- How did you end up at your current company? Tell us about your journey to where you are today?
I started working pretty early doing admin and filing, on a Saturday morning, at a Music store called TOMS Sound and music since I was about 11. I worked there all through high school and into varsity progressing from a filing clerk to eventually running the finance and admin teams. After I graduated from the University of Johannesburg, I decided that I should spread my little wings and delve into a career that was more in line with what I had studied. I then ventured into the advertising industry and worked as an account exec for a firm in KZN. Working and living away from home was a huge learning and growing experience but coming from a good Muslim home this unsettled my parents greatly and at the very same time the opportunity to join CTU came around, kismet!
- Describe your job: What do you do?
As the Brand Manager at CTU, I consider myself the guardian of the brand as I am responsible for making sure that the way our products and services are portrayed resonates with current and potential industry stakeholders, brokers and policyholders. I also work closely with other departments to ensure that the brand’s strategic overview is upheld all through the organisation. Working hand in hand with marketing, advertising, PR and event agencies form a substantial part of my duties to make sure that CTU’s brand purpose and guidelines are respected throughout every possible touchpoint with our brand.
- Which level do you occupy within the business? Who do you report to?
I report directly to the head of Sales and Marketing, so I guess that’s considered middle management within our organisation.
- Tell us what constitutes a typical working day for you, pre-and-post the COVID/lockdown era?
A typical day in the life for me includes overseeing our social media platforms, industry and competitor research, project management, monitoring the use of our brand internally and externally, planning and execution of marketing material, coordinating internal and external events all with the goal of improving the company’s reputation as well as loyalty to the brand in order to assist the business development team to drive growth. I am also one of the two BEE Champions at CTU.
These tasks haven’t changed drastically in the midst of COVID apart from the fact that communicating, especially in those hard lockdown months, happened almost solely in a digital manner and that increased the flow of information from us as an organisation via email, WhatsApp etc because our face to face team couldn’t operate.
- What are the best parts of your job and least favourite parts?
I consider myself of the lucky few that really adores every aspect of what I do. I am part of a really awesome team and my position allows me to be creative by writing and designing, I get to work with people from all walks of life and this enables/allows me to make a valuable contribution not only to the organisation but to our greater community with the CSI initiatives CTU constantly engages in.
- How do you define and measure success? What KPIs do you use to measure success?
Success for me as the brand manager is growing and maintaining brand loyalty and more importantly customer satisfaction. This is gauged by multiple surveys we conduct with industry stakeholders, our brokers and our policyholders.
In respect of KPI’s these are usually project-based and are linked to execution and time management.
- What are your favourite technologies and platforms that you use to make yourself more productive and get more done?
I have always relied on a to-do list to keep track of the many balls I often have to juggle at the same time. Now that we are working in a mostly remote and virtual environment making use of shared task planners on Apps such as Microsoft Teams is a really efficient way to track and share the progress of projects and tasks with the entire team. Communicating with our brokers and policyholders in this COVID environment has also changed significantly and the use of integrated communication platforms that range from email to WhatsApp, (FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram) have been almost revolutionary in making and staying in contact with our market.
- Please let us know the differences between strategic communications needs of the business within the insurance industry versus other sectors like FMCG/technology or automotive?
CTU operates in a really niche market being the Mini Bus Taxi Industry and the way this culturally rich; sensitive community operates is very unique and we have had to be very mindful of this as and when we communicate.
This has moulded our communication into having a relaxed, vibrant yet professional tone as we melange the Taxi Industry with the very corporate necktie Insurance Industry. As we move forward to including other various commuter transport markets such as bus and e-hailing that are more corporate in nature, we will continue to tailor our brand to ensure that it is received in the most appealing manner for each respective market.