Business Schools

Minding Ps & Queues in London


I am a U.S. citizen settled in Britain. I chose to earn my MBA at the Sa? Business School at the University of Oxford in 2004 because it is a one-year program with a great reputation and a diverse student population.

Now, as brand manager for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare in the U.K., I'm responsible for managing a portfolio of six over-the-counter (OTC) brands that cover dermatology, gastrointestinal disorders, and sleep disturbance. I have to drive sustainable brand growth through a full mix of marketing activities. Remember the 4Ps: Product. Price. Place. Promotion.

I regularly monitor the health of my brands by analyzing sales, market share, and other data types. My job entails functions such as brand planning, strategy development, and driving integrated communications through consumer press campaigns and advertising. Working closely with national account managers who oversee relations with a variety of retailers is another responsibility.

Brand management is about being responsible for the brand's performance. About 10% of my time is spent reporting to top management, 40% is spent on strategy and brand planning, while the rest is devoted to implementing and interacting with the extended brand team to grow the brand via different channels. There is an element of daily fire-fighting that needs to be done, but generally it is possible to plan 50% of your day.

Here is a snapshot of my typical workday:

7:30 a.m. I'm out the door and join the masses on the London Underground. Settling in for over an hour's commute, I grab a daily newspaper and lose myself in the gossip of the day.

8:45 a.m. At the GSK Global Headquarters in southwest London, I plug in my laptop, make myself a cup of tea, and pick up my mail.

9:00 a.m. What fires to put out today? A quick glance at the list of new e-mails and I make my day's to-do list.

9:30 a.m. Time to see how my brands are performing (one never knows when the big boss will stop by and ask about them). I log on to the various market-data analysis systems and print customized reports. This data helps me track key performance indicators like sales value, market share, customer penetration, and competitor performance.

10:30 a.m. Meeting with our national account manager for a national pharmacy chain to review a current BOGOF (buy one, get one free) promotion. This is all good news. We have 98% distribution, which means 98% of the pharmacy chains stock this product, and we have great in-store placement. Can't wait for the ROI (return on investment) numbers to come in.

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