Women should never underestimate their power, ability and worth.Denise Neethling
Denise is a Pretoria born marketer who oversees External Communications, PR and CSI Projects for Hungry Lion. On this segment of Women In Marketing, Denise takes us on a beautiful journey of humble beginnings and shares her sentiments on why experience will always outweigh a formal qualification. We also got to learn about Hungry Lion’s Pay It Forward campaign. We are definitely getting ourselves a bucket!
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in Pretoria, but spent my childhood days in a very small town called Ottosdal, situated in the North West Province. It was a small and intimate community – one of those towns where everyone knows everyone, a town full of friends. I have buckets full of memories, but the best has to be of my sisters and I camping in our garden, or picking strawberries with my parents in our backyard strawberry garden, or visiting the local butchery who would always give me a free piece of droewors. It was a magical time, so simple yet so special.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
Mmmm, well I am an avid singer! I used to take part in various singing competitions and even made it to the stages of some Music/Arts Festivals. To this day I still love to sing and do so with belting enthusiasm, however, my car, kids, husband and shower make up the scope of my audience nowadays 🙂
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Wow, wouldn’t that be awesome! Well, being South African that amounts to significantly more in ZAR, so, I would clear our debt, take my extended family on an amazing holiday to a beach resort and donate a percentage to selected kids and animal welfare organisations. I would immediately invest some towards my kids’ future, and then bank the rest to use sparingly every day.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Braaivleis! The perfect braai in my opinion consists of crispy lamb chops, a braaibroodjie with cheese, tomato, onion and mayo, wors and potato with sour cream and salad.
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
The exciting, creative and innovative nature thereof! It is as rewarding as it can be challenging. I love thinking outside the box, or sometimes even staying in that box but merely adjust the angle of the spotlight. My inner cheerleader loves being able to generate excitement amongst people or evoking a desire in them for a need they never even knew existed.
I was offered the opportunity to launch a brand, the first of its kind, in SA and that challenge was not only met but exceeded to the point where I managed to get the brand to be the biggest of its kind in SA. That was probably what cemented my love, my passion and my devotion to Marketing, PR and Communications.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
Mmm, this one is difficult as there are so many aspects of various animals I like and admire and crave to have. But let’s go with a Duck. Because then I can swim, fly and walk – so that enables me to break limitations. I can make a noise when I need to. My feathers are covered with oil-like substance, enabling me to not let too much get to me. I love quacking with friends but can be on my own – shows teamwork abilities as well as good independent working skills. So, yes, I’ll be this beaky-beast 🙂
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I can hula hoop while standing on a ball.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
#TeamCoffee all the way!
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Through effective planning, time management and with a pinch of salt. Sometimes life and work across each other’s lines, and that’s OK. It is exactly that attitude that ensures I balance my balance to suit my life.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR HONORS DEGREE IN MEDIA STUDIES AND SPECIALISED WRITING FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN (GIRL YOU FANCY!). ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME SEEMINGLY EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
Read articles written by all people, not necessarily only experts in your desired field of interest. Ask Questions. Subscribe to websites that regularly focus on articles about your interest. There are many online courses you can do. The great thing about that is that you build a broad range of insights and knowledge. And the biggest piece of advice: if you cannot get a degree, get experience!
Nothing beats practical experience. In every job you do you hone your people skills and you will gain insight into people’s behaviour, people’s reactions, desires, needs and wants.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
It can do either. Job Hopping is neither bad nor good, it depends on the reason behind it. If you land a job but feel it’s not a fit, or you’re not able to either give it your all or perhaps you feel you’re not being utilised to the fullest of your potential, then, by all means, move on and create a job opportunity for someone else who will fit where you don’t.
But, remember to always take experience and learn from every job you hop into and out of.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
Because women know sharing is caring. We share the love and the business, and in that way create the perfect Marketing combination. Women can very easily see the compassionate side of marketing, as well as the cut-throat business side. Women should never underestimate their power, ability and worth. It’s like I heard in a movie once, women are the necks, not the head. Not because we can’t be the head, but because the head cannot function without the neck. And, if the head wants to look left, the neck needs to steer it that way.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
Just because it was never the norm. Going to work implies going out of your home. So, that is what we did, and have been doing. Recent times, however, and the onset of the global pandemic has forced us all to think differently.
