Describe your role and what it is that you do overall and on a day-to-day basis.
I work at Mars as Nordic Activation Executive for our brand BE-KIND, a healthy snacks brand that launched in the Nordics roughly two years ago. You’ll find our nut bars in more or less all convenience and grocery stores in Sweden, from 7-Eleven to ICA. Have you seen our BE-KIND bars in your local store yet? Because that is basically what I work with! In my role, I am responsible for delivering against our BE-KIND Nordic portfolio and customer activation strategy, driving a step change in our in-store coverage, visibility, and field marketing as key levers of physical availability.
What that actually means on a day-to-day basis is that I am accountable for executing our cluster activation plan in each of the local markets with our customers through our Key Account Managers & Field Teams. That includes responsibilities such as coordinating customer marketing activities, executing POS-material solutions to support the business strategy with our core customers, as well as executing the BE-KIND digital, retail and field sampling activities driving trial, awareness, and rotation of the brand.
What interested you about the field/company/role you are currently in? Have you always been interested in working in retail and branding?
Ohh yes, I have always been fascinated by the retail world and find branding exciting as it contains both creative and strategic elements. Based on that notion, what instinctually intrigued me with working at Mars was the opportunity to learn from and work closely with their brand portfolio consisting of some of the world’s most well-known and beloved brands such as Snickers, M&M’s, BE-KIND, Extra, Pedigree, Whiskas, and more. However, in addition to working with super cool brands, I quickly came to realize that what made me want to stay at Mars was the work culture and amazing people I get to surround myself with on a daily basis.
What are the differences of working in Denmark compared to Sweden, if any?
Not surprisingly, I feel like there are more similarities than differences between the Swedish and Danish business culture. But if anything, I’d say there are three characteristics of the Danish workplace culture that are at least highly present at Mars as a workplace:
- It’s a very flat hierarchy, so both in my student and current full-time position, I’ve always felt allowed and even highly encouraged to voice my ideas and be fully involved in decision making processes.
- There is a strong emphasis on creating a healthy work-life balance and it’s clear that the mental and physical wellbeing of employees is a top priority.
- Finally, it is a highly diverse and inclusive workplace across the entire organization. Just in my team of six people, we consist of individuals from five different cultural backgrounds as well as represent a mix of different ages and genders – allowing us to make the best use of our different perspectives and experiences to perform better as a team.
What was so appealing about the retail program when you were considering what to choose for your Bachelor degree?
I can still remember the feeling I had the first time I heard about the Retail Management program, I looked up the different courses and just felt my whole body screaming that this Bachelor program was tailor made for me. I have always had a genuine interest in marketing, brands and consumer behavior, but felt that most of the economics bachelor programs were mainly focused on e.g., finance and micro- & macroeconomics. But with this program, I got those fundamental basics while being allowed to learn more about what truly sparked joy in me. So, at least for me, it felt like the RM-program was like a match made in the Bachelor degree heaven.
How did your time/education at SSE help guide you to the career journey you have embarked on?
I don’t think I fully realized it back when I was in the midst of it all and had my nose buried in the different course materials, but now in hindsight I’ve come to realize that I have definitely gained an understanding of the retail world and a way of thinking from my time at SSE. When I do different tasks or approach a challenge at work, topics such as shopper marketing, target consumers, in-store execution, strategic channels, brand strategy, and more, I'm aware that these are aspects we covered in the RM-program that I have had good use of and applied knowledge from in my current role at Mars.
Also, I remember sitting in the SSE lecture hall and dreaming about one day being able to work in the marketing department at a global FMCG company. Crazy thing is, that’s what I am doing now which is pretty cool and still feels a bit unreal to me!
Following your time studying, do you have any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with our current students?
Try not to get too stressed about what others do and therefore “what you should do” or “what looks good on your CV”. Follow your gut feeling, what you genuinely find joy from, and jump on opportunities as they cross your path :)
What are three words that sum up your time at SSE?
Laughter and learning.