Drawing from more than 20 years of experience in the industry, 2023 Marketer of the Year finalist Sandra Daniel of Oceania, was able to apply this to a category that desperately needed a re-invention. Here, she shares more about her career highlights, what she loves about marketing, and what it takes to excel in this discipline.
How did you feel when you found out you had been nominated?
I felt very proud and honoured to have been nominated and love the fact that this nomination also reflects positively on my wonderful team and our incredible business.
Briefly, give details of your marketing career to this point.
I have been privileged to work alongside many outstanding senior marketers and lead teams to deliver transformational marketing campaigns that span brand to retail, across categories, markets, and audiences, for more than 20 years. I have now taken all that experience and applied it to a category that was in desperate need to be re-invented.
Why do you love working for Oceania?
It’s an honour to have a role where I can make a difference to people’s lives – particularly those who have spent their lives making New Zealand a better place for the generations to come. I am surrounded by a team who truly believes in our brand purpose and who push every day to do better.
What do you love about marketing? Is there a specific type of marketing you particularly enjoy, or specialise in, and why?
I love marketing because at its heart is creativity. Albert Einstein once said, “creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else thought.” Marketing is the creative pursuit of solving business problems using customer insights. It forms the building blocks of transformation – whether it’s a brand, a product, or a way to go to market. I believe that marketing has no boundaries to the value it can add to a business, both today, and in the future.
What do you think it takes to be an award-winning marketer?
A brave and relentless curiosity, the ability to be an authentic and passionate storyteller, the willingness to take on an impossible challenge, proven capability, results that speak volumes, a category changemaker and an inspiring mentor for future marketers.
What do you think has been your most significant achievement throughout your career?
I am very proud of being the architect of the transformational Oceania brand strategy, visual design, and brand platform “Believe in Better”. Our new brand platform goes beyond marketing, setting out a bold ambition for our business to continue to re-imagine retirement and aged care living.
It is extremely rare for a marketing platform to be adopted beyond marketing and yet “Believe in Better” has simply become the very essence of all that we do at Oceania. It is a marketing platform that has stepped up to inform our overarching business strategy.
“Believe in Better” is the vernacular our CEO, Brent Pattison uses when talking to investors about our vision for the future. It is the name of our internal awards programme that recognises team members who go over and above to make a difference. And it is part of our daily narrative. These are just a few of the hundreds of ways this marketing platform has transformed our business.
It is also a marketing platform that has propelled our product and service innovations, and inspired beautiful and authentic storytelling, through much loved campaigns that are wearing in not wearing out.
In this way, an extremely hardworking brand platform which achieved so much more, has become my most significant career achievement, and I am very proud of it.
What are some of the biggest challenges you as a marketer face working within the industry that you do?
Covid-19 hit our category hard, and on multiple levels. But we pushed through, adapted, and kept our vulnerable residents safe and happy. I pivoted to become the comms lead, gate security organiser and daily resident wellbeing call manager – All whilst continuing to lead the development of our all-important brand campaigns and village sell-downs.
Looking forward – the face of our customers is changing. And rapidly. The 70-year-olds we want to attract in five years’ time are not their counterparts of the past. Their needs, wants, desires, and daily lives are very different and will continue evolve. As a marketer this is both a challenge and a wonderful opportunity to focus on innovation.
Tell me about a marketing initiative you have recently worked on that has realised great success, and why you think it has done so?
Many couples have been together for most of their lives. Why separate them as their care needs change? We developed and promoted our Couple’s Care Suite offering through a campaign we call, “The Duet”. The Duet is more than a simple love story of a couple wanting to grow old together. It’s a campaign that has broken the category norms, turning Oceania Couple’s Care Suites offering into a message of respect, and hope. The Duet Campaign grew enquiries, delivered an increase in premium care revenue, and grew overall brand consideration. The success of this initiative was born from a real pain point that we identified, and the ability to creatively problem solve it for our important residents.
Where do you see your career headed in the next 5-10 years?
I have the privilege of being in a role of influence, and I want to continue to make a difference in people’s lives, grow high performing teams, and create exceptional and ongoing business success. I am very passionate about continuing to provide mentorship and guidance to new marketers and to help support them to grow in their careers.