In the TV show Mad Men, the Creative Director of an advertising firm, Don Draper, famously said: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation”.
Marketing has undergone a radical facelift. Gone are the heydays of polished marbled floors and stuffy corporate suits of traditional big advertising firms, as big data and digital analytics now shape the way marketing is carried out. With the overwhelming number of advertisements being churned out, consumers today are experiencing a sensory overload.
This means today’s marketers have to be more strategic and innovative to reach out to their target audience, using data insights and analytics to navigate the complex nature of the business landscape. We talked to two such marketers at BAT, Area Group Brand Manager Leong Meiyin and Brand Marketing Executive Darryl Chin.
Here’s what they both had to say:
1. Why did you choose to embark on a career in Marketing in the first place?
Darryl: So before I started in Brand Marketing, I worked in accounting at Dell. However, I found that over time I wanted to focus more on sharpening my entrepreneurship skills, such as the ability to lead my own projects and understand the business aspects of a global company.
After learning the ropes of Marketing for over 2 years, I discovered I could do more than just navigate a rapidly evolving and complex industry. At BAT, I’m entrusted with the important role of determining the organisation’s business direction through Brand Marketing. This entails effectively branding our products in order to appeal to target consumers and retain their brand loyalty to ours, rather than those of our competitors.
2. What can I expect from working in a Brand Marketing role? What is the scope of work within the function?
Darryl: I think a lot of people have this perception towards brand marketers that we’re building hype to promote products. In actuality, there’s a lot of planning that goes behind what we do. We constantly have to identify commercial opportunities in the market and pinpoint potential gaps, where we then need to kick into gear to design innovative project proposals from start-to-finish before finally launching new products.
For one of my first projects with BAT, I assisted with the design and launch of a brand new category of tobacco products that tackles the issue of illicit cigarette distribution across Malaysia. Even at an early point in my career, I was empowered to influence important decisions, which was absolutely invaluable to my growth as a Brand Marketer.
Meiyin: If you think of marketing at BAT as a wheel, then you can picture Brand Marketing as the hub and spokes of that wheel where all the other functions revolve around Brand Marketing. This means that we as Brand Marketers drive the overall business model on a level where marketing departments in other companies are not.
Since we’re usually the first function to be briefed on the organisation’s business vision, we’re also the ones tasked to define the marketing strategy and bring this vision to life. It’s a truly eye-opening experience to be involved in big projects from start to finish.
3. How does being a Brand Marketer make you a more versatile and agile professional in the working world? If I take up Brand Marketing, will the skills I develop be valuable to my professional growth?
Darryl: On top of typical skillsets like project management and brand planning, a Brand Marketer’s job scope extends into other interesting areas like developing foresights on evolving consumer and market trends through data analytics. We also get to present our plans to the organisation’s management team, which is definitely a rare privilege not many junior executives experience at other companies.
I have to say that Brand Marketing has developed my confidence and ability to engage people across various levels both within and outside our industry. Ultimately, it’s this level of empowerment that prepares me for greater heights in the long run.
Meiyin: Personally, my experience has shown that Brand Marketing provides a great platform for young professionals to develop and hone their business fundamentals. For instance, you’ll develop transferrable skills like project management, commercial acumen, analytical thinking, and most importantly, stakeholder management.
Being a brand marketer has given me plenty of avenues to engage and collaborate with stakeholders across different functions and levels. Even junior-level executives learn to exert influence and collaborate with others without holding the authority of a senior manager. It’s through these worthwhile experiences that we develop invaluable skills like stakeholder management, which many companies highly value today.
4. How do your roles as brand marketers set you apart from other marketers out there? What makes the nature of your work enriching and rewarding?
Meiyin: As a brand marketer, I work with large amounts of data from prestigious research institutions. I feel that this allows us to grow significantly, as we sharpen our analytical skills to come up with comprehensive project proposals that are factually sound and data-driven.
In terms of my daily interactions, I’m privileged to work with people who are extremely capable and have a high sense of ownership. This is one of the main reasons that I’m still inspired to work as a brand marketer after nearly two years at BAT. It’s very rewarding to be constantly challenged by people I can look up to and learn from every day.
Darryl: Most marketers in Malaysia who work for global companies don’t usually design products that are sold in the local market. Instead, they typically take existing ones designed by the global team to be repackaged and distributed to their domestic markets. I believe this is where my working experience as a brand marketer truly stands out.
Due to the nature of the business, I often have the autonomy to design products from scratch to cater to local consumers’ tastes and personal preferences. This is typically driven by research and data analytics, which provides us with valuable insights we use to redesign and localise BAT’s global products for Malaysia.
5. How are new initiatives in the industry shaping the way Brand Marketing is done?
Meiyin: A new initiative companies like BAT are spearheading is a new generation of devices known as potentially reduced-risk products, which includes and tobacco-heated products. These products are potentially less harmful, while still offering a similar experience to conventional tobacco products. Since they’re classified as electronic goods (somewhat like your Samsung phone), they open up opportunities for Brand Marketers to market the devices through a wider variety of channels, which includes digital platforms.
Moving forward, brand marketers at BAT are adapting to new consumer demands by tapping into a concept known as experiential marketing. Today many consumers, especially Millennials, are looking beyond what’s trendy. They want to interact with products that offer an experience that enhances their lifestyle and connects with them on a deeply emotional level. While these preferences are challenging to navigate, we see them as new windows of opportunity to engage with the market on a whole new level.
Are you ready to embark on an empowering and rewarding marketing career? You’re in luck, BAT is hiring today!
Considering a career in Brand Marketing? As Meiyin and Darryl have revealed, a company like BAT Malaysia is definitely a great place to launch your career in brand marketing. Take the first step of your journey by starting your application via .
You can also follow BAT on their LinkedIn page to learn about their exciting working culture, company initiatives, and career opportunities.