Integrating Creativity in Brand Management
Mouzannar, a member of the MSc
in Marketing and Creativity Class of 2012, who exudes passion
for her career in brand management. She manages her products in the
skincare industry from conception to launch, which is incredibly
satisfying for her. Romy has made the most of her learnings from
the programme by integrating creativity in her job
Hi Romy - What is your current position?
I am a Global Strategy & Innovation Brand Manager for Boots Tea Tree & Witch
What was your position before starting the MSc in
Marketing & Creativity at ESCP Europe?
I worked for three years in Lebanon before joining ESCP Europe. I
started out as an Intern at L'Oréal acting as an
Assistant Brand Manager in the professional hair care department. I
then moved onto a role as a local brand manager for a dental
healthcare brand called G.U.M
Please tell me a bit about your career path since
graduating from the MSc in Marketing &
After graduating, I worked at Johnson
& Johnson for two years. I started out there initially with
my final year internship in Paris as Assistant Brand Manager for
the flu brand Actifed. I then moved to London as an EMEA Graduate
working on the brand strategy & product development of several
skincare brands, notably Neutrogena, Aveeno and Johnson's baby.
Following this, I worked for a short period (eight months) at Mars Incorporated as
UK Assistant Brand Manager on Wrigley's Extra in order to better
discover the "commercial" side of brand management. For personal
reasons, I had to cut my time there short and moved to Nottingham,
where I ended up finding my dream job at Walgreens Boots Alliance.
What drives you at work? What aspect of your job is most
exciting to you?
Managing my own business from A to Z! From having a direct impact
in shaping the brand that I am managing from an innovation and
communications perspective to influencing the price and
distribution, I love what I do. Working on the innovation and
strategy side of a brand is thrilling as you are part of every
decision that will shape the future of the brand and affect the
sales results. At first, it's a bit scary! But there is a lot
of excitement when you launch a new product based on great consumer
insights and market analysis and it flies off the shelf!
One of our alumni said to us that when working for big
brands, the hardest part of creativity is selling in the idea and
getting other stakeholders to accept and embrace the risk. Numbers,
facts and analyses are good ways of selling in ideas and breeding
confidence. Do you agree with this? Another one of our alumni said
"If you want to be 100% sure, you will be 100% too late", therefore
dismissing the idea of doing lots of research. But then again, he
said this from the entrepreneur/startup perspective…
Yes, I agree: in any field It's all about managing the risk of the
investment. The more you share confidence through data on the
return, the easier it is for anyone to invest in it. On the other
hand, if there are no risks, that probably means your idea is
already out, and therefore less pioneering. If you can clearly
demonstrate to your stakeholder "why" and "what" are the
triggers or the barriers to your brand growth, then you are in good
shape. When you deeply understand that, your creative idea is
easier to sell as everyone will be on board in finding a
Were you always interested in skincare or did you just
fall into it?
I actually hold a BSc in Chemistry. Even though I no longer
practice this discipline, the interaction of science with the
healthcare & beauty world has always fascinated me. It's an
area that I am very passionate about. That said, at the start of my
career I probably didn't realise it. It turned out that the roles
that were more suitable for me or that I found more interesting
were across this area. Looking back, I think it was my passion
speaking for itself.
It sounds like your current role is quite unique in the
FMCG world in that you manage everything from brand positioning to
negotiating product prices and shelving space. What is more common
in the FMCG world and how did you manage to have such an
The critical difference is the retail aspect. As opposed to an
FMCG business, Walgreen Boots Alliance own their brands and the
stores, therefore there is an easier link to your final buyer and a
stronger common consumer and business goal. In the FMCG world,
there are several layers before a brand manager reaches his local
buyer to influence their decisions. This is mainly done through the
account manager who also needs to align the brand goals with the
various business retailers' goals.
For anyone reading this article thinking "I want to do
what she does", can you share any advice? Are there any other
companies or fields people can look into?
Yes there are several great brands who are actually benefiting
from the brand+retailer aspect: L'Occitane, Liz Earle, Sephora etc.
My advice would be to start with a company that has a solid
branding expertise and then move to a one that has the retailer
part in order to maximise your experience.
Are you finding yourself having to be creative and
innovative in your role? If so, please give me at least one example
you are proud of sharing.
ALWAYS! Innovation and creativity are at the heart of my daily
work. I am creative not only when I'm looking for product
innovation or communication tools, but also in managing my
stakeholders, the various market needs, the internal processes
But as we have learned during the MSc in Marketing &
Creativity, great innovation starts first with a deep analysis.
It's only when you have truly understood and pinpointed the key
trigger or barrier to your growth that creativity will shine at its
What's the most useful piece of advice you've received
when it comes to your career?
Don't worry if you don't know exactly what you want. Start
somewhere and give it 100%! You will soon find that your passion
will speak for itself and the roles/projects that are more suitable
for you will find you.
What advice would you give to yourself just after
graduating from the MSc in Marketing &
No need to rush! It is the journey that will make you a stronger
person, not the destination.
Whom do you consider to be your influencers? What
websites/blogs do you regularly check?
I used to read a lot of leadership books, i.e. 7 habits, Lean In,
The Game People Play. However, I have lately realised that I have
learned more from the people that surround me, my senior managers,
my former MSc in Marketing & Creativity classmates, and the new
people I get to know everyday. I believe you don't need to search a
lot to find inspiring personalities; there are plenty around you
already! I love to meet new people, observe and listen to their
stories, careers, and experiences. The more diverse the better!
Each person gives you a different way of thinking, new knowledge
from their unique experiences that are more tailored to what you
might be searching for, and certainly more real.
How did the content of the MSc in Marketing &
Creativity help you in your career?
We learned a lot of marketing and management content during the
MSc in Marketing & Creativity. But it is actually the
confidence I have gained in challenging the status quo and creative
way of thinking that boosted my career and shaped me the
Feeling enthused by Romy's career? To follow in her
footsteps, check out ESCP Europe and its Marketing & Creativity