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Life Behind Marketing Premium Brands

Thenjiwe Mabope

Thenjiwe Mabope, shares with us what her role at premium brand, Pernod Ricard entails, as well as her career tips to young people

What does your role as Trade Marketing Specialist at Pernod Ricard entail?

A trade marketing specialist, in essence, is the person responsible for the execution of brand campaigns in the various routes to market channels such as retailers, hotels, restaurants and any consumption outlet where your product is being sold.
This entails taking the brand plan and executing the plan with all business stakeholders such as agencies and retailers.

Journey us into how you got to where you are in your career.

I first started my journey into brand marketing through artist management. I then moved into experiential events agency before becoming a fully fledge advertising exec at some of South Africa’s leading advertising agencies namely Ogilvy & Mather; TBWA and others. I worked as an account manager which is, in essence, the liaison between a brand and the creative agency. After 4 years managing various FMCG brands such Castle Lite, Peroni, Quality Street, Marlboro, Mr. Muscle and others, I moved over to brand side as a trade marketer at Pernod Ricard as I had enough experience executing advertising campaigns on the agency side. From trade marketing I moved over to brand marketing for Champagnes Mumm, Perrier Jouët and Martell Cognac which is the current position that I am in.

What is the best part of your job and why?

The best part of my job definitely is being able to see a strategy that you have written come to life either on television, digital, billboards or consumer events. I also really am grateful to meet amazing people such as Usain Bolt who is the global Mumm Champagne ambassador who we call ‘Chief Entertainment Officer’ or launch a completely new brand such as the Martell VS Single Distillery and see it take market share from brands that have been in the market long before us. I al enjoy the aspect of travel s this is probably my biggest passion.

Describe your busiest day?

My busiest day would include going over the volumes my brands are sitting on, planning a promotion with a retailer, sitting on digital marketing plans, reviewing sales volumes, attending events.

Who does the Pernod Ricard brand appeal most to and how have you managed to build brand loyalty through your role? 

Pernod Ricard is a leading French company that produces premium spirits and wines. The company owns brands such as Mumm Champagne, Absolut Vodka, Jameson Whiskey, Chivas Regal Whiskey, The Glenlivet Whiskey, Malibu Rum, Kahlua, Martell Cognac, Beef Eater Gin, Havana Club Rum, Perrier Jouët, Ballantine’s Whisky, Olmeca Tequila, Red Heart Rum, and others. This broad portfolio touches various different kinds of people with various tastes.

My team, looking after the French portfolio are edging forward on amazing properties such as the Sun Met Celebrated with Mumm which was an event that was previously owned by J&B bringing the event to the next level and into the luxury space with Usain Bolt in attendance next year on the 27th of January 2018. On our cognac Martell VS, we have partnered with the Afropunk Festival which is a first occurrence of the festival on African shores.

Do you have a mentor, why/ why not?

There are various women I look up to and go out of my way to find the insights into how they got to where we are. I think it’s extremely important for young professionals to seek enlightenment from people who have walked the path they are looking to emulate so they have a sounding board and road map of what not to do and which approach to take as your mentors have already walked that path or can give you sound advice.

 What is the best career advice you have received that you still apply in your career?

I went to a talk give n by Khanyi Dhlomo and one of the things that struck me the most out of her talk was that we have to build depth of knowledge in our current fields before we venture into the next. I have observed that young professionals most times are always looking for better opportunities which is not wrong but we hardly give ourselves time to build depth of knowledge in a particular field. I think if you give the time to completely become an expert in one field in order to gain full credibility and respect in your field.

What are your long-term career goals

I cannot say where exactly I will be in 10 years because the world is ever changing around us and so should we but I foresee sitting on boards of youth startups and NGOs alike but most importantly I hope to continue learning, leading and adding value to the lives of others.

 To the unemployed young person who is hustling to make a success of themselves what would your advice be?

Don’t wait for people to approach you, you go to them. Don’t wait for the perfect role, get your foot in the door even if it’s not exactly where you want to be and work yourself up from there.

Use the networks you already have around you to find a job. In your group of 5 friends by some extension through your network, there is an opportunity for you somewhere. Talk to people! Tell them your interests and capabilities.

How would you define success and have you achieved it?

Success to me is freedom. Global mobility, economic freedom and freedom to choose what you want to do when you want to do it with whom you want to do it with. That is the ultimate goal and I am definitely going to have it, I believe it and will receive it.

Connect with Pernod Ricard on:

Instagram: @pernodricard_za

Twitter: @PernodRicard_za


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