Meet Olivia Robins, a Talented Brand Manager at Frucor Suntory

Olivia Robins

Wise beyond her years and passionate about her work at Frucor Suntory, Olivia Robins is a natural marketer – creative, strategic and highly analytical, whose smarts are only rivalled by her work ethic.

Olivia Robins had an unorthodox pathway to marketing, gaining a Bachelor in Primary Education from Otago University, before going on to complete an Advertising Diploma.

She started her career as a Planner/Buyer at Starcom, followed by a role in sales, before joining Frucor Suntory in February 2019.

In little under a year, Robins was promoted from her first marketing role as Assistant Brand Manager Hydration (Water), to Brand Manager Juice – where she continues to thrive. The TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards Young Marketer of the Year finalist shares her marketing journey with me as she looks to

From education to advertising, how or why did you get into marketing?

Having spent my first 2.5 years working in the media industry as a Planner/Buyer I wanted to understand what inputs drove strategy, and connect some of the dots I’d formed working on the other side. Being a natural big picture thinker and having close friends and family that worked in the marketing industry, I leveraged their experience and took a leap, into what began as my career in marketing.

Tell us about your role at Frucor Suntory?

So far in my career I’ve had the pleasure of working across both the Hydration and Juice portfolios. Both roles that have given me the opportunity to develop market orientation, commercial acumen and build strategy – all fundamental skills for any marketer.  

In my role as an Assistant Brand Manager in the Hydration team I formed part of a team that developed the Hydration Portfolio Strategy and led a key piece of consumer research to inform our innovation strategy for the next three to five years. 

I also led the project team that delivered Frucor’s first packaging sustainability project; moving h2go pure water and NZ Natural bottles from 100 percent virgin plastic to 100 percent recycled plastic (rPET) in 2020. 

10 months into my career I was promoted into a Brand Manager role in the Juice portfolio, working across The Real McCoy brand, where I launched a new functional shelf stable juice range; The Real McCoy PLUS, delivering incremental value to the shelf stable juice category.  

Outside of my role I’m highly involved in using my experience working across the sustainability project and working in media to develop capability in the marketing team at Frucor Suntory. In the future I’m excited to work on some more consumer insights work and use these insights to drive an improved product experience for consumers!.

What do you love about marketing?

Research and innovation are my real passion points. I love getting out and talking to consumers and using consumer insights to drive an improved experience. Looking for ways to innovate and remain relevant to the consumer is what really excites me about my role as a marketer.

And working at Frucor Suntory?

Aside from the incredible people, at Frucor Suntory we’re encouraged to spend less time at our desks, and more time out talking to consumers and understanding how we can improve their experience with our brands and products.

More recently I’ve become increasingly aware of how fortunate we are to be brand owners. As a young marketer I’m able to be exposed to building, implementing and executing strategy for my brands which is an incredible opportunity to develop in my career.

Is there a specific project you’ve worked on that stands out?

More recently I’ve helped launch an important value enhancing functional juice range under The Real McCoy. 

This project has helped to circumvent consumer barriers around sugar, via an elevated juice experience that talks to the natural benefits inherent in juice, with added functionality (a growing consumer trend). 

6 months into launch it’s also evident that as a result it’s helped to bring more people back into a maturing category, at a price premium. A win for consumers, customers and Frucor Suntory.

What do you think has been your most significant achievement throughout your career?

Leading the team that delivered Frucor Suntory’s first packaging sustainability project; moving our water brands NZ Natural & h2go pure water bottles from virgin plastic into 100 percent recycled plastic (rPET), which helped remove a total of 370 tonnes of plastic ~ 950 Tonne reduction in C02 emissions.

This project has also helped pave the way for other brands at Frucor Suntory to follow and ultimately shifted the focus for other brands to address the role sustainability plays for our consumers. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you as a young marketer face?

Coupled with trying to find my voice in a large company one thing that comes to mind is feeling the need to solve every problem – I think it’s often something that comes with experience, but reflecting on the past 18 months in my career, there’s certainly been moments where I’ve felt the weight of needing to provide the solution versus identifying the role and responsibility I have as a marketer to help solve the problem within a cross functional team. 

What advice would you give to other Young Marketers entering the industry?

Reflecting on my career so far, I’ve learnt 90 percent of what I know from other people, so find people that motivate and inspire you, so you can continue to be curiosity and gain feedback from other leaders. 

Where do you see your career headed in the next 5-10 years?

Given I’m still only 18 months into my career as a marketer, In the short term I want to focus on building and implementing strategy and continue to build capability across the wider marketing team championing sustainability and tactical marketing.      

Longer term, I’d like to develop into a marketing leader who can build effective teams and deliver desirable outcomes for not only consumers and customers, but also for the greater good of the planet – while not losing sight of the things that excite me most about this industry, which is going out and talking to consumers.

To read the profiles of all the winners from the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2020, click here.

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About Bernadette Basagre

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email [email protected].

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