I lead consumer planning for the Africa Innovation team at Diageo, which means it’s my job to ensure our team is working on the biggest consumer-centric innovation opportunities, fueled with the right insights, so that we can delight our African consumers and drive sales growth for Diageo. Most of us the team is based in London (albeit with fairly frequent travel), which means we need to work extra hard to stay connected to the consumer, and be extra curious to make up for a lack of daily exposure to what is happening on the ground. It also means we are more reliant on great agency partnerships and global-local working relationships to deliver brilliant, vivid consumer understanding and insights to fuel innovation. I care a great deal about facilitating this, and feel very privileged in my role to help shape the future of the Diageo business in Africa, at the same time as – I hope – making people’s everyday socializing experiences that little bit better through our brands and innovation.
Prior to Diageo I led Global Consumer Planning & Insights for the Gin, Innovation & Whisky categories at Bacardi, and before that I worked at various WPP advertising, brand development, and insight/ future
forecasting agencies, where I specialized in combining a “top down” view of long-term market or cultural
change with “bottom up” consumer understanding for clients like Nokia, Unilever, Diageo and the UK
Government. I am originally from Scotland (though I don’t sound like it any more), but am an explorer at heart, and have lived and/or worked in the US, Japan, China and Chile as well as having family links to Africa via Tanzania and South Africa.