#BehindTheBrandManager Interview

#BehindtheBrandManager: Tristan Werner, head of marketing at Pura Beverages

Tristan Werner, head of marketing of Pura Beverages, has been in the business of marketing for over 20 years.
Image supplied: Tristan Werner, head of marketing of Pura Beverages
Image supplied: Tristan Werner, head of marketing of Pura Beverages

We spoke to him about his journey from Red Bull to Pura Beverages and find out some marketing insights for the future, the youth and how to connect with audiences effectively…

Tell us a bit more about your role and what it entails

I am fully responsible for the strategy and execution of marketing and brand management through our full portfolio of brands. At the end of the day, we need to make consumers aware of our products and brands, while encouraging trials through sampling or by means of purchase.

The latter is most important, we are still considered a startup, so every case of product sold assists in our growth and helps to build momentum for the brand. I also play a strong role in supporting our sales team - our structure is relatively small, so we all need to be part of the GSD (get sh*t done) club.

Did you always want to end up where you are now?

In all honesty, in my early 20s, I had no idea where I wanted to end up - but that was also okay because somehow the path was paved through a strong network, a bit of luck, and a lot of hard work.

Am I happy where I have ended up? Absolutely, yes. I learned my trade at one of the world's most iconic beverage brands and now I get to use those learnings to help a local beverage brand grow and make waves in the industry – both locally and internationally.

Tell us a bit about your career path, how did you end up here?

After studying retail business management, taking a gap year and looking after Red Bull athletes, I took on the role of marketing director of Red Bull in 2012. Five years in the role and 18 years at Red Bull told me it was time for a change and I left to start my own marketing agency called Deviate.

We had a successful start, but we were missing the brand management side of the marketing world and we realised agency life wasn't for us. I then joined one of our clients, The Hadjidakis Group (of 7 eleven fame), and a year and a half into that role I got headhunted by the Life and Brand Group.

Then Covid hit and the restaurant business was under huge pressure, so it was last in first out for me.

I started at Pura Beverage Company the day after leaving Life and Brand. So far so good, things are looking really positive for us, and the future is bright.

What are some of your most recent brand campaigns and the rationale behind them?

We've done some fun campaigns over the last year or so. The two that stand out for me are giving away a 0.01% share in our business and the Essential Summer campaign.

The 0.01% share giveaway saw super high engagement with consumers as they realised they could be a shareholder in a fast-growing beverage business for very little effort.

The Essential Summer campaign saw us asking consumers to share their most Pura Summer moments and enter to win prizes from our Essential Summer Collection. These Essential Summer items were sponsored by partners we collaborated with. All the products were related to things consumers needed for an essential summer.

At the end of the day, our campaigns need to do what any other campaign needs to do. Number one in our world is to encourage purchases and drive sales. We need to keep our product top of mind, educate consumers on our intrinsic whilst encouraging them to change their drinking behaviours towards better-for-you options and create some sort of excitement around brand ethos.

What do you think are the most successful channels for getting your brand message out there?

There is nothing quite like sampling - both in-store and out in the field where people are living their best lives.

We also aren't yet in a position to spend a lot of money above the line, so broadcast is still a bit of a stretch. We try and maximise a strong social and digital strategy, support events, work closely with authentic influencers and create content that engages and inspires our followers. This all needs to combine with a continuous trade presence that communicates the same strong message about the brand and our healthier product intrinsic.

Do you have any career highlights you’d like to share?

Most of my highlights come from my time with Red Bull. Building the brand through on-premise, signing and managing the most incredible free sports athletes, creating and overseeing amazing events in iconic locations and helping build a global social entrepreneurship programme are some of the highlights.

We were able to inspire people through everything we did and that always gave me a special feeling. We gave people some ‘wow’ moments that will stay with them forever. That for me is what marketing is all about. The beauty now is that I feel like I'm starting all over again, and hopefully, I am going to be a part of creating a very similar story with Pura.

What trends do you foresee for branding in 2022?

Branding is a lot deeper than just a cool look and feel. Make no mistake, it is still important for logos to stand out from the crowd and for content to be creative and visually exciting, however, consumers want to make an emotional connection with a brand. This is about how you, as a brand, act, behave and tell a story.

It's about how sustainable you are, or at least, are trying to be. It's about your philosophy or your ethos. Are you doing good things for fellow human beings, your community, or the environment? Consumers want a meaningful, authentic experience and this is what they expect from the brands that they fall in love with.

What career advice would you give to young and aspiring branding professionals?

Just have fun. If you don’t have fun with what you do in the world of marketing and brand management, find something else. But be careful, because you might just miss out on finding your niche and the most enjoyable career that was meant for you.

In your first job - get involved in as much as possible. Learn as much about all the areas of the marketing mix as you can, even if you annoy people in the process. Ask questions, offer to help, and make suggestions. It will help you tremendously as you climb the ladder if that's what you're after.

Be authentic and think out of the box. There are actually very few rules in this world of creativity. Most importantly, understand your consumer and the rest should fall into place through hard work and dedication to your trade.

About Emily Stander

Freelancer specialising in games and entertainment | My first loves are writing, music and video games
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