Monday, January 23, 2023
What is your current role and what makes it exciting?
I am the Innovation Manager for the chocolate category withing the marketing team. My role is exciting and what makes it exciting is that on a day-to-day basis I get to taste and work on delicious, indulgent, makes me feel good Cadbury goodness. But the role is not all about tasting delicious chocolates, the role involves a lot more. As the innovation manager my role involves delivering on an in-depth understanding of consumers, category dynamics, market trends and business needs to deliver on innovative products. I achieve this by using consumer insights, analytics, understanding the competitor landscape and identifying white space opportunities that will grow the category.
How has your career developed at MDLZ?
I joined Mondelez in October 2018, as a Brand Manager in the Gum category. I was responsible for two iconic brands in traditional trade, Clorets and Chappies. Through hard work and dedication for my brands in 2019 I was afforded the opportunity to move onto the next challenge the no. 1 chewing gum brand in South Africa Stimorol. I managed Stimorol for a year and half and within my time on the brand we saw great market share gains. As part of my development, I wanted more strategic responsibility and saw the opportunity that lies in innovation. In the second half of 2020 I was promoted to the Innovation Manager on GCBM (Gum, Candy, Beverages and Meals), within this role I was able to develop my strategic thinking and become more consumer centric. A year and half later I received a promotion as the Innovation Manager on chocolate. I would say my career has developed quite significantly at MDLZ, I've had the privilege of working on multiple brands and categories, it is really about taking every opportunity you get!
What does it take to be successful as a brand manager or marketer in the industry?
I believe to be successful in marketing you have to be consumer centric in your thinking. We marketers need to always ensure we put the consumer at the center of whatever we are doing. I truly believe this is what sets good marketers apart from great marketers. As marketers we sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by so many other details that we forget that at the heart of everything we do there is a consumer with a need that we are there to serve.
What kind of project, assignments have you done outside of the traditional career moves that helped you further your career?
In 2018 I completed my Honours degree in Business Management, this really tested me not just academically but also having to work and study at the same time. I was selected to join the Halls Mentorship program in 2021; this was a great experience having a mentor to share with and gain insights about yourself and where there are opportunities for growth.
How do you embed diversity in your marketing activities
My role involves a lot of diversity; I have cross functional teams coming together from various backgrounds and experience to deliver on new products. So, it requires making it easy for people to share their opinions and ideas, allowing everyone the opportunity to communicate, acknowledging individuals within these forums and outside. For me it is important I create a safe space where everyone feels free to speak, collaborate and share their perspectives.
How do you describe the culture at MDLZ
If I had to use one word to describe the MDLZ culture I would say "Flexible", we are given the opportunity and trust to find our balance between work and our personal lives. It's definitely fast paced but with that comes growth opportunities, I learn something new every day at MDLZ and I've been here for 4 years. Having a grow everyday mindset is something I am very passionate about and MDLZ allows for this.
And finally, what is your favorite MDLZ brand? What kind of (childhood) memories are attached to it?
This is a tough one as I have two brands that I hold close and dear to my heart, Chappies and Cadbury Dairy Milk. Chappies, I have so many memories as a child being so excited to open the bubblegum wrapper and compare with friends the color of bubblegum you had which followed by us reading out the famous "Did you knows" to each other. Cadbury Dairy Milk, we always had a slab of Cadbury in our household growing up, we still do. It's a family ritual since I was a child, after dinner as a family, we enjoyed a Cadbury Dairy Milk slab, wholenut to be specific it's my Mum's favorite.