What's your job about?
Diageo is the largest spirits company in Australia, the custodian of incredible brands that have been around for over 200 years! We are a consumer goods company (CPG), supplying, selling and marketing our products through retail, venues and online channels. As an assistant brand manager, I sit in the marketing function, which is one of the biggest functions in the company – Diageo lives by its brands and invests in them accordingly. As marketers, it’s our job to help ensure the brand shows up to consumers consistently, in the right places and spaces, and is set up to continue into the future. Working on brands that are truly FUN is rare and something I love about working at Diageo.
As Assistant Brand Manager, my role is centred around bringing our marketing plans to life, and executing our brand plans across all owned, earned, shared and paid channels. There’s a huge variety to this, and in any one week, I could be trying my hand at working with our agency partners to organise a Whisky Festival, to then developing communications that we then promote with a media outlet partner (think along the lines of: ‘Top 5 Whiskies to Try This Weekend’ on PedestrianTV). There’s also the ins and outs of normal brand management, like managing my brands’ budget, reviewing our owned assets (e.g. our website, our social pages), to ensure they comply with what our global market counterparts are doing, and supporting the innovation team in bringing new product developments (NPD) to Australia.
What's your background?
I grew up in Sydney and attended school and university there. During my degree (5 years) I was able to secure work experience in several corporate settings which gave me a taste of different jobs and helped me decide what I wanted to do. I was an intern in an advertising firm and following that, a friend who had done an industry placement at university (work experience which is also a transferable class credit) was leaving his placement and I interviewed and got the role. Industry placement opportunities are an incredible way to get a foot in the door, network and understand the vibe of a job, all super useful in helping you decide where you want to pursue – and with fewer strings attached than applying for a full-time role. These jobs were great as tasters for a career in marketing, but I wanted to see what it would be like to work in an FMCG, with more tangible products to work on, and where brands and marketing functions were more core to the business operations. That’s what spurred me on to apply for an internship at Unilever. I can’t overstate how useful an official internship was to both get exposed to the role but also to make great networking connections, which opened up my eyes to the breadth of the industry in FMCG. I applied to Diageo through a graduate program application website (Gradconnect), knowing I liked their products and the sort of work their marketers did.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, while studying marketing at university did help me understand core concepts and theory, I believe these can all be learned on the job and that real-life experience in other roles is just as useful. There’s a lot of transferrable skills in marketing like project management, clear communications, data analysis and critical and creative thinking. These aren’t exclusive by any means to a university degree or a marketing course.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Diageo has cool brands that you get to enjoy both in the work you do (crafting an ad campaign for Bundaberg Rum’s partnership with the NRL was a definite highlight), and in the celebratory moments as well. The company’s ethos is “celebrating life every day, everywhere, with everyone” and they stick by that: I’ve blended my own rum at the Bundaberg Distillery, enjoyed a weekly Diageo bar (we have one in the Sydney office!) learned how to make cocktails with world-class bartenders, and get to benefit from a yearly product allowance.
What are the limitations of your job?
I’ve personally found Diageo a flexible and understanding place to work, and while there are high expectations on output, it’s not about working weekends or nights. In the new COVID world where the alcohol industry is booming, there’s a total business expectation for fast-paced progress – which can increase the pressure on your projects and output.
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