Lara Brooksbank Australian Vintage

Name: Lara Brooksbank

Age: 26

Job title: Insights analyst

Company & location: Australian Vintage, London

Education: International Communication & Media, Rotterdam, Netherlands and MSc Management, Warwick University, UK

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to work in the exciting world of media production and be an actress.

Why did you decide to go for a career in food & drink? I initially started my career as an auditor in the real estate department of one of the big fours. While I learned a lot, I quickly realised real estate was not a domain I was interested in and could relate to.

I wanted to work for a company that produced a tangible product, one that I consumed or employed as well. I believed it would make it more relatable and fun. Shortly thereafter I began my career in the food and drink industry.

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): My primary objective is to deliver key category and market insights to the UK, Europe, and Americas marketing and sales teams.

I continuously monitor and share market trends, and both internal and external research to identify opportunities for our brands and category. Additionally, I analyse the performance of our brands and provide analysis for promotions, activations, and new product development. I also offer support in range reviews, aiding in the expansion of our brands’ distribution.

“People perceive the wine industry as old, boring, or antiquated. However, it is a dynamic and evolving field”

What does a typical day look like for you? A typical day will usually involve working with either the sales team or marketing team on a project. If it is with the marketing team, the focus is often on internal projects aimed at addressing critical business questions. On the other hand, when collaborating with sales colleagues, I provide support for tasks such as range reviews or customer meetings. Additionally, I consistently address ad hoc queries throughout the day, monitor brand performance and market performance, as well as keep an eye out for any interesting news, pieces of research or insights which could be of interest.

Tell us how you went about applying for your job: After two years in audit, I started questioning whether this really was the career path I wanted to take. While I enjoyed working with numbers, I was curious about understanding broader market and consumer trends, and how they could be leveraged as opportunities for business growth.

By speaking with colleagues and searching online, I discovered the world of insights and instantly knew this was what I wanted to do professionally.

Not Guilty wine range

Alcohol-free wine range Not Guilty, launched by Australian Vintage in April 2023

I found my current position on LinkedIn and applied through the company website. The next day I received an email from the HR representative to set up a call to discuss the role and my motivations. After that initial HR call, I had an interview with the hiring manager and a sales colleague. The aim of the meeting was to get to know one another, understand my experiences and whether I was a good fit for the role and the company.

The final interview was face to face in the Australian Vintage office with the hiring manager and the head of UK marketing. Prior to the interview, I was given a case study that I had to prepare and present back.

What’s the best part about working for a food & drink company? The wine industry is a complex, interesting and fun field to work in. For instance, I was provided with the opportunity to take part in the Level 2 Award in Wines course by The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, which was super interesting and significantly broadened my knowledge on the subject.

The wine industry also involves fun events where you meet interesting people. Plus, it is also great to contribute to new innovations and then seeing them hit the shelves.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I believe several people perceive the wine industry as old, boring, or antiquated. However, it is a dynamic and evolving field. With trends continuously changing, staying ahead of them to remain at the forefront of the market is challenging but it also creates room for exciting innovations.

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? I recommend exploring the diverse career opportunities within the industry, as there are numerous roles that may not be immediately apparent.

Talk with people who work in the field to gain insights into their roles, discover what they enjoy and understand the challenges as well.

What’s your ultimate career dream? It is a good question and one I ask myself quite often. At the moment, I really enjoy my role and the industry I work in. Ideally, I would like to take on more responsibilities, gain more experience, and in the long term, aim for the role of chief marketing officer in a food and drinks company or maybe in another industry.

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