For this segment of Women In marketing, we chat with Konaye who is a Social Media Community Manager at Pepkor. The Eastern Cape born marketer has a strong passion for food, she has successfully translated this into food content creation. We chat about the importance of customer excellence especially as well as mentorship
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, KONAYE. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I love answering this question because I get to revisit my fondest memories with people that matter the most to me. I am originally from the Eastern Cape but currently based in Cape Town. I was born in Mthatha.
I have meaningful memories of me growing up and going to spend holidays at my granny’s home. We would sit around the heater on a gloomy winter day with my siblings, cousins and grandmother whilst playing games and playing cards. My gran would pour us some tea in a saucer making sure that we are warm and fed us while our mothers were in the city chasing their careers.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I was happy. I was extroverted and very proud. Being bullied was one of my greatest fears; I think I had to bring out my strongest side so that it was almost impossible for anyone to even think of bullying me. I wasn’t that ambitious, but I knew what I wanted to be in future. My high school years were fun.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
An eagle. The eagle is an embodiment of strength, leadership, a desire for abundance, being true to one’s self and having a deep connection with creation. It is about life. It is connecting with a much deeper power. It is about following the light and hunting for the opportune moments in life.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
Oxtail with chunky mashed potatoes.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I am obsessed with pretty spaces and beautiful property. I would get myself a beautiful home overlooking breathtaking views.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!
I am a home cook, recipe developer and food content creator.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
I got to a point where I had discovered the creative flare in me and my imaginative mindset to come up with unique ideas to solve the real-world issues that can increase the visibility of a brand among its customers.
I am obsessed with excellent customer service, and I understand the importance of marketing processes very well.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I start my day with affirmations and planning what to tackle first when I get to the office, LOL! I need to be mentally prepared. My days as a Social Media Community manager are different as I work with customers that are on social media and managing social media platforms. You can never know what to expect really.
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I have not yet mastered this skill, to be honest. I think some months it’s better some it’s just worse.
Working with Social media that doesn’t “close” or sleep can be very tricky but because there are certain apps that we can use to make our lives easier I gravitate towards those and make sure that I prioritise. I bring my strengths to play and try to remember that I am doing the best I can.
SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?
Mentorship is important. It helps one navigate a career path or even life in general. It’s always really great to get advice or guidance from people “who have been there” and “done that”. If one has a person they can trust and someone that aligns with what they are looking for within their careers, they can take on mentoring someone or being mentored.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
I always check my tasks of the day and write down my three most important tasks then prioritise those. Another thing that I do is set reminders for everything, even sending out emails, checking my mailbox etc.
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?
I used to have a short concentration span within a role up until I joined a company.
I have not thought about moving or looking for another role. I learnt that changing a job for money can be a bad idea that can hit you in the long run. However, people who change their jobs because there’s an opportunity to learn a new set of skills on the other side is a smart move. If one manages time within a role and sets a plan for themselves on how long they want to be there for, is also fair.
FOR IT’S 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?
Woman belong in the boardroom. I think that we have a different approach to things, we think differently and our strong voices in meetings can come with positive decision makings in boardrooms and within marketing plannings.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?
I think that old fashioned notion that women in senior roles could need a male backup within a team.
ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY THE TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER. THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
I think the whole perception that employees working from home impede on their productivity has a significant influence on companies not implementing this in time. I don’t believe that working from home is a privilege or anything like that. People who love their jobs will deliver work no matter where you put them.
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?
Artificial Intelligence has already been here for a while.
Marketers deal with it daily in various tools they use, be it for email marketing, content, or analytics on socials and campaigns. For me, a product or an idea becomes innovative when it stands out from the rest and truly makes the customers’ lives easier. A successful change that can convert knowledge and ideas into a benefit in the form of new or improved products/services is capable of being innovative.
Something that is literally “out of the box”. A completely new way of thinking, solving a problem or taking something that is existing to the next level. It’s a different way of approaching something. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, but a solution that gives a different perspective and opens everyone’s eyes. At its best, innovation is simple to see and deliver and powerful in execution.
HEMAL THAKKAR, BRAND MANAGER FOR BURGER KING INDIA IS A RECENT WOMEN IN MARKETING FEATURE. ONE OF THE KEY AREAS SHE IDENTIFIED FOR CONTINUED GROWTH IS THAT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF MARKETING LOOK LIKE ACCORDING TO YOU?
I think that millennials will be the largest chunk of customers soon. They are the most formally educated generation ever, the most technology-supplied generation and looks like the wealthiest generation to come. They already prefer the virtual world to the real one. Technology at their disposal will become the extension of themselves.
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
I’d tell myself to find something that I’m passionate about and use that as a wheel to move to the other side of fear where my power lies and everything else will then fall into place.
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?
To stop overthinking things and overvaluing people.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Professionally, appearing on the top 200 mail and guardian young South Africans. Personally, taking time out to go and visit Africa and get to experience different cultures.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I don’t get to have a lot of time to read. When I do, I like reading a biography book. I enjoy getting a glimpse into a great person’s life while also teaching us the context in which that person lived.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I think I’d come back as a fashion buyer. I don’t see it as a missed calling but something that I can still pursue even if it’s outside of my career.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I am not a series or movie person. I enjoy watching short videos and short documentaries that are maybe on youtube.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
A friend of mine that is also in the marketing space and doing good for herself within the space, Sive Ntoni.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Your career journey is exactly that, YOURS! Move swiftly towards the other side of fear because you are capable of being anything that you want to be in life if you put in the work.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME KONAYE. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
They can follow me on Instagram: Kon_nesh
Follow my hobby page (my recipes): Bites_with_kornbite
Linkedin: Konaye Dlatu