Heidi Browning Pearson
SENIOR EVP & CMO |NHL
“Every step that I’ve taken in my career has always been about stepping into shoes that I either don’t know anything about or don’t have any particular experience in it. But somebody believed in me.”
I started playing hockey when I was 5 years old. Now I call myself a midlife crisis hockey player, somewhat (but not NHL level) living out my childhood dreams of being in the league. So, I couldn’t wait for Heidi to join me and talk about our shared love of hockey on the podcast.
I have known Heidi for over 15 years, since her MySpace and Pandora days, where I got to see first-hand how incredible she was at listening to her customers and using that knowledge to make better business decisions for the companies. This led her to an opportunity at the NHL when they were building out their social marketing and marketing practice.
“It is a privilege and an honor to be the CMO at the NHL. When I first joined, it was our one-hundredth anniversary. It’s not too often that as a marketer, you get the opportunity to usher in the next generation of fans with a hundred-year-old brand. So that’s what really excited me.”
Heidi has taken the NHL to the next level, focusing on bringing new fans into the fold. ” How do we grow our fan base and diversify our fan base? It has to start with who’s working in our league. Then extend to the fans and the players, et cetera.”
Even though joining the NHL was an exciting career move for Heidi, she had no previous experience in sports. “Coming in as a new and casual fan, in the beginning, I could see right away that we spent a lot of time catering to the avid fans. We conducted focus groups that confirmed my observation. Hockey fans are like the coolest, most rabid, fanatical fans out there. They know the rules, history, and tradition. It can be intimidating to be on the outside trying to get in.”
I hope you enjoy our conversation and we inspire you to join our love of hockey.
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