A Look at Trevor Edwards’ Storied Career: Lessons in Marketing and Leadership
Trevor Edwards has logged more than 30 years in brand management, marketing, sales, and product development. His experience with a leading athletic company would be instrumental to the innovation and success of the many initiatives he oversaw. We’ll look at how he learned to handle a $34 billion business with such aplomb.
Versatility in Motion
It doesn’t take more than a quick glance at Trevor Edwards’ CV to spot his versatility in the professional world. From HR to operations to digital technology, he took on multiple challenges in order to drive growth for the company, improve the customer experience, and boost confidence for stakeholders across the board.
All that flexibility started long before he stepped into an office though. He attributes much of his drive to his parents who long believed in his abilities. Born in London in the 1960s, Edwards has drawn inspiration from a mother and father who instilled a solid work ethic and a strong moral compass for him. They would encourage him to say how he felt so he could work out the answers for himself. Instead of pushing him, they would guide him to come to the right conclusions in the many obstacles on his road to success.
Learning the Global Ropes
A huge part of Edwards’ career was dictated by his international travels at a young age. As a teenager, his family would move to Jamaica, where he would experience a bit of a shock in both the customs and mannerisms of the country.
After a time though, he was grateful for his exposure to other cultures and how people from different backgrounds might approach the same problem from a different perspective. This sparked a lifetime of learning about how to get along with a wide array of people. He would go on to study German, French, and Latin, and even considered a career in interpretation before deciding on his chosen path.
For a professional who would have such a strong voice in the global strategy for internationally renowned retail products, these lessons would prove especially useful. Trevor Edwards has made a name for himself because he was willing to embrace opportunity where he was. You can see this theme again and again throughout his life.
A Love of Sports
Some leaders might look at sports and only see contract figures or negotiation tactics. For Edwards though, he has a very different relationship with athletic pursuits. After spending hours on everything from football to cricket to gymnastics, he learned a lot about how to manipulate his physical abilities for the love of the game. He also saw how people played sports, which events brought communities together, and how the right equipment and gear could make things that much more exciting.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in business in 1984 and an MBA in international marketing and finance in 1989, Edwards would start at Goldman Sachs. There, he learned invaluable experience about how to handle high-wealth clients, but the passion wasn’t there for him. Instead of waking up invigorated to go to work, he found himself going only because he had made a commitment. It was his mother who pointed out that he deserved to find a job that he loved, not just one that sounded good on paper.
This piece of advice would push Trevor Edwards to move into a career where he felt connected to what he was doing day in and day out. By blending his interest in sports with his professional training, he would land on a combination that worked out better for everyone.
Marketing for a Top Sportswear Brand
When Edwards was in Jamaica, shoes were definitely not a status symbol there. Small brands made basic shoes and that’s what people wore when they were on and off the court. The kind of support and technology that’s available for athletes today wasn’t even on their radar when Edwards was a child. However, what he did take from those years was an understanding of how young people use sports as a way of connecting with not just their own bodies but also the people around them.
This central theme was the name of the game when Edwards was leading the marketing campaign for a notable sportswear company. He was asked to bring back the connection with the brand and rekindle the relationship with customers on the streets of New York City. Edwards leaned on his early love of basketball to get sales back up and running.
The strategy was simple: show customers that the brand understood what street basketball was all about. However, while the objective might have been clear-cut and straightforward, the actual execution of it wasn’t as easy. It’s relatively easy for brands to look at a landscape and assume different things based on what you see and hear. This often results in generic slogans or spiels that do little to inspire the customer.
For Edwards, he wanted to take the campaign to a deeper level. These athletes play on courts throughout one of the densest cities in the world. It is not an understatement to call them the heroes of New York. It would be an insult for the campaign to treat them as anything other than the local celebrities that they are. Because of his leadership in the campaign, every product marketed sold out in the city’s campaign.
Grounded in Real Behavior
As a senior employee at a leading sportswear company, Edwards had a $1 billion ad budget to work with. He was also put in charge of the design and communications strategies across Europe and the US. He’s been praised for advancing the brand across continents and helping the company wrap up their fiscal years with record revenues.
After pioneering the brand’s integrated marketing model as well as a partnership with a leading tech company, he would play a strong role in how the company leveraged its digital technology. With serious gains across multiple regions and with multiple product lines, Edwards truly managed to tap into what the consumer was looking for.
This is because Edwards understands the real behavior of people and how that behavior drives their purchasing decisions. Instead of basing his decisions purely on market research and spreadsheets, he gets to the heart of the matter by his willingness to jump in and learn.
With the New York City campaign, he didn’t focus on how shoes made you jump higher, he focused on the symbol that the players were to a community that watched them every day. This attitude wasn’t something that Trevor Edwards would primarily learn while he was on the clock though. You can see the roots of his success from his formative years, where he would learn to get along with people and see them for who they really are.