Jen McAleer, Group Own Brand Director, responsible for Tesco Finest, General Merchandise and Non-Food Grocery, has been working in brand and marketing for over 20 years and shares her varied and exciting career journey at Tesco.
Jen worked in advertising before moving into brand consultancy working with retail design guru Rodney Fitch and then an agency start-up where her career gave her experience working with some of the world’s biggest brands including Virgin, Adidas, Barclays, BBC and M&S. She joined Tesco in August 2015 as International Marketing Director and is now Group Own Brand Director.
What has your career taught you about Marketing and Brand?
Brand is about the experience you give across all of your customer and colleague touchpoints, and it’s about your reputation and how people feel about you. You need total clarity around your brand, who you are, your purpose because brand sits at the heart of the business and drives what you do and how you behave. Marketing is about broadcasting and communicating the elements of your business to customers in a compelling way. Customers have so many choices, they need reasons to choose you and your brand and how you market your brand is critical.
What is it like working for a household name?
It’s great! It’s a big responsibility, everyone has an opinion because so many people are customers of Tesco. It means you really need to stay close to customers to ensure you deliver in line with their ever changing needs. Tesco is one of the UK’s largest retailers, incredibly fast paced and operating in a competitive environment, keeping customers happy, and staying relevant and differentiated is so important.
What are the career opportunities like in Marketing, Brand and Insights at Tesco?
Diverse and multiple. We are structured around three key areas of Insight, Proposition and Execution. There are opportunities for specialists and experts in some areas and generalists in others and we encourage our people to gain experience across the marketing mix as well as move into other areas of the business if that’s where their interests lie. We’re also an international business so great in-roads to international experience, working with colleagues in other countries, travel and sometimes secondments to our businesses overseas. We are looking for a range of talent given the breadth of our remit, from analysts to brand developers, from creatives to those with a passion to execute marketing communications across our on and offline retail channels. Tesco offers the opportunity to get on and manage your own career and development, based on your interests and aspirations.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important?
Being inclusive leads to diversity. If you are inclusive as a business, if everyone is welcome, if you can be aware of and avoid unconscious bias, you can build a diverse business and workforce. It’s important for so many reasons. At Tesco we must represent our customer base and be reflective of them if we are to respond to their needs effectively. Further, a diverse workforce is more challenging, more creative and more engaged, everyone has something to offer. We need a diverse mix of people because we need diverse thinking. Here at Tesco, everyone is welcome. Equality, diversity and inclusion is really important to us - whoever you are, wherever you work and whatever you do.
What else do people get from a career at Tesco?
The chance to work with some great colleagues. Tesco is a down to earth business with an amazing mix of people, you get to work with cross functional teams and the learning opportunities are huge, working with product development, category, with property and online channels too.
We offer great colleague benefits including discounts and schemes to help save money on everyday costs and treats. We’ve got deals on days out and holidays, a childcare voucher scheme where you can save money on childcare costs, as well as access to our share ownership, bonus and pension schemes.
What career advice would you pass on to ambitious brand and marketing professional looking to get on?
Be ‘all in’, ready for challenge and embracing of hard work. You need to be open minded, seize opportunity, and spend time in different teams, businesses and agencies – understanding both sides will really help you. You need genuine passion in this industry – for customers, for brands, for creativity, whatever your sector or specialism.
Explore opportunities to get on at tesco-careers.com