The Marketing Institute: What does a Marketing Director of HEINEKEN Ireland do?
Radina Shkutova: I work with HEINEKEN Ireland’s Management Team to deliver against our overall targets.
We’re responsible for building a strong and diverse portfolio, driving outstanding innovations and achieving growth. My marketing team is responsible for marketing the full brand portfolio (Heineken®, Orchard Thieves, Coors Light, Desperados and Murphy’s amongst others) to drive business growth.
MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
R.S: I started my career in account management with Publicis MARC Advertising in Bulgaria. Then I joined HEINEKEN Bulgaria, where I started in 2005, as junior brand manager on Heineken®. Over the years, I had different roles within marketing, being responsible for Heineken®, our international brands and our local strategic brands. In 2013, I became the Marketing Director (HEINEKEN Bulgaria) and then joined the Irish Team as Marketing Director in 2016.
MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
R.S: Ireland has one of the strictest self-regulatory codes in Europe. We have huge respect for the marketing codes and rules and have successfully managed to adapt global strategies to local markets and translate our brand communications respectfully. At HEINEKEN Ireland, we don't just abide by the codes, we live by the spirit of the codes.
However, given the importance that the role of advertising plays in new product development and innovation, we do face challenges with the proposed advertising restrictions in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. I believe that a balance could and should be struck between promoting public health and safeguarding jobs and local business in our communities.
MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
R.S: Leadership is the first skill I think any person working at this level requires. That requires empathy, sharp agile thinking and a genuine spirit of collaboration. For me, leading a culture of innovation is key. It’s always been core to what we are and what we stand for. Our Murphy's Brewery in Cork will celebrate 162 years this year and without an innovation mind-set, such success would not have been possible. Marketing, and consumer habits change at a phenomenal pace - to be successful, we need to develop our products and marketing, in a way that’s predictive and responsive to their ever-changing needs. Finally, strong commercial acumen is key to driving profits and being effective.
MII: Describe a typical working day.
R.S: My days are very varied – this is part of why I love my job. I work closely with my marketing team and our extended agency teams – helping them flourish in the development and delivery of exceptional marketing campaigns. From working with the team to develop smart KPIs and pin-sharp evaluation methodologies to making decisions on one of our brand’s creative or strategic direction, there’s no such thing as a ‘typical working day.’
I work a lot with the team in Amsterdam, ensuring we’re aligned on, and driving our overall, shared ambitions. Working with the Management Team here in HEINEKEN Ireland, we also have frequent sessions to ensure our on-trade, off-trade, finance, corporate relations, customer service & logistics teams are all aligned and collaborating to achieve maximum success.
MII: What do you love most about your role?
R.S: The people. Without a doubt, the best thing about HEINEKEN is the people. As a family run business, HEINEKEN has always had an incredible reputation as a great place to work - I feel privileged to be part of ‘the HEINEKEN family’. What I also really relish about my role, is the opportunity I have, and the support I get, to really make an impact and see our people, and our brands, grow. My role has afforded me opportunities to travel, to be part of an amazing, colourful, international culture and to work with some of the world’s smartest marketing minds. HEINEKEN has genuinely, as corny as it may sound, “Opened My World.”
MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
R.S: For now, I am fully focused on our success in Ireland. We’ve recorded phenomenal marketing and sales successes and I’m committed to continuing to energise myself, and my teams, to ensure we continue striving for success.
MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
R.S: I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best marketing and business talent in the world so I look to my colleagues here in HEINEKEN first. Outside of HEINEKEN, there are many people that professionally inspire me including Jeff Bezos, CEO and Founder of Amazon – it doesn’t get more consumer-centric than Amazon. I’ve always admired Irene Rosenfeld, the recently retired CEO of Mondelez International. With a marketing background, her leadership helped Mondelez become the world’s greatest snacking companies. When she retired she said that she “was most proud of the ethos she created whereby individuals care about one another, they have each other’s back and they care about the world they live in.” I think that’s inspiring.
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