Mkhize helps companies build lasting relationships with target audience

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

"I am a marketing, communications and corporate strategy practitioner, based in Johannesburg. My skills have been used to establish companies in financial services, petroleum, retail, manufacturing, fashion, food, media and telecommunications sectors.

"My commitment to finding solutions that satisfy the unique needs of diverse segments of our market is what drives my desire for service excellence. One of my key corporate social investments is the lapdesk project that I'm involved with at Old Mutual," said Lebohang Mkhize, retail mass market segment marketing executive at Old Mutual.

Her role is wide and requires fulfilling several duties.

"I offer products that are relevant to the mass market. First, I ensure I know who our customers are, that they share our passion. We educate them on financial literacy and share this with the community, local government leaders, women groups and cooperations," says Mkhize.

"We teach people about the products, observe people's behaviour in regards to financial education, and encourage participation on attitudes and thoughts about financial wealth creation. You need to know how to manage your funds. I have worked in marketing and branding for a long while and gained the necessary experience.

"I have worked at Old Mutual (South Africa) as group brand manager, general manager: corporate image and communication for PetroSA, group marketing executive for Thebe Investment Corporation. I have also worked as marketing manager for The Enterprise Organisation. I have also done stints with the DTI and several other companies."

To work in this industry requires certain skills and capabilities. "You need to have passion for the job. You also require consumer insight, understanding how people behave, enabling yourself to position the brand. You also have to appreciate communications and marketing strategies, to make the two integrate. You need to have communication skills as you will deal with people of all levels," she adds.

She says business acumen is another requirement. "This will enable you to appreciate the strategies of the business and the industry. Then learn to balance the immediate need and prospective needs."

Due to her role in the market, she has various special achievements. As a marketing executive she has been involved in co-designing and managing the design, proposal submission; staffing and so on.

"As a brand manager I engineered and implemented the Old Mutual brand shift.

"As a general manager for corporate image and communication at PetroSA, I steered the company through turbulent media relations caused by unplanned shutdowns."

Mkhize holds a BBA degree in marketing and international business from The University of Texas, Credit Diploma from the Institute of Bankers, Advanced Credit Diploma and an MBA from The University of the Witwatersrand.

"The industry can be tough because of different South African market influences on lifestyle and other aspects.

"But we have a strong South African culture. To grow in the profession you need to read widely and network with key stakeholders."

To enable people to learn more about financial literacy, Mkhize and other people came up with the concept: Soul Sessions. "We have networking sessions covering topics like finance, lifestyle, current affairs and networking, by different speakers."