What's your job about?
Diageo’s lifeblood is its brands. As an Assistant Brand Manager in the Marketing Team, my role in a nutshell is to help support and grow the Bundaberg Rum brand, so that it can appear and appeal to relevant consumers at all points of purchase. What that means in terms of the nitty gritty is that I’ve been placed on a few key projects that I will help execute across the year, the aim of which is to increase top of mind awareness, brand recognition and brand equity: so you know Bundy Rum, you have positive sentiment about the brand, trial the brand, and ideally, become a repeat purchaser. Some of these you may see on TV or online, for example, the last few years we have worked with the NRL as the Official Spirits Partner of the game, come out with new products such as the Lazy Bear pre-mix, and been on-air with great brand related communications through the ‘Unmistakeably Ours’ campaign.
I get access to the entire process of managing a brand, from start to finish. I am involved from the strategic planning stage – where we decide what we need to focus on for the coming year to ensure we give Bundy Rum the best year yet – through to executional stages, where I get to work with internal and external stakeholders to make sure all our best laid plans come to life in the best possible way.
What's your background?
I’m from Sydney, studied at the University of Sydney, and was lucky enough to go on a semester abroad in Scotland before I graduated. I’ve had the luck of experiencing a few marketing-assistant part time jobs before I landed the Diageo graduate program. I worked at two advertising agencies in an unpaid capacity over a summer, which gave me sufficient credibility on my CV to land a Communications Assistant role at an accounting firm while studying. From there, a friend put me up for a Marketing Assistant role at a smaller online stockbroking company, which I carried out two days a week while studying full time. These roles set me up to gain a place in the Unilever Internship program, where I ended up extending my stay (full time over summer, part time over uni) until I graduated. I was able to land the Diageo Marketing Graduate role before graduating, and have been in the role since the beginning of 2018.
I’ve found that the people you meet at university are often all in the same boat in terms of wanting real, applicable experience before they try out for their first full roles out of uni. Making use of opportunities for work experience is crucial to help set yourself up to get full time roles and help you know what it is that you’re interested in. Many universities offer internships as subjects, where you gain experience instead of studying a class. These are invaluable, however ad-hoc, non-organised internships (i.e. not the likes of Unilever, P&G) are very useful for getting that all important foot in the door and exploring what work you like, and what you’re more than happy to ditch.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Marketing is a science but not in the traditional sense – and as such it favours those with tenacity, good communication skills, curiosity and creativity. None of these things are taught through a specific educational pathway, and anyone with an interest in brands, marketing and how goods and services appear the way they do to consumers and customers can have a crack at it. As with many jobs, a lot of the work is learned when you get there. The way to land the role is to communicate your interest in the field, and have a willingness to learn.
I also recommend having a read of Byron Sharp’s How Brands Grow, of the Ehrenburg Bass Institute, which many companies including Diageo make time for in terms of the marketing principles and broader approaches to marketing. This is especially useful if you haven’t studied Marketing.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Diageo is a fun company with a really great culture, and everyone’s unique personality fits together really well. My specific team have made it their mission to ignite the company in their excitement for the Bundy brand, and this often includes hosting a Bundy BBQ for the whole office, generating excitement about the next big campaign for the team, and we even have a statue of the Bundy bear in the office!
Even in the more serious parts of the job, the laid back, friendly and collaborative ways of working make my job something I look forward to each day.
What are the limitations of your job?
As it is a 3 year commitment, being clear on what you will face, and what you are expecting out of the graduate role should you land it is important, to avoid feeling trapped. On the flipside, the 3x 1 year rotational scheme does help give exposure to a variety of roles, which is valuable to understand what final role you’d like to end up with.
Limitations can be the potential for personal development. I think for the Diageo Marketing Grad role – which includes exposure across various Field Sales, Brand Management and Shopper Marketing rotations – being willing to be out of your depth, recognising your own strengths but more importantly appreciating and tackling your weaknesses is key.
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