6 min read
Can’t believe we’re launching today our 20th episode of People of Marketing Podcast! It’s a special moment for us and how better celebrate than with an amazing guest?
Our guest today is Viviane Gonçalves, the Venturing and Emerging Brands Marketing Director for LATAM at The Coca-Cola Company. She has been working for Coca-Cola for some good years, gaining a very diverse experience. It includes Digital and Cultural Transformation, Integrated Marketing Communication, and Brand Management. An important side of Viviane’s career is also the focus on People Management and Mentoring.
Just be yourself and follow your instincts
This episode brings us a great tip from Viviane. She learned on her own that authenticity is extremely important in our professional life and we should listen to what we really want.
“Don’t care too much about what people think. Sometimes, especially women, we tend to ask for permission. And we want people to have a impression of us. They’re always judging and we are trying to somehow follow the company ladder in terms of career path.
And that’s not necessarily what you want. But you are doing so because you don’t want people to judge you. So you just follow and you go through. At certain moments in my career, I decided to operate based on other’s direction and not my direction.
So I suggest people ask themselves what they want. Follow your instinct and don’t care too much about others’ judgment. They will judge you if you are going to do it or not. They will judge anyway. So do it. Be yourself. Of course, you have to adapt to the situation. You do have to understand others and be very empathetic, but just be yourself. It’s a terrible life to have to go to work 8-10 hours a day and be another person.”
I appreciate the confidence and transparency she uses to express her thoughts. Especially at the beginning of your career when you’re not confident in your abilities. You tend to follow others’ rules, even if you don’t resonate with them. Viviane tries to empower the young generation to believe in their potential and follow their instincts. The takeaway is clear — it’s simply not feasible to pretend to be someone else for 10 hours every day.
Can creatives be disciplined?
Discipline isn’t necessarily creatives’ favorite word. They’re all looking for freedom in anything they do: from the way they work to the output they deliver. However, Viviane seems to have another perspective on it.
“The other side of being creative is lacking discipline. Or, at least, that’s the stereotype. I never needed a lot of infrastructure to operate. I love the challenge of having nothing but a white piece of paper in front of me and the freedom to do whatever I want to.
I tend to operate better in this kind of environment. However, when you want to become a leader or manage better the context around you, you need to be organized. In a big corporation, it’s a lot about processes. You have to follow the processes without losing your creative side, but also you have to somehow adapt the needed discipline. I remember some people working in my teams needed much more structure from my side and they gave me this feedback.
So I decided to be more disciplined early in my career. I understood that discipline also helps creativity. It helps a lot in finding the right moment for you to be creative and the moment when you have to be productive only. It was extremely important to me. I now laugh because when people describe me they always use the word discipline. For me to become a better leader, I must be very disciplined and creative at the same time.”
The lesson I took from Viviane’s experience is that there’s always a balance. It’s true, creatives don’t want that much discipline in their own work. From their leaders, though, they need structure and clarity. So, even for managers in the creative world, it’s important to develop this ability.
Customers-centricity is not what we think it is
A lot of marketing values and strategies are so often used that we forget the original meaning. We tend to fixate on what’s good, what’s bad. We then claim we’re all doing the good and avoiding the bad. But some concepts are simply not that basic. Not that achievable. Customer-centricity is one of them.
“Everybody’s talking about consumer centricity. People are smart. They absorb the concepts very quickly. But then they apply it everywhere without any rigor and it becomes so empty.
Nowadays many people are talking about consumer centricity just because they have a consumer. But at the end of the day, customer-centricity is about having a longterm relationship with your consumer, having them participating in your process of ideation, and giving you feedback, iterating with you all the time.
Having consumer centricity at the core means a lot of infrastructure. Your intent of having this relationship with consumers needs to be really strong. It’s not an easy task. That’s why I wouldn’t use the expression unless I have the right conditions to have a dialogue with consumers.”
I love Viviane’s candid approach. We live in such a buzzwordy world, we’re often overlooking the true meaning of some concepts. Not everyone can be customer-centric. It’s that simple.
Such a warm and strong episode! The experience Viviane gained all these years at The Coca-Cola Company and not only brought so valuable insights.
But don’t take my word for it, listen on your own, and learn from the best!