Brand manager of the week: Katherine How

Katherine How, Comic Relief partnership manager, Sainsbury's
Katherine How, Comic Relief partnership manager, Sainsbury's

Comic Relief partnership manager, Sainsbury's.

Describe yourself in three words.

Dedicated, outgoing... tall.

How would you define marketing?

It's fast-paced and dynamic; there are always new challenges and exciting projects to work on. In my time in the industry I have seen it change dramatically, especially with the surge in digital marketing.

What would you be if you weren't a brand manager?

I'd indulge in my passion and be an interior designer.

What advice would you give someone starting their marketing career today?

It's essential that you know early on that it's not about your personal preferences, but the customer and communicating to them. Or, to quote an old manager of mine: 'You've got two ears and one mouth, so be quiet and listen to your customer.'

What attracted you to your current job?

Working on Comic Relief is a huge honour and the role is very varied. I can go from organising a photo shoot to being on a conference call with a celebrity and their agent to approving POS. I liaise with a lot of people both inside and outside the business, which means every day is different. The important thing, though, is knowing that I am working toward a worthy goal. On the big BBC night, when they announce how much Sainsbury's has raised, I'm bursting with pride, knowing the difference it's going to make to some of the world's poorest communities.

What was your first job?

I worked in WH Smith as a Saturday girl and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great way to understand retail and learn how to interact with customers. Retail offers great opportunities to young people.

How did you get your first job?

I smiled a lot at the interview. Being a bubbly person goes a long way.

What was your finest hour?

Announcing Sainsbury's Sport Relief 2012 total. We worked very hard to make sure it was a great success in the 'biggest year of sport' - £5.5m will help so many people here in the UK and around the world.

What's your greatest ambition?

Right now, it's to continue to build on our Comic Relief support. It's my ambition that every year we're able to make our support even bigger.

If you were a brand, what would you be and why?

L'Oreal, because I'm worth it.

What is your favourite ever marketing campaign?

The British Airways campaign during the Olympics. I wish I'd thought of that.

What is your all-time favourite slogan?

'Ronseal, does exactly what it says on the tin.' Sometimes simplicity has a very clever way of cutting through.

What makes you angry?

A lack of manners, both personally and in business. So much more is done with good working relationships. Some of our strongest work has come from collaborative working.

What is your favourite pub?

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans - very cosy, with comfy booths, low ceilings and great mulled wine in the winter.

What's your favourite holiday destination?

Australia. My friend lives out there. I'm hoping for an excuse to go soon - to her wedding.

What does your perfect day involve?

Family, friends and food.

What are the perks of your current job?

Knowing that every day what I do is making a contribution to Comic Relief and making our support even bigger. It's such a fantastic charity.

What headline would you most like to read in Marketing?

'Sainsbury's raises biggest ever sum for Red Nose Day - again'.


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