Phumi passionate about marketing

WHAT does a day in the life of an assistant brand manager entail?

As Vaseline assistant brand manager I interact a lot with and deliver through people.

From working on world-class innovations (product launches and re-launches), to activation management (such as promotional campaigns) as well as ensuring there is mutual benefit for the business and consumers in all that I do.

Why did you decide on this career?

I have always been interested in communication and business, so when the opportunity to study communication in the commercial environment presented itself I grabbed it with both hands since I knew a career in this field was the right thing for me.

I am particularly passionate about branding since I believe it differentiates the person, product or service from the rest. I wanted a career in which I would not only enjoy myself while earning an income, but one that would also benefit me as an individual.

Marketing allows me to accomplish exactly that.

How did you get into this career?

I went through the Unilever Interactive Business Management Course recruitment process and after that did an internship and was offered a position on completing my undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria.

What's challenging about the job?

The competition. Because there are so many brands out there it is challenging to favourably position your brand in your target market's mind.

That is why winning awards such as Product of the Year give your brand a competitive advantage. Vaseline For Men won the body moisturiser Product of the Year award in 2008.

Vaseline for Men was launched fairly recently and it has been a huge success. I believe it justly deserved the recognition it received, because it is one of the best products of its kind on the market in South Africa.

What do you enjoy the most about it?

I absolutely love engaging with consumers in a creative way, such as through celebrity endorsements as it allows me to meet high-profile people (I'm a bit of a groupie). I also enjoy the travelling that comes with my job.

What type of person will make a success of this position?

A person who is open-minded, acknowledges the power of branding, is not intimidated by change and thinks out of the box.

What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study towards this career?

If one is specifically looking at a marketing qualification, I would recommend that one studies the fundamental core subjects such as mathematics, business economics and accounting. But I did home economics in my matric year, so the subjects that one should choose are not cast in stone.

What does one study at tertiary level to be able to get into this career?

The interesting thing about marketing is that it is a science that can be applied in almost any industry. Therefore I would say that one should follow one's passion and marketing will find you. Seriously though, I know of colleagues who studied journalism, drama and even medical science who currently have careers in marketing.

What growth prospects are there in this career?

I personally believe that it is up to the individual to manage their own career and how far they go up the corporate ladder is up to them.

A person can be a brand manager, marketing director, chairperson or even the chief marketing officer based on how much effort they put into making their career the best for themselves.

What career opportunities exist for an assistant brand manager?

At Unilever, specifically, there is an opportunity in customer marketing, brand development and consumer research. Outside Unilever I see opportunities in advertising, research organisations or even entrepreneurship.