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  • Sonia Gavira

Marketing and HR - a match made in brand heaven

A few years ago, following a consultancy project, I found myself in the position of Marketing and HR Director for a London restaurant group. At the time I knew that this was more about finances than any enlightened decision - the two areas that needed work were Marketing and HR and seeing as I had written the business plan, putting me in charge of both those areas saved time and money.

And yet, years on I can see how this position made perfect sense and sent me on a professional journey that has brought me full circle, to where I am now.

As a brand marketer, I had always been passionate about the values of the brand and getting them out there to the consumer. I worked with agencies of all shapes and sizes on product, advertising, sales promotion, PR, etc with the aim of developing the brand proposition and communicating it to our customers in the most appealing and consistent way possible.

Then I entered the world of retail and of restaurants, in a project where we were launching a new brand and a new product in a very crowded marketplace. And this time I was responsible not only for the brand and the product, but also for the people side of the business.

Luckily, what I realised was that it was essential to get the people right, because they were a critical part of the brand. No matter how much advertising we did, our people were the ones in front of the customers every day. If they didn't understand, value and represent the brand when face to face with the customer, then no amount of advertising would help.

As a marketing professional particularly in a retail environment, it is critical for you to focus on communicating internally as well as externally. As an HR professional in this same environment, it is critical for you to work with your marketing colleagues on defining the behaviours required to represent the values of the organisation and its brand. Together you can then devise a plan that will ensure that the brand lives both inside and outside the organisation.

This can be even more critical in an organisation that has a holding company brand and other brands within it. Working in this way, can ensure that the values of all the brands are represented and lived appropriately so that there are synergies in the organisation as well as differentiation for the customer of each of the brands.

I started my career in marketing, then moved to the people side of the business, and now I have come full circle and been able to embrace both disciplines in service of the organisation and customer that I work with.

How can you do this in your company? What are the behaviours that will represent the values of your brand? How do you engage your people in those values?

To discuss these and any other questions you may have, contact me at

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Next: What does a 21st century organisation need to succeed?

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