Meet Christe Sharp of Garmin International

Christe Sharp is Director of Communications Business at Garmin, a multinational technology company specializing in global positioning systems (GPS) for automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor and sporting activities.

We reached out to Christe recently to get the Inside Scoop on her team’s global operation, including how the internal agency at Garmin found its way to becoming a “strictly creative entity.”

My first job out of college was working in traffic, where I learned the inner workings of an agency. Later, I became an account executive which had me wearing many hats including trafficking my own projects through creative, review, approval and production, as well as developing media plans and purchasing media for my clients.

A few years later, I learned about a newly created position as part of the five-person in-house agency at Garmin International. I was curious about the company and this little-known technology called GPS, so I interviewed, got the job and never looked back.

I’ve learned every function within advertising from the ground up and now I help run the business end of our department, which is 90 people strong. Garmin products are truly amazing. I love that we’ve paved the way for this technology to be relevant in people’s everyday lives.

With Garmin having such a diversity of market segments, there’s always something exciting going on in our department. Our products are on airplanes, cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, bikes, wrists and more! So, as you can imagine, the in-house agency is challenged to know and understand each market so we can produce advertising that meets the needs of all of them from a global branding perspective.

Over the past two years, our department VP, Brian Brooker, has been honing our focus on the creative product as our essential “one thing.” When Brian first joined Garmin, our department was spread thin across multiple areas. Brian studied how we worked and was able to identify, with a fresh perspective, what was holding us back from doing the type of great creative work we were capable of doing.

First, he worked with our corporate partners to move certain non-creative functions into Marketing. That enabled us to become a strictly creative entity, with all functions supporting the creative product. Second, he reorganized the creative group into three teams: Campaign, Branding and Design. By making these changes while elevating the quality of our work, we now focus solely on producing great creative. It has really changed the dynamics of how we operate and how we’re benefitting the company.

Being members of IHAF has also played a part in the awesome changes happening across our team. I love IHAF’s Regional Roundtables. In fact, my co-worker and I were blown away by the information we gained at the Hallmark roundtable in Kansas City last year. We just wish it had been an all-day event!

I also like the daily IHAF Brief. The articles are great; I read them all and have learned a lot. Plus, the members of IHAF have so much in common—there’s a lot of valuable sharing that happens when we get together. 

Thanks for sharing with us, Christe! If you have a tale to tell about your in-house agency or if you’d like to offer your perspective, please be in touch. We’re always open to learning more about the people and personalities that comprise our connected community.

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