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Women In Marketing

Women In Marketing Interview | Angelique Pow Chong

“Companies should weight each person as individuals and not based on gender but rather on their skill set, capabilities and performance deliveries”

Angelique Pow Chong

Angelique is Ford Motor Company South Africa’s Marketing Communications Manager. Believe it or not, she wanted to be a pilot growing up. With an Honours degree already in the bag and a Masters in her crosshairs, she’s definitely flying high if you ask us! Let’s hear her story in this segment of Women In Marketing

THE JOURNEY TAKEN 

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career in marketing? How’d you end up at Ford Motor Company?

I grew up in beautiful Port Elizabeth completing my ND in marketing and quickly learnt that if I wanted to have a career in marketing, the experience was a must and this is how I made my move to the Gauteng. Learning is really something I believe is important to the foundation of my marketing knowledge and the person to who I am today,  be this from other people, experiences, (definitely travel and exposure to many different cultures) and studies, I completed my Honours Degree in marketing last year and now I am soon to start my Masters (Ahhhhh!)

I have been fortunate to have worked for 4 great multinational companies in different industries gaining my vast experience across multiple disciplines in marketing – marketing is not just marketing – it’s so much more – and I can definitely attribute all the learnings, opportunities and wins I have experienced to where I am at Ford today.

You have accumulated an envious amount of experience having worked with companies such as Samsung, Huawei as well as Econet. What did you learn from these roles and how do you apply experiences in your current role at Ford Motor Company?

What I have learnt from these roles at these great companies, is that establishing relationships and respecting your peers is definitely what contributes towards success in your role, in any organisation, it is important that in some instances you need to be a decision-maker on your own but also you cannot achieve success on your own.

I have learnt how important it is to have goals and visions to drive the direction of the company towards achieving its objectives as well as how important it is to be a leader that is humble to not only stand and lead but also to learn from mistakes and how to pick oneself up from these mistakes and improve and achieve great success from these learnings.

I apply these experiences in my everyday role, whether it is working with internal or external stakeholders to strive towards achieving success and wins for the company.

Several studies reveal that women account for the majority of purchase decisions including traditional male products such as automobiles, consumer electronics as well as home improvement products. Despite this, surveys show that advertisers still do not understand women. Why do you think this is the case and what should change?

As marketers, we need to think of purchasers as consumers and not separated by gender, age, race and religion. Consumer journeys form an important place in terms of how a marketing plan is communicated and forms an integral part in how to create and communicate the purchase funnel in the plans.

What does the word feminist mean to you?

Equal rights for women

Who are some of your female heroes?

There are so many inspirational women, and I admire them for so many different reasons. 

Leanne Dlamini is someone I admire not only as a woman, wife, and mother but also as an entrepreneur and a woman who supports women empowerment – she has used her platform for something inspirational.

Definitely Zozibini Tunzi someone who gives me that wow feeling when I think of how she has crowned Miss South Africa and then Miss Universe, coming from the Eastern Cape as well – she is someone who really came back fierce from a set-back. She overcame her challenges and is her true self who showed this not only in South Africa but to the world, this takes courage and I have so much respect for her.

My Mom! My sister! Many of my cousins, aunts, family and friends – they all inspire me!

Angelique and family. Women In Marketing
Angelique and her family.
Source: Supplied

What steps can companies take to make their businesses more equal in terms of pay and employees with regards to gender?

Companies should weight each person as individuals and not based on gender but rather on their skill set, capabilities and performance deliveries.

What have you learned at Ford Motor Company that you had not learned at previous companies?

More about cars, how they work, how they are built and how the financing works! I love working close to the product of the companies I work for and the thing l love most about Ford is being able to watch in the plants in Silverton and Port Elizabeth how the people of South Africa work together to build an amazing vehicle – this makes me so proud to be part of something like this.

As a woman in the marketing and communications environment, what challenges do you face within and outside the organisation? What message do you have for other female professionals in the fraternity?

Challenges should rather be opportunities to create and develop solutions to be a better and fitter company. I never see a challenge as a challenge but rather as an opportunity.

