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Chaen, our 'Seasoned' brand manager for seasonal and gifting portfolio in South Africa.
"Being part of a global organisation has always been a dream of mine, but I didn’t realise quite how nurturing it would be."
Friday, April 28, 2023
You’ve been here for a year, what’s your MDLZ experience been like?
MDLZ is an incredible organisation to work for. It is home to many iconic brands, and there are sound structures, processes, and helpful tools in place to allow me to succeed – a well-oiled machine!
But, it is the people that make MDLZ truly special. I have had the privilege to work alongside some brilliant minds across multiple functions who all contribute to the amazing culture here. I look forward to continuing to grow as a person and as a professional, as we continue to navigate the ongoing challenge of expanding our core brands, and brands beyond the core, in seasons and gifting.
Why is [MDLZ] a great place to grow a career at any stage?
MDLZ places a strong focus on people development, with opportunities to upskill oneself, pick up a short term “gig” in other functions and markets to get a broader understanding of the business, and take on stretch projects to develop new skills.
MDLZ has given me multiple opportunities to grow. Being part of a global organisation has always been a dream of mine, but I didn’t realise quite how nurturing it would be. The consistent sharing of learnings across markets has sparked some thought-provoking ideas, and in some cases, allowed me to adopt new ways of thinking that can be applied in our local market.
How did you come up with the Cadbury Easter campaign?
This year’s Cadbury Mzanzi Hide campaign was built on the insight that the true generosity of the Easter season is found in the hiding of Easter chocolates for loved ones. This is the quiet moments of contemplation, the thoughtful planning in picking out the perfect hiding spot, and the anticipation in waiting for your loved one to find their special treat.
Taking learnings from the Cadbury Worldwide Hide that was previously implemented in South Africa, along with various other markets, we identified an opportunity to implement a hyper-localised version of the Cadbury Worldwide Hide to really resonate with our South African consumers.
With this in mind, the approach for this year was to ensure that we tapped into local seasonal nuances to allow South Africans from all walks of life to generously hide a virtual Cadbury Easter Egg anywhere in South Africa for someone they love. By working with our ecosystem of agency partners we were able to successfully launch this year’s Easter campaign in March encouraging consumers to generously “Hide Them with Love”. Our much-loved Easter Icon “Fluffy” took consumers on the journey and encouraged South Africans to pick out those perfect hiding spots.
Your area of speciality is one that captures hearts and minds, how you keep ahead of competitors especially during seasonal periods?
As Marketers, our first priority is to keep our consumers at the heart of everything we do. This starts with understanding rich cultural and behavioural insights that are linked to seasonal occasions, to ensure that we have a powerful human tension clearly defined. At the same time, it is crucial to ensure that the brand is meeting the snacking needs of the consumer over these key seasonal periods, by delivering a compelling product range in the format, flavour and price point that they expect and look forward to every year.
The second priority is to ensure that the brand shows up authentically during seasonal occasions where there is a lot of clutter, and brands ‘saying the same thing’. This means aligning the campaign to the brands core purpose while simultaneously ensuring that the human tension is addressed.
Lastly, it is essential to ensure that the brand messaging is impactful through commanding presence and visibility in store, to allow us to break through the clutter. The brand’s messaging during seasonal periods needs to be clear and compelling, otherwise consumers quite simply would not pay attention.
What is your favourite season and why?
Being South African, I absolutely love the Festive season. It is a time where the magic of the season fills the air. A time of connection and re-connection with loved ones. It is a time of giving generously without expecting anything in return. Good food and good company is the way to my heart, and the Festive season fully embodies this!
Give us a brief overview of your role, responsibilities and day to day work.
I am currently the Brand Manager on the Seasonal and Gifting Chocolate portfolio for Southern Africa. This is an exciting and challenging role, because on a day-to-day basis I am required to think of ways to ignite growth for a portfolio very much in its early stages. While Cadbury is a market leader in Tablets and Countlines, it is still the challenger brand in the seasonal segment, which comes with even more challenges to solve. What makes it even better is that I have the privilege to work on the Cadbury brand – every marketer’s dream!
Being a Brand Manager is a multi-faceted role. There are times where I am required to wear my commercial hat, and times where I am required to wear my creative marketer hat. From working on brand strategy, and developing and executing integrated campaigns, to identifying white space opportunities, I feel energised coming to work knowing I will have a new challenge and opportunity to solve for.