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
It’s simple really. Stick to the rules, work during the allocated hours. It is a case of trust. If you can trust your employees to still give 100% during working hours, despite being at home, you shouldn’t have to contact them after hours. But, sometimes, depending on the project, or situation, some after hour work is required, and that’s OK, that in turn shows your work ethic in a whole other way.
MARKETING OBJECTIVES WILL MOST LIKELY CHANGE DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. HOW HAS YOUR ORGANISATION PIVOTED WHERE MARKETING IS CONCERNED, AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY AMID THE PANDEMIC?
We adapted to a new way of marketing our brand whilst still reaching our target market in a way they want to be reached. Overnight everything changed, so we jumped in and made it work by increasing focus on digital and how we can humanise that. There is no hiding that COVID-19 has changed not only the traditional way of marketing but also digital marketing.
From pivoting our business model to the digital marketing campaigns we run as well as the social media campaigns we launch, we know it is important to stay in tune with those around you, and still, continuously ask “how can our business help the community?”.
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE? HOW DO YOU DEFINE INNOVATION AT Hungry Lion?
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but sometimes you need to apply imagination, creativity and some practical skills to find new ways in which it can be used, or utilised to do what you need.
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING, THE DIGITAL MARKETING INSTITUTE ESTIMATED THAT THE INFLUENCER MARKETING INDUSTRY WILL HIT THE $10BN MARK BY 2020. WHETHER B2B OR B2C, IT’S EVIDENT THAT BRANDS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE HAD THEIR SUCCESS WITH THIS MODEL OF MARKETING. HOW WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECT THIS INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD AND DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
Everything has its place if you find a way to make it fit. Yes, the way we use influencers may have changed, but the question about if this kind of marketing is still relevant answers a BIG YES. Now actually more than ever we need inspiration, we need heroes, we need positivity and people to reinforce a positive and feel-good attitude.
ANY RECENT/UPCOMING INFLUENCER MARKETING CAMPAIGNS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE FROM Hungry Lion?
We’re launching our second PAY IT FORWARD campaign on 12 October, and while we will use influencers to assist, we’re bringing out the positive influence society can have on each other by offering a platform for the everyday man to be an everyday hero and help feed someone in need. So, how it will work is for every 21 Piece Bucket you buy at a Hungry Lion Store in RSA, we’ll GIFT you a voucher for a second 21 Piece Bucket to pay forward to a friend or family member who deserves a bucket full of joy. We’re very excited about this and so proud to be able to help people help more people, especially in this time of need.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Relax, don’t stress and tackle every task as you would eat an elephant: one bite at a time. Attitude is EVERYTHING and can be the make or break of productivity and success. So make sure your attitude is positive then your outcome will be too.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
Kids’ books! Haha, I have 2 toddlers so my reading at home is mostly confined to fairytales – but that allows me to escape and look at the world with childlike excitement. But, when I put my grown-up hat back on, I like to keep up to speed with current news and industry insights. While I prefer paperback, the internet is a treasure chest of information and being a full time working Mom I rely on ereaders/podcasts or online articles to satisfy my daily thirst for information.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Haha, to start watching it!
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
This can be a lot of fun! A few are depending on who I am saying hello to … To say hello to close friends, I’ll opt for the Shooter McGavin tongue click and duel hand pointer move. To greet a stranger, why not show respect with a casual salute? To greet my husband or kids, a wink will do.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My childhood best friend.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Have fun with it. Learn from it. Let it inspire you to be bold in your creative approach. Marketing and PR impacts every aspect of the business, you hold more power than you think.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
You’re in for an interesting ride! And just when you think life is good, it’s going to get even better!
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
Having recently moved into a new industry, the challenge is to become a master in it while retaining the attitude of a student eager to learn more about it.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
Travel to Croatia with my husband. To take my kids on an island holiday. To have a proper Safari getaway with my husband and kids, and to learn how to speak French. At the moment “Je parle un peu de français”.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
My Mom, my Sisters and my Mom-in-law. But, I believe empowered women empower women, so I think every woman deserves to wear the Hero Badge.
HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Hungry Lion South Africa: