The experienced executive aims to create the industry’s best buying experience at the Arizona-based supplier that’s known as the exclusive provider of S’well drinkware to the promo products market.
Rob Watson is ready for his next adventure in promo.
The prominent industry executive, who has held high-level roles at multiple Top 40 promotional products firms, is joining Tempe, AZ-based supplier Zing Manufacturing (asi/99025) as vice president.
Watson’s mission will center on creating what Zing described as the industry’s best buying experience – one that’s fueled by tech-powered, real-time transparency into inventory, ordering, decoration and delivery.
“Watson’s move to Zing signals a major commitment to make significant capital investments in technology, talent and infrastructure as [we] position ourselves to become a disruptive industry force,” the company said in a statement.
Watson said one key reason he’s excited to join Zing is because there are already pivotal building blocks in place to make that future a reality, including strong existing talent, quick-turn capabilities, warehousing, fulfillment, decoration, artificial intelligence-driven robotics and robust customization options.
“Zing will not be another product company,” Watson said. “We will form deep and rich relationships with key distributor partners and will build solutions and campaigns that make them more successful. We will listen to what your needs are, what your customers want and what you need to be to be successful. Then we will custom-build solutions exquisitely tailored for your success.”
Watson was most recently managing director of The Image Group’s (asi/230069) Richmond, VA-area business. The distributorship was a Top 40 firm in 2021.
“We wish the Zing team continued success, and we're happy for Rob,” said Zack Ottenstein, president of The Image Group. “In a short time working together, The Image Group has transformed its technology platform, expanded its team and developed several exciting new relationships.”
Prior to his time with The Image Group, Watson spent more than three years with Top 40 supplier Vantage Apparel (asi/93390). His roles there included chief digital officer and chief experience officer. In those capacities, he helped transform the company’s digital presence to meet the growing need for on-demand, e-commerce solutions.
He was chief marketing officer at former Top 40 distributor Axis Promotions (now part of Top 40 firm HALO Branded Solutions [asi/356000]), and spent more than five years at ASI, the promo industry’s largest membership organization, where he was vice president of digital user experience and then senior vice president of marketing and user experience. Prior to ASI, Watson was president of MediaTree (asi/70303), a digital promotional marketing agency that specializes in providing entertainment rewards for gifting and incentive programs.
“With a focus on custom tech-forward solutions to support integrated programs and customer campaigns, Zing is setting out to transform the way that distributors and suppliers partner together,” the company said. “Watson’s hire is a major step forward in that effort.”
Zing noted that Watson’s joining a team at the company where industry veteran Rob Corvalan leads sales efforts. Corvalan will continue in his role as senior vice president of sales, focusing on expanding the company’s revenue footprint.
Zing has been operating for more than 20 years. In 2021, the company became the exclusive supplier of S’well drinkware for the promo industry. Other product categories it sells include tech accessories, power banks, writing instruments, key tags, gift sets and more. Zing said its laser engraving facility can ship millions of pieces annually.