Sunday, April 14, 2024

Innovation and its role in problem solving

New Wave: Exclusive Interview

Innovation can present itself in many different shapes and sizes but challenging existing categories, business models, thought processes and ways of marketing to drive growth is what motivates My Muscle Chef Head of Marketing, Clementine Churchill.

My Muscle Chef Head of Marketing, Clementine Churchill.


Where did your career in FMCG begin?

My career in FMCG began at Campbell Arnott’s as a marketing executive on the Future Marketing Leadership Program. Having studied psychology at university, I had a keen interest in the decision-making processes which drive human behaviour and given the unique balance between art and science, marketing was a natural fit. 

Take us through the journey that has led you to your current role.

Campbell Arnott’s fast tracked my brand building and marketing acumen as I worked end-to-end on some of the biggest FMCG brands in Australia, making localised strategic and executional decisions. With considerable time in both marketing and sales, I was building strong commercial understanding and application but felt myself seeking a new challenge where I could implement these skills to truly drive change and accelerate growth. I wanted to transform a business beyond just a brand level.

Recognising the changing sales landscape and the increase of e-commerce in food, I saw an opportunity with My Muscle Chef – a digitally driven business – to leverage my strong marketing experience whilst accelerating my understanding of e-commerce. I have relished the challenge of building a brand from low awareness and growing a high-performance team to deliver transformation and growth.

What has inspired you to be where you are today?

I have always been passionate about innovation and the role it can play in problem solving. In 2016, I won the Joe Berry Award, a retail industry competition, and discussed the role of innovation in driving category growth.

I am constantly thinking of and developing ideas on how we can solve a point of tension, or unmet need for the consumer, even before they know it is a problem! Innovation can present itself in many different shapes and sizes but challenging existing categories, business models, thought processes and ways of marketing to drive growth is what motivates me every day.

I truly believe there is always a better, faster, or more cost-effective way to do something. 

Is there any advice that has stuck with you as your career progresses?

Do things that scare you. It is easier to stay in your comfort zone, but the biggest learnings and opportunities come when you step outside it.

What have been some of the major challenges along the way?

As for most people this year, the impacts of COVID-19 have been a significant challenge to navigate as both a marketer, and a leader within a business. The switch to managing a team entirely from home, whilst trying to navigate and maintain a brand through a business-critical time period was particularly challenging.

We saw ‘search interest’ in prepared meals significantly drop and needed to be tactical in how we positioned our brand and associated benefits, we quickly launched an online workout platform, Move with MYMC and emphasised our variety of 120+ meals, knowing that consumers would eventually tire of cooking every day. It was about adding time and value to consumers lives and as a result during isolation we grew by 2.5 per cent.   

What are some of your greatest career highlights/achievements so far?

Winning the Joe Berry Award in 2016 is one of my greatest highlights. Winning that award was a turning point in my career. I received a promotion, broadened my professional network and travelled the world on a retail study tour, but more importantly, it gave me the confidence to believe in my own capability.

The other highlight would be my achievements to date at My Muscle Chef. Since I started, the business has grown 400 per cent. I have led a business model change, acquired and integrated a new business, completed a re-brand, launched over ten new products and launched three new websites. My Muscle Chef now manufactures over 300,000 meals per week and is ranged in 1,600 retail outlets. Creating and building a high-performance marketing team and structure to maintain our momentum is something I am very proud of.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

All my career moves have been for very specific reasons; skills I want to learn or strengthen, and industries or categories I want to be immersed in. In 10 years, I would like to be in a general manager role in a purpose driven business with an emphasis on innovation and always having the end consumer at the forefront of all business decisions.

What advice would you give to others establishing a career in the FMCG sector?

Don’t wait to be asked. Put up your hand and offer to give something a go. Whether it be a new role, a stretch project or even mentoring someone, immerse yourself in opportunities around you.

I foster and encourage my team members to challenge the status quo and take the initiative to not only develop themselves professionally, but continuously raise their profile within the business by seeking opportunities outside of their set role.

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