creativebrief: How has your career path led you to marketing at Diageo?
Kizzy Lilburne: I always knew that I wanted to work in marketing so I made sure I got as much experience as possible, from interning at marketing agencies over school holidays to building a marketing strategy for my Mum’s business. I fell in love with marketing during my time at Procter and Gamble, working on brands which are present in so many people’s lives and which play such an important but quiet role in people’s every day. When the opportunity to join the Diageo Sales and Marketing Graduate scheme came up, I really jumped at the chance to work with some iconic brands in an industry which is built around celebration. I have moved around over the past 5 years and have worked across brands including Smirnoff, the World’s biggest vodka, Tanqueray, the bartender’s favourite and Bell’s the silent giant of the GB whisky category and have loved every minute.
creativebrief: Why did you choose a career in marketing?
Kizzy Lilburne: There is something really magical about seeing your work in social media, on a billboard or on TV, so advertising has always interested me. What I love about marketing is that it covers so many different things so you never get bored. At Diageo we use the phrase ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ and that is an amazing feeling. To work with brands which have been around for hundreds of years and help to steer them into their future is a really special feeling. That said, there is also something very exciting about starting with an innovation brand and building everything from scratch.
creativebrief: What do you think makes a successful career in marketing?
Kizzy Lilburne: I think the number one thing which makes a good marketer is having an open mind. Not only to new technologies and theories on marketing, but also to learning from others around you, whether more or less experienced. Add this to numeracy and an ability to manage projects under pressure and you have a good marketer.
creativebrief: And who is a great example of this?
Kizzy Lilburne: I think we are really lucky at Diageo to have some amazing role models. It is very normal for the marketing directors to consult people all around them for thoughts and upskilling on new technologies, whilst also taking time to help explain their decisions so that everyone can learn.
creativebrief: What do you think are the main challenges facing marketers today?
Kizzy Lilburne: I think the biggest challenge is also the biggest opportunity: the changing face of media. People are dual and even triple screen viewing and have a completely different relationship with content to twenty years ago. As marketers we need to try to understand the consumer journey better to make sure that we are reaching people in the right places and at the right time. Whereas 20 years ago an ad on TV would be your main reach driver, now we map consumers throughout their day from device to device.
creativebrief: How do you keep up with constant stream of innovation in marketing comms?
Kizzy Lilburne: We are really lucky to have a great media innovation team who seek out new opportunities, but I hear about a lot from reading articles and trying things out. I think curiosity is really important and I love to see what is on the horizon for us to play with next.
creativebrief: How does this impact your relationship with agencies?
Kizzy Lilburne: Our agencies obviously want the best for our brands and I think trying out new things excites them. It is really important to sort the gimmick from the breakthrough and we rely on our agencies for honest advice on what they think we should be trying out.
creativebrief: How do you know if you’re getting the best from your agencies?
Kizzy Lilburne: I think that if agencies are fully engaged and excited, you will get the best out of them. I have learnt along the way that as great as our own ideas might seem, if you force them on an agency, you won’t get the same level of buy-in as if they came on the journey with you. I always like to ask the agency whether they would do anything different if it was their brand. If they trust you, which is crucial, you should get some good insight into how they are feeling about the plans and whether you are getting the most out of them. A few times this has helped with a course correct which has made a big difference.
creativebrief: Of your recent work, what makes you particularly proud and why?
Kizzy Lilburne: I joined the Tanqueray gin brand about 8 months ago and had to hit the ground running to get plans out for the summer. My proudest work is probably my most visible which was a key brad asset driven campaign designed for D6s, Buses and digital. We were between brand positioning and short on time, so I went and sat with our repro agency to create the ads from scratch in one morning. The buses in particular were really impactful and drove a lot of excitement both internally and externally and the fact that they took a fraction of the time and cost a fraction of the normal agency fee was the icing on the cake.
creativebrief: Do you see yourself as a generalist or a specialist, does it matter?
Kizzy Lilburne: I have done both generalist and specialist roles during my time at Diageo. On the whole I think that brand management is a fairly generalist function as you need to be able to pull all of the different parts together, however I do think that trying to learn a specialist trade is really helpful as it not only makes you the go to person in the organisation, but also gives you something to share with the team which they might not know. With a team of people all doing this, you can have a really interesting mix of experience and knowledge which I think is really helpful.