A short while ago I had the privilege of meeting with Davide Viola, the new Marketing Director for the President’s Choice Brand at Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Davide graduated from Schulich with a BBA in both Marketing and Finance – a combination of majors that can be hard to come by. He began working at Kraft Canada Inc., working his way up and being a part of major brands like Maxwell House, Del Monte, Nabob Coffee, and the ever-so-popular Thinsations!
Launching Thinsations was one of Davide’s most interesting and fun experiences within his career. During the development they ran into every possible obstacle, whether it be legal, financial, etc. However, the launch was flawless, and the results were fantastic. The success of the product ended up being 2.5 times what research had forecasted! What were the reasons of such high success? Consumer expectations were low; “light” products did not taste well. Aside from that, the product gave the consumer that “hand-to-mouth” feeling which made them feel as though they were eating more and thus was much more satisfying than eating a single cookie.
Davide’s portfolio only continues to grow. He then moved on to working for The Clorox Company in which he again worked his way up and provided insight on many brands, including the Glad food and trash brand (where he launched the biodegradable bags!), GreenWorks (where he was the innovation lead), Pine-Sol, Javex, SOS, Tilex, Liquid-Plumr, and Brita – basically almost every homecare product I can find in my own household.
Now Davide has made the move to Loblaw Companies Ltd. With such an extensive and impressive background, you’re probably wondering what his advice might be.
Well for one – numbers are key! Marketing is not just about making commercials – it is about driving the brand, and driving the brand certainly includes numbers (so pay attention in stats!)
Aside from that, you have to figure out what exactly it is you want to do. There are different types of marketers: there are ‘general management’ marketers (this is where Davide fits in), ‘expert marketers’ who tend to focus on strategy and communications, and ‘creative marketers’ who are those that lean towards the agency end of the spectrum.
You have to think of yourself as a brand – practice your own craft on yourself, but make sure to be genuine. Get as many experiences as you can get and learn as much as you can from each experience! This could be a tiebreaker when it becomes a choice between you and someone else.
Davide said it best: your career is like a “greatest hits” album. You need to get multiple experiences to create your own compilation of your greatest hits.