The Marketing Institute: What does a Senior Manager for Brand, Marketing & Communications at Virgin Media do?
Niamh O’Driscoll: As Senior Manager for Brand, Marketing & Communications I head up the areas of strategic brand management, Consumer Insights and all ATL and sponsorship management activity. I have a fantastically brilliant team and we are responsible in large part for executing the marketing plans that drive the brand and in turn the commercial goals of the business.
What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
A lifetime in telco marketing! I’ve been a marketer in the Telco space for most of my career, first with Meteor where I spent over 7 years as Marketing Communications Manager and then with O2 where I worked as a Marketing Consultant on the Priority Moments loyalty program. In 2014 I moved to UPC and the following year we rebranded to Virgin Media. Such exciting times. I am a year into my current role at Virgin Media.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
The biggest challenge is making sure we are focused on key priorities that will drive the brand and our business. We are a small team working on a world renowned brand that is just three years old in the Irish market. I always feel that marketing presents never ending possibilities but it’s important to focus and place our bets on the activities backed by consumer insight that will best drive our objectives. Sometimes less done well is more!
What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
It’s really important to be able to see the bigger strategic picture, to be thinking well ahead. Planning and organisational skills are key as well as bringing people on the journey to align objectives, goals and plans and get everyone moving in the same direction including our agencies who are an extension of our team.
Describe a typical working day.
It’s a bit of a cliché but no two days are the same. It’s probably why I enjoy it so much. Every day is a combination of meetings with my team, our media and creative agencies and cross functional meetings with colleagues from other departments. Yesterday I started my day with a series of meetings on cross promotional activities with our Virgin Media Television colleagues and ended my day with the launch event of our partnership with the Dublin International Film festival and a star studded red carpet, not an everyday occurrence, but it’s the variety which keeps things interesting.
What do you love most about your role?
I love seeing a marketing strategy and plan backed by sound thinking and insight come all the way through to a successful campaign that drives the numbers! I love being surrounded by talented people and learning from them every day. I love working for a strong brand that stands for something and has purpose.
Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
I am passionate about brands and have been led by my interest in brand and marketing. It’s important to work on something that matters and that you feel will make a difference. It’s really important to me to like getting up to go into work every day and working with colleagues who inspire you on a daily basis. Sometimes when you work on what interests you, your career path finds you.
To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
I really believe in mentorship. I’ve had a few key people who have looked after me in my career in terms of guidance, advice and mentorship. I hope to do the same for others. Also I have an excellent team and I learn from each and every one of them every day.