Name: Emma Lucas
Job title: Customer marketing executive
Company & location: Nichols, Warrington
Education: Lancaster University, BSc marketing
Why did you decide to go for a career in food & drink? Mainly because of the free food and drink. Just kidding, though that is a great perk! Throughout my time at college and university I worked within the grocery and hospitality sectors, and I really enjoyed working in an industry that affects everyone across the world. There’s such a huge amount of variety and innovation in the food and drink industry, it was a no-brainer really.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I work with a diverse range of customers across the out-of-home channel, bringing our frozen, post-mix and coffee brands to life for our customers and the end consumer. Our goal is to make the world smile by being refreshingly different.
What does a typical day look like for you? After a scenic drive down the M6 and a large Douwe Egberts Black Americano (extra shot, no sugar), my day typically starts with a team meeting. From then I could be working with the brand team on the next campaign in the out-of-home channel, or forming part of an NPD meeting, where we get to taste product and input into new innovation, or co-ordinating a regional direct marketing campaign with our network controller.
I love that there are so many different elements to my job. Typically I’ll always spend some time working with our agency partners organising our trade show programme, and working on our PoS suite, to help bring our products to life in venue. What you can guarantee is I’ll drink plenty of free drinks from our brand new on-site showroom. Icee, our carbonated frozen brand, is my particular favourite. Once a week after work I also volunteer at Warrington Youth Club, one of Nichols’ community charities.
“Once a week after work I also volunteer at Warrington Youth Club, one of Nichols’ community charities”
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. There were three stages in applying for the job. Before beginning the application though, I made sure I spoke to a current member of staff (I was lucky enough to know a fellow Lancaster University marketing graduate there) about the company, its culture and the role.
At the initial stage I had to submit an online application and was then offered a first stage interview, which was mainly competency-based. The toughest bit was when I was asked back for second stage interview. It included one-on-one mini interviews with three cross-functional stakeholders, as well as a presentation I had to give on how to launch our frozen brand Starslush into a theme park. I wasn’t as familiar with the out-of-home market at the time so forming a launch plan was no mean feat. I was really pleased to learn I wasn’t far off the mark!
What’s the best part about working for a food company? It’s a fast-paced, creative and ever-changing industry where you learn something new every day. I’m often out and about meeting clients and suppliers or at events, so I really enjoy not being in the office all day every day. I have to say my favourite thing though is working with brands that consumers genuinely love and are really passionate about.
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I don’t think people always realise how much goes into a new product launch or campaign. It’s a lot more in-depth than simply having an idea and putting it in a venue or on shelf.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Utilise social media to keep a close eye on trends across all categories. Follow those industry experts, get yourself to seminars and networking events and ask lots of questions. And of course, read The Grocer!
What’s your ultimate career dream? To be the first person you think to call when you want to build a brand that people love.