In this careers feature, Liz Foster asks the question, with the number of corporate marketing roles shrinking as you climb the ladder, where do all the brand managers go?


Who? 

Ann-Marie Kilcline

When and where did you work in marketing?

I started off my marketing career in Unilever in Ireland, there I worked on some fantastic brands with amazing heritage like Vaseline Intensive Care and the now defunct but once great Ponds facecare which was used by many of our mums and grandmothers in its hey day! I got bitten by the travelling bug and moved to Australia where I worked as a brand manager on haircare for Colgate Palmolive. It was great experience working in a different market and in this role with an emphasis on innovation. Innovation became a love of mine and I moved to Blackmores in 2005 where I worked solely on NPD. I worked on a number of different categories from coughs and colds to fertility.

Highest marketing level reached?

Senior Brand Manager

What do you do now?

I work as a senior account manager for The Saltmine. In this role I work with a number of different clients across a whole host of brands. It’s different from brand management – the timelines are shorter! But the work is interesting, there is exposure to great brands and I work with some very bright people across the client side as well as the creative team.

Did you choose your path or did it choose you? 

I was at a crossroads, not sure where I was going with my career and felt that it was time for a change. This role popped up and I thought, why not? So yes, I suppose I was chosen!

What’s the most important skill that you’ve taken from your marketing days?

The customer is King! I don’t think its just a marketing skill, that’s a life skill. No matter who you are dealing with, always remember where they are coming from and what motivates them and it makes everything a whole lot easier!

If you had your time again, would you climb the corporate marketing ladder?

Yes I probably would, I learned a lot from my years in brand management and met great people in the process. Again, the skills I learned weren’t only about business, they were life skills and I use them everyday, e.g negotiation, budgeting, presentation.

What were the best and worst parts of your role as BM?

Definitely the best part was seeing a project come to fruition in market and probably the worst part was the opposite, where a project didn’t make it for one reason or another.

What career tips would you offer an aspirant or current BM?

Use other people’s skills. A problem shared is definitely a problem halved, I often found solutions in the most unlikely of places

Now that youve left the world of brand management, are you satisfied with your current role? If not, what are your future career aspirations?

Yes I think this role is a great role, I get great exposure to amazing brands and great talent. I am always busy and no two days are ever the same which keeps me on my toes.