My message to other professionals – be brave. You are more capable than you think. You can do it!

What made you fall in love with the world of marketing? What particular moment in time pushed you to pursue this as a career? After all, we all wanted to be Doctor’s growing up, right?

So funny, I wanted to be many things growing up which included a pilot, interior designer and a chiropractor. 

But the love of creating beautiful concepts (being creative) and giving people the reason to believe in something lead me into the field of marketing. I love the everchanging and ever-evolving environment, there is always something that is newer, more unique that you can do or learn. It is a growing environment to create new possibilities.

ENTERING THE WORKPLACE

What does your typical day of work look like? How does your calendar look and are you a coffee or tea kind of person?

I am a tea person – I need that “cuppa” every day!

My typical day – there is no typical day in marketing but I get to work with all kinds of people every day in an environment that is dynamic and fast-paced. 

COVID-19 has been a disruption to a number of organisations. So much that several businesses, small and big alike either having to cut down on staff or being forced to close down. On the same token, however, several organisations have used this time to regroup and use this as an opportunity for change in structure and processes. How has your organisation and specifically, your department, countered against the impact brought by the pandemic?

Our success and our abilities to overcome this disruption is definitely teamwork and communication.

Remote work and video conferencing have become proverbial overnight celebrities. Some say that it has been long overdue whilst others are struggling to adjust this new normal. What is your take on this and how have you structured your work accordingly?

I think remote working and video conferencing tools have afforded companies to be more agile as well as allow us as individuals to attend some amazing conferences that normally I wouldn’t have been able to attend due to a workday! Now I can attend many insightful conferences from different companies and have learnt so much.

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

What have been some of Ford Motor Company biggest successes in marketing over the past 12 to 18 months?

Biggest successes in marketing at Ford is the way that innovation that Ford has in its products and how it is communicated through its’ marketing.

What makes something innovative? How do you define innovation at Ford Motor Company?

Something is innovative when it makes our lives and world a better place. Innovation at Ford is forward-thinking and applying this into my everyday workspace.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Google, Google Drive, Translate, Whatsapp, email, CamScanner, Instagram (I love beautiful images), Paypal, Currency converter and and and and! I love technology and the convenience that apps and technology give you.

How do you leverage data to inform your decision-making?

Data helps us as marketers to understand consumer movements, where they are engaging, how they want to be engaged and what they want.

What do you see as some of the major trends in digital in the next 12 to 18 months?

A bigger drive in e-commerce

What are your thoughts on Marketing and Sales alignment? How do you align your Marketing and Sales team at Ford Motor Company?

Marketing and sales alignment is very important to a business – it gives me as a marketer the reason to believe why I am doing marketing – giving people the reason to believe in my product as well as how we align is through reporting and weekly, biweekly and monthly meetings with sales teams, agencies, internal and external stakeholders.

2020 AND BEYOND

What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information? Physical book vs eReader?)

A physical book that I am currently reading besides my regulations handbook for my studies is ‘The Courage to be Disliked’ by Ichiro Kishmi and Fumitake Koga.

A unique message for all young professionals in the marketing industry

Never stop learning. 

What haven’t you solved? What challenge is on your plate?

How to travel the world without it costing me so much 

Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read

Candra Neilson, Leigh-Ann van der Poel, Sandra Pow Chong

Any bucket list items (professional as well as personal)?

My bucket list is so long but I would love to see Sri Lanka, Mexico, Argentina, Cuba……the list can go on forever and for the reasons of experiencing cultures, world heritage sites, the food the music and for beautiful beaches.

What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?

With COVID impacting us globally – this will definitely change the way we market, engage, travel, communicate and hopefully the change to make the world a better and healthier place. In terms of a technology trend or development, I think VR and gaming will definitely lead to being a more popular way of marketing and engaging with consumers – this is already happening in other markets but I definitely see this growing.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Never underestimate what you are capable of

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Be uniquely true to myself and to be brave and honest – personally and professionally

Women In Marketing Interview | Angelique Pow Chong 1
Angelique and her partner
Source: Image supplied

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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.