John Parham

"Unseen is unsold."
President, Director of Branding

John has 20+ years experience helping national brands extend and restage in the retail world. John's positioning and brand extension strategies for clients have guided long-term multi-billion-dollar retail programs for thousands of products at major national retailers in every channel of distribution – including Walmart, Kohl's and Bed Bath & Beyond. Parham's clients are among the world's leading media and entertainment companies including, Food Network, Better Homes and Gardens, Discovery Channel, and Nickelodeon.

John has a certified licensing degree from the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, is a member of the In-Store Marketing Institute and has a Master's in Communication from Pratt Institute.

What got you into this business in the first place?
Looking out into the world of media and visual communication and thinking, “Gee I can not only do that; I think I can do it better!”

Who was a big influence in your career?
Mom, Dad and Picasso. In that order. I was always drawing and coloring from the word “go” and my mom recognized my passion and encouraged it. She saw to it that I was enrolled in extra-curricular art classes all through grade school and high school. She also introduced me to my first camera and I really took off with photography in college. My dad because he was a businessman. He traveled a lot and wore cool suits and ties. I liked his style and the idea of “business.” You can see how as a brand and communication firm we’ve really married the idea of art and business. Last, but not least, Picasso. As a kid I remember staring at his work for hours and then to come to NY where I did graduate studies and see the work in person was such a thrill. I still think it is great that I was alive during a period that a talent on the order of Shakespeare or Mozart was on our planet. Everyone should rent the “Mystery of Picasso.” A fascinating film that shows him working and making creative decision stroke by stroke.

What was "your finest moment," the thing you're most proud of?
Having a friend return from Mongolia with a piece of a global re-imaging program our firm had recently completed.

What was your most embarrassing moment in this business?
In the early days I was in the middle of a slide show presentations and the client said, “Take that ?#%* off the walls."

Is there a great client story you'd care to share?
We recently completed a major seasonal branding program- trend, creative, in-store marketing, promotion and product direction for a national retailer. I have e-mails from the CMO on down exclaiming this to be their best seasonal program in 10 years. It’s a billion dollar compliment.

What attracted you to Parham Santana?
Working in partnership with people I love and respect.

Do you have a method for coming up with ideas and solutions for clients?
Two smart people that respect one another in a room. They must have a working knowledge of the client and their marketplace challenges. Add two pencils and some paper and you’re off.

What makes a great brand?
When you can close your eyes and feel it. Great brands have a resonance that goes beyond anything visual.

What driving career goals do you still have?
To continue to be excited about what I do.

What talent do you wish you had?
I wish I could play more than the tambourine.

If you had to live on a desert island, what would you miss most?

Is there any food that helps you think more creatively?
I think better when I'm hungry.

What's your favorite sports team?
The Brooklyn Cyclones.

What frustrates you the most?
Slow motion.

What's your point of view about politics?
Less said the better.

Tell us about your pets?
We have animals around the house but they are not my pets.

What was growing up like for you?
Very ‘Tom Sawyer.’ I grew up in Kentucky and I have fond memories of not wearing shoes all summer and spending lots of time in the woods catching crawdads in the creek with my friends and my dog, “Boston.” The Schwinn “Stingray” bike was the preferred means of transportation.

What's your favorite TV program? And your least favorite?
Andy of Mayberry. I’m a major Don Knotts fan. As for least favorite, I’ll watch anything once and call it “research.” With TV you can be an ‘armchair anthropologist.’

What do you do for a good time when you're not working?
I stick close to home with family and friends.

What was college like for you?
It was a playpen filled with photo labs, studios and printing presses where I could literally spend the night to explore and create.

What is your most treasured possession?
A little figurative sculpture my grandfather created from an acorn, a machine part and ink.

What is your motto?
I have two from distinct sources but they say the same thing. "Our future is in ourselves; not our stars." Shakespeare, Julius Caesar. And, "The harder I work, the luckier I get." Dave Berry, Wendy's

What is your current state of mind?
Positive. Anything is possible.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

What is your most marked characteristic?
I walk very quickly. Sometimes I find myself running for no apparent reason.

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