Joining us on this segment of Women In Marketing is Prieshka who runs her own consultancy, Helium Marketing. Coming from a strong matriarchal family, she shares her marketing journey thus far and highlights the importance of empathic leadership especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s learn more
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in Durban and grew up in Chatsworth, which is a previously disadvantaged community. My dad died when I was five years old. I was raised by my mother and I have two sisters. The community was supportive; they rallied behind our family. My grandmother lived with us and helped my mum, she was an incredible matriarch and was very admired and looked upon as a community leader. I miss that kind of community spirit; we knew everyone on our street. I am still friends with my neighbours.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I am an excellent Roblox player as I have had extensive training from my 6 year old daughter.)
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Firstly I would acquire a large plot of land with my friend and open the best dog village in South Africa. It will be known as ‘King Chief’s amazing pet sanctuary for exceptional young dogs’. There will be a Lifestyle Center with a doggy salon, treats shop, doggy gym, pet psychologist, vet services, dog clothing designer and a nutritionist who can recommend the right food for your furbaby. There will be a huge play park and a fitness instructor.
Then I would give a chunk to Dr Suleiman at Gift of the Givers and say do with it as you please. Perhaps he will campaign for the presidency? One can dream.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Crab Curry – Durban Style! I will end friendships for it.
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?
Both my sisters are doctors (lol).
For me, medicine wasn’t ever a career choice. My brain doesn’t work in that way. I recall a friend mentioning marketing as an option for careers day at school, so I signed up. I had a job shadow opportunity with one of the Brand Managers at Unilever. I remember walking through the offices and seeing all these creatives dressed in jeans and t-shirts lounging around and brainstorming campaigns. I was mesmerised by the abundance of creativity as well as how they were not confined to think linearly. The inception of original thought and the whole ideation process was then and still is very alluring to me.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
A flamingo – because, legs for days!
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I love travelling and have so far visited six continents and 16 countries. I hope we can start travelling again soon. Money can’t buy you happiness but it can get you a plane ticket. That’s kind of the same thing, right?
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!
Without my morning coffee, I am just a big ol’ bubbling kettle of crazy #teamcoffee yaaaas! I also rely heavily on my Spotify playlists to set the tone for the day. If it’s not too cold, I will get a yoga session in before work.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Being successful is having a balance of great stories to tell across all aspects of your life. I give every area the attention it deserves.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR CERTIFICATE IN DIGITAL MARKETING 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?
Digital marketing is practical. The skills acquired for this work are learned by doing. Get stuck in and try. Added to this, companies like Google, Hubspot and LinkedIn offer free online learning of their products. A lot of learning institutions offer free online courses too. Make use of all the opportunities that are available to you.
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?
Some companies appreciate and admire the drive of job hoppers. They constantly grow and build their careers and for many people, it can mean a salary increase. Be careful, though, as job-hopping may impede you from developing a positive track record.
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 empathy is a superpower, more women lead with empathy than men. Recognition that women have higher empathy levels probably accounts for their relative success as CMOs internationally. Empathy leads to a deeper understanding of customers, their needs and fears, their concerns and expectations, which yields better products, a more seamless onboarding experience and therefore feeds the commercial aspects of the business for example higher sales.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING A 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?
Many employers would like to support their employees with flexibility and remote working solutions however, many do not know how to execute this effectively. Success boils down to their technology setup, culture and management structure. Having the relevant technology in place is imperative. Employees need to have a home inspection from their IT divisions to ensure they have a capable online system and access to any information they may need to work effectively. Companies who are not using SaaS or other cloud based applications are creating barriers to remote work.
The other point to mention is that many managers are not skilled in managing work from home teams and find it very difficult to manage remote workers. They are conditioned in managing by face to face meetings and they attribute the employees’ contribution by knowing you get in early and leave late. Because of their lack of skill, they choose not to offer or allow remote work, or even flexible schedules which can stifle creativity and productivity. I wrote a piece about this on our blog.
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 WELL-BEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
It is important to set clear boundaries and stick to them, book your leave and days off in advance, set an automated out-of-office response on your email and communicate your actions with your team or clients so that they do not feel unsupported. Plan so that you do not ever feel overwhelmed as you will have provisions in place concerning handling your work when you do return or are available.
STORYTELLING SEEMS TO BE THE NEXT RISING BUZZWORD. WHAT’S THE Helium Marketing STORY? HOW ARE YOU TELLING IT IN AN INTERESTING WAY?
I come from a line of good storytellers.
We are a very imaginative family. It is something that I was able to bring into my career as a brand builder. At Helium Marketing we draw inspiration and base all our decisions on our values, which are: vision, care and passion. Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of Helium as we are 100% black female-owned. We are committed to supporting businesses in achieving their growth ambitions. We will always stay true to your vision and execute our work with care and passion.
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 Helium Marketing?
Innovation is being able to ideate, implement and create impact. Being able to come up with a big idea and seeing it come to life and create an impact in people’s lives is what makes us tick.
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?
What we saw in 2020 was the shifting of workers to remote and online as well as consumers from traditional retail to online. Traditional marketing methods were incompatible with the effects of a global pandemic; brands who embraced content creation and influencer marketing managed to find new creative ways to speak to this audience. While the IPA reported a 20% decline across advertising, influencers enjoyed a 46% increase. People no longer listen to what brands have to say. They listen to what people have to say. Therefore the influencer market will continue to grow.
HOW IS Helium Marketing CHANGING THE APPROACH TO MARKETING, GROWING BRAND AFFINITY, USER ADOPTION, AND ENGAGING CONSUMERS LIVING A DIGITAL LIFESTYLE?
At Helium Marketing, we take care of your creative and strategic needs so you can focus on running your business to its full potential. We are customer-centric and pay an enormous amount of time and detail on strategies that speak to the complete life cycle and psychology around innovation and adoption. We’re driven by technology as much as design and content to ensure we meet the market on the platforms that they wish to engage on. We live a fully digital remote work lifestyle. Our key mission of helping our clients achieve their successful future is top of mind.
HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE DATA TO INFORM YOUR DECISION-MAKING?
At Helium Marketing, we have a growth mindset, and we know that for businesses to grow, they need to make smart choices. We do this in essence by doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t, and these decisions are always based on the data. We use methodologies rooted in data analytics and data science to inform our decision-making.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
Trevor Noah – Born a Crime
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
‘How to Become a Tyrant’, ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and ‘Rupaul’s drag race’ (always).
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 bow – then everyone would always feel regal.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My friends and family in the UK, it has been too long.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Be bold and take a chance on yourself. Speak up and don’t let conventionalism stand in the way of greatness.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Believe in yourself, forgive yourself and love yourself; you are smarter than you think and braver than you know. You’ve got this.
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?
Starting this new journey with my own business and going it alone. Forget about younger me, right now I need to remember that I am smart, tough and I can do this.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
I want to see the northern lights, and I would love to work with Netflix as I love their culture that promotes creativity and exploration of content.