Patricia Ansong, LinkedIn, Women In Marketing (Black)
Women In Marketing

Women In Marketing 2020 Edition ft. Patricia Ansong from Ciment de l’Afrique

Patricia is Head of Marketing at Ciment de l’Afrique. The Ghanaian marketer was introduced to entrepreneurship from an early age as both her parents were business people. Patricia shares how employee’s wellness can be managed especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Welcome to this year end edition of Women In Marketing

LET’S GET PERSONAL

WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?    

Accra. The capital city of Ghana.  One of my fondest memories was when I finally joined the marketing function in 2013 at Nestle after four years of waiting for the opportunity from the Finance function.  Another memory was when I had two graduations in 2018, post-degree in marketing and Chartered Institute of Marketing. 

SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS? 

Dancing!  Creative inspirations flow freely and effortlessly with me.  African dishes prepared with natural spices is finger-licking for me.

WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE? 

Get myself and family a good treat on an island, invest for the future and sponsor needy but brilliant girls’ vocational skill education in sales and marketing.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!   

Ebunuebunu soup (green soup cooked with snails, game meat and dry smoked fish) with plain local rice.

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?  

I never wanted to be a Doctor.  I declined  an admission into a top Girls’ High school in Ghana  to study science.  But I ended up in an unpopular school that society less regard and hadn’t heard its name before  so I could study business as a course .  Both parents were all into sole proprietorship and as a first child, I had to support them in selling, bookkeeping, debt collection etc.  

My passion grew as a child to offer solutions to people’s needs.

IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?  

A true parrot.  Parrots’ colourful flighted hook-billed spikes my creativity and with their lifespan of not less than 40 years inspires me on longevity to accomplish my purpose on earth..  They are true to who they are and do not follow the crowd. A parrot  follows its instinct; making it hard to be captive. These attributes describe who I am.  Their bold personality inspires me a lot.

WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?  

My profile cut across marketing food, home care, personal care, and now engineering aside banking & finance, hospitality etc. for west and central African countries.  What my LinkedIn profile didn’t highlight is how I overcame those obstacles each  role change brought. .  

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!  

My day starts with a cup of coffee and a slice of bread after some few minutes of exercise.  I play some motivational music/gospel while listing the priorities for the day.  I check my outstanding from the previous day and quickly glance through my mails….Then the day kicks on!

HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE? 

It hasn’t been too well managed until this year of working from home happened.  I usually catch up with my social life late at night when those who needed to engage me have retired to bed. 

I try to have a work-life integration but, there’s more room for improvements.  Now I have a house help to share the house chores with so I can focus on my health and well being.  .  Whenever I’m able to make time to hang out, , I  go all out.

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?  

The end goal of the person will tell.  The joy and fulfillment one derives from a job will determine if it’s worth moving or staying. My 12 years of official working experiences have been with three FMCGs with lots of functional and geographical exposure .  I enjoyed the journey  because of the varying experiences and growth! . . These played a key role in spending the long number of years in the various career moves.

Jobs should be satisfying either in career impactful growth or financial gains; depending on one’s goals. Job-hopping must be done strategically, with clear objectives so  better future opportunities.

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?   

Women mostly have soft skills for generational growth which comes to them naturally than men. .  Some needed skills in marketing such as curiosity, multitasking, empathy, organizing, result-orientation with speed and agility,  all come to women naturally.

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?  

Up until the Covid pandemic, most businesses wouldn’t have a backup plan to work agile.  The change from office to remote working takes a lot of employer-employee working cultural change; maintaining a sense of ownership, being able to manage the desired result for continuous improvement in attaining business results.   Businesses lacking the ability to convert today are those without or with a weak contingency strategy. 

Visual Capitalist Graph, Women In Marketing
Image source: Visual Capitalist
Data source: Barchart

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?  

Introduce check-in moments where line managers check up on their reports at least once a week. Introduce wellbeing hour (an hour off work to attend to personal needs) aside from the lunch break.  End the week with an online ‘Happy moment’ with some music and dance where families could join. 

Remote Working, Women In Marketing 1
Top Struggles of Remote Workers
Source: Visual Capitalist

Once a month, organise a virtual lunch where meals are delivered to employees in their various locations and taken together online watching videos together.  

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?  

In the wake of covid ’19 that came with lockdown measures, the world resorted to the channel that offers timely news and entertainment to release the pressure of the pandemic. Changes in technology and consumer behaviour have always been the main drivers of change in marketing strategies. 

In today’s changing digital environment, the speed, relevance and complexity of these elements are crucial to digitize the marketing activities so consumers can be reached and generate demand. 

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?   

According to research, digital marketing  has been predicted to grow post covid. This marketing channel is expected to  become part of consumer behaviour. Businesses building their brands via this channel are likely to increase their revenues. 

So yes, influencer marketing is expected to grow exponentially since both brands (influencer + product/service) are intentionally growing their digital platforms 

WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF UNILEVER BIGGEST SUCCESSES IN MARKETING OVER THE PAST 12 TO 18 MONTHS? 

Earned media and word of mouth from its purposeful brand building activities over the years.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARKETING AND SALES ALIGNMENT? HOW DO YOU ALIGN YOUR MARKETING AND SALES TEAM AT UNILEVER?  

Company culture and structure. When an employee has an entrepreneurial mindset, it aides in teamwork and accountability. Which is why, irrespective of ones’ function, the end goal becomes the focus.  Categorize the business according to brands being  built instead of core functions mainly. 

Run lots of dual sales and marketing activities that bring the team together.  Structure dotted and line responsibility across these two functions and lastly, compensation packages shouldn’t be too far apart.

2020 AND BEYOND

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Family Felicity by Brand Michel.  I love reading everything about kids and interior decoration.  These align with my passion of supporting the vulnerable, especially kids and creative arts

WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?  

Nothing on netflix for me. I do more movies on external drives than on the internet.  I love to watch movies but am unable to make time for them until I’m on holidays.

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? 

A wink.

WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY? 

My car mechanic

A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY  

Be curious to know and try new things.  Your empathy starts building from there.  Your instinct is your first Prophet so obey without fear.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF? 

To love me first so I can love the world even better.

WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? 

To be able to prioritise taking care of myself before others.

ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?

To be able to climb the tallest mountain in Ghana.

HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Here is my LinkedIn profile

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Head of Relationship Management at naughtybanana. I am a father to an awesome boy who thinks highly of me; perhaps I'm doing something right after all. When I'm not establishing new business relationships, you might catch me reading a book or of course, being an awesome dad.