Caroline Keyes, Brand Manager, Mars Ireland
What does your job involve?
As Brand Manager I manage a portfolio of brands, creating and executing strategies that will ultimately grow and drive our business forward. Usually I’ll be working on a number of projects, whether as a member or leader of a team. The most creative aspect of my role involves working on campaigns, deciding with our media teams on what TV copy to air and the look and feel of a campaign.
What is your global involvement?
I work quite closely with the UK and our global teams, deciding what products to take for the next one to three years, what our strategies will be, and feeding into our overall global vision for those products.
What skills make you successful?
Strong interpersonal and communication skills, as you’re constantly working with people with varying skill sets, knowledge bases and methods of working. You need to be able to quickly establish good working relationships. Creativity and initiative is vital to make you stand out. There’s no set formula for marketing. You’re constantly looking at the key trends and exploring opportunities to talk to your consumers. Lastly, having what I would call ‘total business acumen’, having good groundings in finance and supply chains. No matter what role you have you will be managing a budget, and in brand management you could be in charge of a brand’s entire P&L (Profit and Loss), so it’s important not to ignore any of the subjects you’re studying in business studies.
What’s the best thing about your job?
One of the great things about working with Mars is working with some of the world’s best brands. I love that for the rest of my career, I’m not going to be doing the same job. I work on the chocolate team now, but I could move into pet care, gum, areas with completely different dynamics.
Any advice for students?
I got really involved in societies. I was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul society for a while where I led a few initiatives. It has stood to me in my career to date.