Marketing News South Africa

#Newsmaker: Vanessa Govender, Infinity Brands' new CMO

Vanessa Govender was recently appointed the chief marketing officer for Infinity Brands, a franchising management agency.
Vanessa Govender. Source: Supplied.
Vanessa Govender. Source: Supplied.

Bizcommunity caught up with Govender to speak about her new role and her passion for franchising.

Congrats on your new role, how do you feel about it?

I feel super excited and overwhelmed at the same time, managing a team of almost 20 employees from creative, digital, video, copy and a community manager team is a huge responsibility but also challenging. I am growing and learning in the process.

What are your goals in this role and what impact do you hope to have?

My goals are to create awareness of Infinity Brands, build and grow our marketing team to deliver and produce exceptional quality work. We also support our internal brands ACDC Express, Sunburst Electric and The local Farmer brands, training, human resources and sales teams. Also as a management consultancy company we always looking to franchise other businesses or grow their footprint.

With over 17 years of leadership experience in marketing, advertising, operations, strategy and technology I have been managing the team for the past five months and have managed to projects done and completed on time.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience?

I started out at Eskom Hendrina Power station where I worked for five years. I left to look after my two kids and after three years I started at Southern Sun and Tsogo Sun where I worked as a marketing assistant, assistant brand manager, brand manager and marketing manager for about 11 years. I also studied for my bachelor of business administration in marketing through Southern Sun and graduated in 2014 when I was 40 years old.

I then resigned and opened my own franchise with Sorbet Vaal Mall for seven years and for eight months I also consulted for Mbano Hotel. In January (2022) I started at Infinity Brands as a senior brand manager and I got promoted in June as chief marketing officer where I manage a team of almost 20 people.

What have been some of the highlights of your career?

When I worked for Southern Sun we rebranded the hotels from Holiday Inn to Southern Sun and managed ATL and BTL campaigns for the hotels. We also launched and opened Southern Sun Hyde Park Hotel. I was also involved in the customer feedback system and mystery shopper rollout to all the hotels. And this year my highlight was being promoted to chief marketing officer at Infinity Brands.

What makes you a good leader?

I am respectful and always treat my team with respect, gaining respect in return. Transparency and trusting my team. Being open and honest makes work more efficient and enjoyable. I delegate tasks and projects to my managers to get work done and completed –trusting my team to complete what they are assigned with excellence produces positive morale and mutual respect.

What do you think are some of the challenges in the franchising industry particularly for marketers?

The main challenge is ensuring consistent marketing messages across all the franchises in various locations and having synergy between the brand and the franchises. We have to consistently work together on brand delivery to customers.

What inspires you everyday?

My mom and family inspire me the most. My mom taught me to be brave and work hard to achieve all my dreams. I am also inspired by my own ambition to do well and achieve results on our campaigns and by my team’s dedication.

About Karabo Ledwaba

Karabo Ledwaba is a Marketing and Media Editor at Bizcommunity and award-winning journalist. Before joining the publication she worked at Sowetan as a content producer and reporter. She was also responsible for the leadership page at SMag, Sowetan's lifestyle magazine. Contact her at
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