Mark Amo Wanis

Name: Mark Amo 

Age: 27

Job title: Graphic design and marketing executive

Company & location: Wanis International Foods – Leyton, London

Education:  Anglia Ruskin University – BA Hons in Marketing & Business

Why did you decide to go for a career in food?  I’ve always been a major foodie (in other words, I’m a bit greedy and love trying foods from around the world). As a Ghanaian, I grew up eating our traditional foods, so when the opportunity to work on some of my family’s favourite brands came up, I jumped at the chance. I now get to design the packaging for items that are in my mum’s kitchen cupboard, it’s a bit surreal!

Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): My role is really varied, which I love because every day is different. I manage our e-commerce website, which sometimes lends itself to a bit of customer service. I design packaging and marketing collateral as well as working on our social media accounts, including influencer and celebrity outreach.

What does a typical day look like for you?  I tend to start the day by updating our e-commerce website, sending out samples to journalists for our PR Manager or arranging a delivery for one of our charity partners, like a food bank. On a typical day, I’ll then move on to marketing and design tasks – which can be anything from designing an advert for a newspaper to a billboard. I also work on packaging design, which I love because I get to see my work on the supermarket shelf. On a more exciting day I get to work on the brand identity for new products, which I’ve become more involved with thanks to great mentoring within the company, or planning the details of a brand partnership with a grime artist.

“As a Ghanaian, I grew up eating our traditional foods, so when the opportunity to work on some of my family’s favourite brands came up, I jumped at the chance”

Tell us how you went about applying for your job:  I saw the job advertised on Indeed and there were three stages to the process. The first was an interview with HR, which focused on my work experience. The second stage was an interview with the marketing manager which drilled further down into my previous experience and assessed my personality and how it might fit with the company. The final stage was to present a concept for a new product to the CEO and marketing manager, which was very nerve-wracking.

What is the best part about working for a food company?  For me, the part I enjoy the most is the celebrity outreach I do as part of our social media strategy; especially for the soft drink brand Tropical Vibes. It’s mad when I find myself messaging legends like Giggs or Digga D. I also love tasting products before they are officially released and seeing products that I’ve designed on the shop shelf or in mum’s kitchen.

And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? That we get free food all day! Sadly, we don’t – although that’s probably a good thing for my waistline. However, we are often asked to taste products during the development stage. My friends also see some of the social media work I do and think my role is more glamorous than it is!

What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry?  Be active. Employers often care more about experience and drive than qualifications. If you’re a designer, then design products. If you’re a marketer, then find a small cool brand you can help with marketing to gain some valuable experience. You’ve got to hustle!

What is your ultimate career dream?  To have my own successful design and marketing agency.

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