#BehindtheSelfie with... Gareth Marshall

This week, we go behind the selfie with Gareth Marshall, senior brand manager for Shield at Unilever SA, Durban.
Marshall captions this: “Currently working on my selfie game! Be a playmaker, not a spectator.”

1. Where do you live, work and play?


Live and work – Durban and Joburg.
Play – outside. South Africa is an amazing playground just waiting to be explored.

2. What’s your claim to fame?


It’s got nothing to do with fame, but I am very proud to have launched the Shield Sbonis’iDiski programme – a platform for aspiring footballers in South Africa to showcase their skills and take their game to the next level.


We’ve been able to unlock amazing opportunities with partnerships with Chelsea Football Club and Orlando Pirates. Through this, I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people in SA and across the globe in the process.

3. Describe your career so far.


My career so far has been an epic journey, learning about innovation, sponsorship and, most importantly, people. This fuels my passion for building brands that make a positive difference in people’s lives.
I believe in ‘redefining normal’, while still delivering business results. Having diverse experience on both sides of the industry – on the advertising agency and now client-side – has enabled me to solve business problems creatively, or change the game entirely.
The fact that I started my career as a personal fitness trainer explains a lot!

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.


My wife. Daughter. Running Shoes. Music playlist.

5. What do you love about your industry?


The ever-changing landscape. Being able to blend science and art into engaging consumer-centric communication.
Today, the role that brands and companies can play in influencing and shaping society cannot be overlooked.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.


Define average?

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It’s a game that we play every day. The consumer makes a move, then we make a move, then the consumer reacts to that and we react to that move.

That’s what I love about it. Every single day, there are moves being made that we have to respond to. There’s no typical day because of that, and that’s what keeps the fire going.


If I had to sum it up... Wake up. Coffee. Work. Coffee. Gym. Sleep. Repeat!

7. What are the tools of your trade?


Curiosity. Coffee. Phone. Wi-Fi. My brain. A bit of madness.

8. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.


Never be afraid to have honest conversations with partners when reviewing work or campaigns. The majority of the time people are too defensive… But this is the only way to get better!

9. What are you working on right now?


Lots of exciting projects on the horizon. From a work perspective, we are working on year three of Sbonis’iDiski.

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Personally, I’m working on a project called #unleash… becoming a ‘business athlete’. This is all about adopting an athlete’s mindset to be successful in business.

10. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.


I try to avoid all the buzzwords, but a key topic is hyper-personalisation or personalisation at scale. It’s all about how we can deepen the connection with consumers in a meaningful way.

11. Where and when do you have your best ideas?


My brain never sleeps. Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m out running.

12. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


Definitely a technophile.

13. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

  • Zero notifications – I have a problem!
  • Tons of photos – I’m always looking for inspiration

14. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

  • Respect the process
  • Challenge everything
  • Be relentlessly curious
  • Find something to be known for and own it
  • Live your brand

Simple as that. Click through to Marshall’s MyBiz profile, and follow his updates on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can also follow Unilever ZA on Twitter, and Shield on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, was an #Inspiring50 2018 nominee, and can be reached at ...
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