John Kowalski — Founder, Thought Leader at Babacita

Artist Corporate BrandingWith more than 25 years of agency, corporate and start-up branding and marketing experience, and concurrently consulting since 2002, Kowalski’s passion is to use all of the tools of creative marketing to provide true ROI and value to clients. Over the course of his career, he has had the good fortune to see how sound strategic planning and creative execution can work to drive success in a variety of industries and working with individuals, artists, small start-ups, mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies.

With a heart-centered approach to work and life, John applies branding, strategy and marketing expertise, process improvements, and change disciplines to help artists, organizations and leaders excel by strengthening their brands.


Career Highlights

Vice President of Marketing

Marketing leadership for a disruptive technology (hardware and software) start-up. Driving value and brand through sales and communication channels.

Director of Strategic Marketing, Industrial and Retail Paint Products

In charge of creating and implementing an annual outbound marketing strategy and collateral programs for markets in Europe, Asia and the Americas for this global leader in color science and technology solutions with $240 million in annual revenue. Accountable for a $1 million budget and 7 indirect reports.

Senior Manager, Marketing Communications

Worked with a $300 million multi-line manufacturer. Responsible for all external communications and marketer to different industry verticals. Implemented comprehensive strategic communication plans, brand research and budgets for 7 business units. Effectively handled a $1.2 million budget and managed outsourced vendor teams.

Creative Manager of Sales Services

Coordinated target marketing strategies, global account growth and domestic sales efforts for this $1.5 billion designer of award-winning solutions for the contract furniture industry. Trained, motivated and supervised a group of 4 professionals with a combined annual budget of $1.25 million.

I’m often asked about my company name: Babacita. What does it mean? What language is it? Where did it come from?

Creativity works in mysterious ways. While I work in multiple disciplines and apply solid process and theory in many areas of my life, I also believe there’s great value in letting words and pictures play willy-nilly in my mind. Without play, my mind atrophies and everything else goes down hill from there.

Babacita. Say it out loud. It sounds lyrical. It feels good rolling off the tongue. And something about it feels powerful when you say it, like it’s got its own energy source. Babacita. It’s memorable. I know this because I tested it using traditional consumer research tools.

But what does Babacita mean?

It is a made up word. It has a collage of meanings. For me, the word Babacita serves as a personal reminder of the vision and mission of my company.

Literally, in different languages, Baba may denote father or person of honor. Cita, in Spanish, has two meanings: a quote, quotations and appointment, date. Much about these meanings resonated with me. Typically, a father or village leader is a person of wisdom, a listener, often and a thought leader. A thought leader is the keeper of the values or culture of a community, acting as the compass to keep the whole focused on the mission. And the tools used? Experienced listening, meaningful ideas and action, at the right time.

Am I that leader? Perhaps. But I’m not alone. The world is made up of these leaders. And I’m committed to supporting their efforts so far as they are leading honorably by creating opportunity for others to live and work well.

John Kowalski
Founder/Thought Leader


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