As part of our ongoing #BehindtheBrandManager series, we interviewed some of the Marketing Achievement Awards' Rising Star finalists - said to be the best and the brightest under the age of 35 who have consistently demonstrated excellent performance and who have the potential to become outstanding leaders in their profession.
Bianca de Beer
Bianca de Beer, senior marketing manager at Telesure Investment Holdings refers to herself as a brand-building specialist with an incorrigible passion for all things marketing and communications-related. As a creative thinker with a drive towards making businesses grow with purpose, she enjoys working with developing brands and bringing them to life through true consumer insights, successful product innovations, relevant partnerships and engaging brand communication throughout the value chain.
Here, she tells us more about her work as the primary brand custodian of the Dialdirect and 1st for Women Insurance brands…
Bianca, as senior marketing manager at Dialdirect and 1st for Women Insurance, tell, tell us more about your role and what it entails exactly?
As senior marketing manager of Dialdirect and 1st for Women Insurance, I am the primary brand custodian to drive the long- and short-term objectives per brand. These include improving brand power and sentiment, and creating performance marketing efficiencies.
Tell us about your career: what you studied and why, and how you ended up where you are today?
I knew where I wanted to study more than what I wanted to study, and an open day at the University of Pretoria had me signed up for a BCom in Communication Management. At the time, it was rumoured to be the hardest BCom you could do, which immediately had me interested. After a semester in third year, studying brands, I chose to then head to Vega for my postgraduate studies and practical real-life client experience. Following my studies, I reached out to brands where I wanted to work, and funnily enough, a post on 1st for Women’s Facebook page got me the intro I needed to begin my journey at TIH.
What do you enjoy most about marketing and working in the financial services space specifically?
It’s constantly changing. There’s always a new skill required, a new platform to try, a new project to be involved in. In financial services in particular, there is a lot of clutter, it takes a lot to stand out and to do so within regulatory, etc. constraints is an exciting challenge.
You were recently shortlisted as a finalist for the MAA’s Rising Star of the Year Award. Firstly, congrats, and secondly, tell us what this recognition meant to you?
Thank you! It was great in that it created an opportunity for reflection. To genuinely take a moment and appreciate all the brands, people and experiences along the way. Generally, I don’t think people celebrate the wins (big and small) enough.
Any other career highlights you’d like to share?
There’ve been some great brand awards along the way, but being part of the team who won the company’s annual incentive awards was one to really be proud of, and that’s because the awards are centred around delivering above and beyond business results. Brand = business, so to be part of a team whose efforts over-delivered across financial metrics is great.
What career advice would you give to aspiring young marketing and branding professionals?
While it is always fun and worthwhile to test out new platforms and tools, never forget that the best marketing often comes from insights and the ability to remember and connect with the fact that we are all human beings.
How has the pandemic and subsequent national lockdowns affected your work and Telesure Investment Holdings specifically?
TIH did an incredible job in terms of supporting their customers, employees and communities during this time, which I am extremely grateful for and proud of. Globally, lockdowns caused an increase in domestic violence and abuse and South Africa was not immune. The National GBV Command Centre received triple the amount of calls from women who were trapped with their abusive partners at home during the national lockdown. As long-term advocates in the fight against women abuse, 1st for Women supported the National GBV Command Centre through the provision of debriefing services for social workers and supervisors. We also set up a crowdfunding campaign to support nurses on the frontline of Covid-19, partnering with Gift of the Givers and Vula Mobile. The fundraising effort was kick-started with a R500,000 donation from 1st for Women.
Tell us about your latest or most successful campaigns or ads to date, and the rationale behind them?
The latest would be our Fearless campaign for 1st for Women. The face of the campaign is Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi. This campaign reflects the intrinsic fearlessness of South African women. With 1st for Women Insurance as their wing woman, we encourage and support women through their challenges and obstacles with our products and support, specifically designed for women. You can take a look at one of the ads here: