#BehindtheSelfie with... Inoba Siwundla

This week, we go behind the selfie with Inoba Siwundla, brand manager at Burger King South Africa.
Siwundla hates taking selfies, so took this one especially, and captions it: “The lesser spotted Inoba selfie. A rare find.” We added the burger and crown emoji.

1. Where do you live, work and play?


Cape Town, the city where you get the best of all worlds.

2. What’s your claim to fame?


I’m a creative “gone rogue”. It is not every day that a free-spirited creative, who at times went to work in PJs, moves over to the corporate world.

3. Describe your career so far.


It’s been a cascade of fortunate events, mixed with hard work and an insane amount of curiosity.
Every turn has had its challenges, late nights and pressures, but with each comes opportunity. The opportunity to do better, be better or fail forward.
Either way, I’m continuously redefining myself and picking up new skills to keep the career wheel turning.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.


Well, aside from work, it’s being an aunt to my nieces and nephews.
Then sports, music and reading.

5. What do you love about your industry?


It’s forever changing. Trends shift at an accelerated rate and consumers are in the driving seat. As a brand, it’s not only about what you bring to the table but also showing an understanding of who you’re serving.

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You must connect with guests and be personable. That connection, however, is hard to earn, but that is where the magic lies – finding those nuggets that get you the nod.

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


The latter says it all. An “average workday” is a thing of fiction. Every day starts with a purpose and an agenda. I get to work early, at 6:30am, to give myself a head start. I find that mornings are a great time to reflect and give myself pep talks to “be great,” as Brian Shaw always says. I start off with my pick-me-up jam, “Superwoman” – Alicia Keys.

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I go through my emails and to do’s for the day. That’s the predictable part of my day. From there it’s meetings, evaluation of sales from the previous day/week/month/year, and then making necessary adjustments. Planning for upcoming campaigns, conducting reports, seeking opportunities to grow the brand and then most importantly, making sure all campaigns and marketing collateral meets and upholds the global brand standards.

7. What are the tools of your trade?


Strategic thinking, advertising planning, trends analysis, introduction and implementation of new technologies, communication and of course, the Adobe Suite.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?


No one. With that said, all the players have bits that they have mastered, but none can claim to be well rounded yet. This is exciting because it means it’s still anyone’s game.

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However, the South African market embraces brands with heritage and longevity, and we see that with players such as KFC and Steers.

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


Quality is sometimes sacrificed for speed. The market is saturated and so your proposition needs to be strong. Competition is no longer with just the players within our industry, which means you must bring notable value and purpose.

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We’re all up against the volatile economy fighting for the rand and cents.

10. What are you working on right now?


Spreading the Whopper love by growing the footprint of Burger King restaurants. Working on exploring and implementing more digital strategies and avenues.

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


Flame-grilled, freshness, flexitarian.

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We’re not fast-food, we just make great food, fast.

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


At the most random times. I wish I knew when one would hit! So I just carry a notebook everywhere, or sometimes scribble on my hand.

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?


Writing poetry. Playing the flute. The big idea here was to one day be the greatest fluteboxer, however, my beatboxing skills are, for lack of a better word, non-existent. What a bummer!

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?


Interesting one… I’m both, what would that make me? Techno-neutral?

View this post on Instagram

* taken before things got messy *

A post shared by BURGER KING® South Africa (@burgerkingsa) on


Personally, I’m probably the last to get any new devices or apps, yet I love reading about tech and watching people interact with it. For work, on the other hand, I’m always looking for the latest and greatest, finding any means of technology to simplify our customer journey. One such project was the roll out of the Burger King South Africa App.

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


Baby pics and vids of my nieces, nephews and friends’ babies. I love babies! Memes, loads and loads of memes and hilarious WhatsApp chats.

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


Be curious. Ask many questions. Chat to everyone, you never know what wisdom or opportunities you could gain. Always remain teachable. Go the extra-mile, give more than what is expected of you.

Action with passion. If you don’t love or enjoy what you do, it’s time to move on. Always seek feedback as that’ll allow you to better yourself.

Simple as that. Follow Siwundla on LinkedIn or Facebook; and visit the Burger King press office, as well as their Facebook, ‏Twitter and Instagram feeds for the latest updates.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, 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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