Facebook hires marketing exec to boost brand image

Facebook hired former Levi’s CMO Rebecca Van Dyck to lead its global marketing efforts, according to Ad Age.

Van Dyck, who worked at Apple and Wieden+Kennedy before Levi’s, will bring important branding experience to Facebook. An initial public offering this year will put more pressure on the company to improve its image. Although it has in eight years become one of the most well-known brands in the world, it ranks among the lowest in consumer satisfaction. With Google heavily promoting an alternative social network, Facebook will need to be strategic in coming years.

Facebook significantly increased its marketing and advertising efforts in 2011. It spent $28 million in advertising last year — up from $8 million in 2010, according to IPO documents. The social network runs Google AdWords and Facebook ad campaigns. (We have reached out to Facebook to clarify how its house ads are billed.) The company has recently formed a number of partnerships with media companies like NBC, the New York Times, USA Today and Politico to build its brand.

Facebook mentioned in its IPO filing that unfavorable press coverage could negatively affect its business. This is true for any company, but it is notable that Facebook included it in the risk factors section of its prospectus. Google and LinkedIn did not.

Google ran a number of television commercials last year promoting its social network and other products. Facebook could follow suit, but since CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known to be skeptical of traditional advertising, the company could be looking to try other types of campaigns.

Van Dyck was recently involved in Levi’s “Go Forth” initiative, in which the company donated more than $1 million to renovate a community center and aid an urban farming program in Braddock, Pa. Facebook was likely most interested in Van Dyck’s experience with Apple where she worked for seven years and helped with launches of the iPhone, iPad, iPod and iTunes.

Image credit: Rebecca Van Dyck’s LinkedIn profile

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