Jessica Whittaker_ WKD Marketing Exec

Name: Jessica Whittaker

Age: 25

Job title: Marketing executive, WKD

Company & location: SHS Drinks, Gloucester

Education: Fashion Management BA (Hons), Robert Gordon University

Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I was attracted by the industry being multifaceted and continually evolving, with the one constant being that food and drink is something people will always buy.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): I market WKD in the on-trade channel, supporting trade customers in venues – be that with physical PoS, digital media or larger-scale events. I ensure that brand identity and image are echoed appropriately so we are consistent in front of the consumer.

What does a typical day look like for you? I work closely with the sales team as they are our eyes and ears in the on-trade. We work together to ensure that we meet customer needs and drive brand sales. There are always live projects with stockists that we are in conversation about. In addition, I work on specific brand projects – for example, this year is WKD’s 25th anniversary and I’ve been organising lots of exciting things to celebrate this milestone!

Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I was approached via LinkedIn at a time when I was looking to move from another industry. There were two rounds: a telephone interview followed by a presentation. The presentation brief probed how I would go about launching a new product, considering all trade channels and including a critical path and outline of budget priorities.

“I doubt there are many people who are the same age as the brand they work on!”

What’s the best part about working for a food company? At WKD, we’re always looking at new products and flavours so getting to try these and inputting into their development is really rewarding. And to work on a brand that was a sponsor of this year’s Love Island adds a touch of glamour to proceedings. Plus, I doubt there are many people who are the same age as the brand they work on! However, the best part of working for WKD is that I get to focus on a brand that is consumed in fun, exciting and social contexts, so every day I put myself in that consumer mindset to help tailor my marketing outputs accordingly.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I think people (by ‘people’ I might mean ‘me’!) are surprised how much planning and preparation goes into bringing an activity to fruition: things don’t just magically appear in consumers’ hands. WKD leads its category so it’s important that our activities match that standard and are well thought through.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Be a yes person! Don’t be afraid to try new things and get as much experience as you can – it will help arm you for the future and give you more to feed off. Even if you end up not enjoying something, there are always learnings to be had.

What’s your ultimate career dream? I’d love to one day launch a truly disruptive product which was not only commercially successful and environmentally sound but also fused together aspects re-imagined from my fashion degree. At the moment, I’m loving the WKD-side of life.

Interested in finding out more about food & drink careers? Check out The Grocer Jobs for the latest vacancies