One of the new marketing team’s first steps was to launch competitive RFPs in October 2021, challenging potential partners for breakthrough thinking ahead of 2022 activity. Following that process, NAPA selected the three new agencies to work in tandem and bring their brand into the future.

The Variable, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company that combines advertising and innovation to help overcome indifference, as agency of record for brand strategy, creative, content and social. The Variable will leverage an integrated team of strategists, creatives, social specialists and community builders to help NAPA discover and develop a new and ambitious approach to both near- and long-term business growth. The Variable’s first focus has been collaborating with NAPA to craft a bold brand strategy to guide the organization’s future, and its first integrated creative campaign for the brand is expected to launch in the third quarter.

Merkle, a global, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, based in Columbia, Maryland, has been appointed NAPA’s CRM agency to lead customer marketing and enhance the existing loyalty work for NAPA Rewards. Merkle will help NAPA build a personalized and innovative CRM program to meet NAPA customers where they are – adding value across the customer journey via a CRM strategic roadmap, creative, analytics and execution across owned channels.

Golin, a global public relations agency part of Interpublic Group Inc., with headquarters in Chicago, was selected as NAPA’s first-ever PR agency. Driving earned media and engagement, thought leadership and influencer strategy, Golin will take its nearly 70-year experience of modernizing legacy brands to help NAPA boldly transition into the future. The agency will do this with a focus on fostering deeper audience connections through cultural relevancy and engagement. The Golin team supporting the NAPA work will include subject matter experts across strategy, creative, earned media, digital and corporate communications. Golin will also partner with Genuine Parts Company (GPC), the parent company of NAPA, to drive the corporate brand’s communication strategy forward.

NAPA’s newly established brand marketing team has already begun working with its new agency partners to develop and bring to market a bold new brand positioning that leverages the brand’s iconic legacy while paving a new and ambitious road for the future.

“The winning combination of NAPA’s in-house marketing team, The Variable, Merkle and Golin will strategically lead us into the future and ensure our industry legacy will endure for the century ahead,” added Walsh.

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