“At Perfetti Van Melle, there's plenty of of room to work out your own ideas and then put them to the test.”

From International Brand Manager to Marketing Manager

In my current position as Marketing Manager, I'm responsible for the marketing activities in the Netherlands and Belgium. As a Marketing Team, this makes us responsible for various product launches, but also the development of products within the local markets: Klene and Look-O-Look.

A transparent organisation

I wasn't actually familiar with Perfetti Van Melle at the time that I applied for the position of International Brand Manager at Corporate Marketing. I'd read up on the company, of course, but it was the brands that I was really familiar with. Everyone's heard of Fruittella and Mentos. The first interview that I had as part of my application was a good illustration of my experience of the company ever since, as a transparent organisation with an informal atmosphere and in which you are expected to achieve results. A great combination.

Freedom to take the initiative

I immediately realised that there would be plenty of freedom to take the initiative. There's no need to describe everything in great detail in protocols and procedures. There's plenty of room to work out your own ideas and then put them to the test. It's now also my task to implement new initiatives, though that wasn't a foregone conclusion in the beginning. I suggested to my manager that we pick up a few markets independently and travel to them. On the basis of my insights, we could then establish and manage a strategy. She agreed right away.

The lollipop brand that everyone knows

There was a redistribution of tasks at Corporate Marketing at the time that we took over Chupa Chups. I focussed on a more select group of countries but was also co-responsible for the globally famous lolly brand. The challenge then was to investigate the Chupa Chups products and their brand values and promote these within the different areas.

Horse and cart on the road

My initial travels took me to Poland, Romania and Russia, where cultural differences were huge. Not so much in terms of the Perfetti Van Melle culture, but more in terms of the markets, people and sales channels. In Romania, for example, there are no large supermarkets, but rather numerous small 24-hour shops, which I then proceeded to visit several times to see how the people there come into contact with our products. I even saw a horse and wagon driving along the road! Bizarre but very educational.

Extra responsibilities

After working as Group Brand Manager for Klene, Frisk & Smint for a number of years, it was time for a new challenge. In my current position as Marketing Manager, I'm responsible for all the local markets, which translates into a much broader range of markets and products. Marketing is all about the continuous development of our brands. Our Marketing team therefore increasingly applies feedback from consumers in order to check whether concepts and communication are truly appreciated by the targeted group.

"We've received many positive responses from consumers in 2017. Our 'Mentos Mentors' campaign was extremely popular in 2016. So popular that it was even nominated for a Golden Loeki TV prize for the best commercial. We converted this campaign developed by Group Marketing into a local campaign, which booked great results. Moreover, our recently introduced product line 'Klene Your Favourite' won the Wheel of Retail in 2017: the prize for the best introduction in the sugar work category. Of course it's fantastic to see how the campaigns and products we've developed as a team are so popular!"