chats to Chris Caldwell – GM of marketing at Bakers Delight. If you
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1. What do you do?

General manager, marketing and operational support, Bakers Delight.

I oversee the marketing function, which for Bakers Delight, includes brand management and campaign communications, corporate communications, new product development, technical baking team, customer service and a key stakeholder in operations through the management of our internal auditing function.

2. What was your first job?

I commenced my career with almost a decade in sports marketing concluding with a three year stint at the Essendon Football Club before deciding I wasn’t a starf*cker and the world of consumer marketing was a far bigger and brighter commercial beast to tackle.   

After six years at Village Roadshow – Exhibition (GM marketing and sales) and then Tattersall’s (group marketing manager). I joined Bakers Delight in June 2007.

3. What did you study?

Nothing, but miraculously I emerged with a commerce degree and postgraduate diploma in financial market economics… the second was just to engage my voyeurism tendencies so I could eavesdrop on the CEO and CFO and know what they were talking about!

4. Describe a typical day?

Generally Zoe (three-year-old daughter) wakes me up at 3am because she wants to go to the toilet, then Ned and Max (five and six-year-old sons) wake up at 5.30am because they want to watch something ‘really, really important’ on TV.  So I get up and go to the gym for a Clayton’s workout.

I get into the office at around 7am and when others start appearing in the office I decide it’s time to change out of stinky gym clothes and sneak off for a shower. Not in that order. I sneak off first and then take off my stinky gym gear.

A normal day involves talking to franchisees and the operations team to discuss their feedback on what’s working and what’s not working with the current or upcoming sales campaign and the products associated with that campaign. We’re all experts – I’m just lucky enough to be the conduit for feedback. Other activities include new product development (NPD) sessions – warning don’t eat lunch before these meetings. Taste testing 10 different potential pizza flavours or scones can be a tough job – I was a jockey when I started this job now I’m 6 ft 3 and 95kgs!

OK, seriously the best part about my role is that as a GM at Bakers Delight we really are engaged by the founders Roger and Lesley Gillespie in the serious business decisions and regardless of your ‘portfolio’ our founders recognise that we all come from different backgrounds and can offer feedback or advice across all areas of the business.

Back to a typical day – luckily I live five minutes from the office so I get home by 6pm in time to take Zoe to the toilet again and tell the boys to stop playing that “really, really important computer game” – put them to bed and then sit down with my wife, Sally, and I enjoy a glass or a soup-bowl of wine – her not me, she has to live with me she needs it!

5. What is on the agenda for the next year?

Our aim will be to continue to provide innovative value based meal solutions for our two million weekly customers.

Bakers Delight is achieving strong growth in the economic downturn and is seeing more consumers opting for meals at home rather than dining out, hence the introduction of our new Authentic Sourdough range and our new Fruit Loaves. Two products designed to allow people to have the highest quality fresh produce in their own homes at an affordable price. More people are taking their lunch to work and school in order to save a bit of extra money so we have the perfect healthy lunchbox filler releasing soon to complement the old favourites, Cheesymites and Cheese and Bacon rolls.

Every business needs fresh new ideas, it is what makes it exciting and helps to drive sales. I want to ensure Bakers Delight continues to be the market leader in product development, customer communication and customer experience.

Bakers Delight is one of the few businesses that is ‘bucking the trend,’ increasing its above-the-line spend in the economic crisis. History shows that companies which invest in their brand during a recessed economy come out on top. We are planning to spend 40% more on media and marketing this year than last year, this change in marketing strategy maximises the current downturn and positions us well for growth as the economy recovers.

6. What brand do you love the most? Dislike the most? Why?

‘Tesco – if only we knew as much about our customers!’

7. What do you believe has been the most significant moment in the history of marketing?

If only the moron who said ‘50% of marketing is wasted’ had said ‘10%’ we could have all saved countless hours of board presentations.

8. Where can people find you?

Before 9pm, on the Bakers Delight website, in one of our 700 bakeries, or at home playing with the kids, after that I’m studying the inside of my eyelids.

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