A Day In The Life Of: A P&G Brand Manager

By August 5, 2016Interviews

Born and raised in Toronto, Sam graduated from Queen’s in April 2013 (BAH Psychology) and after a summer traveling 17 European countries in 100 days joined P&G in September 2013. He is testament to the fact that you can graduate with an Arts degree and adapt to the business world with a whole different skill set. His current role is Sr. ABM – Fabric Care, managing the Tide business. Outside of work, Sam is an avid photographer, diehard Jays fan, Tide Ice Pods left winger, big traveler, adventurous eater, amateur bartender, and hipster music lover.

Morning Routine

My day begins with a very sweaty streetcar ride. When I started at P&G in September 2013, I decided to live at home with my parents to save money – but a year and a half later, I was ready to move downtown. Despite the fact that my commute is now longer (and hotter), it’s worth it for the great neighbourhood.

On the streetcar, when I’m not catching Drowzees, I use the time to catch up on my industry buzz – Marketing Mag, Adweek, WSJ, and Business Insider, most of which are linked from Twitter. Once I get to the subway, I let the sweet, sweet air conditioning ease me into my work day. It’s a great time to catch up on emails, read a book, or listen to a podcast.

Fun Fact: One of the great things about P&G is that it’s one of the few CPGs on the subway line – makes for an easy commute!
My transit Pokémon catching does NOT go this far. Don’t try this at home.

My transit Pokémon catching does NOT go this far. Don’t try this at home.

Around The Office

About 45 minutes later I’m at the office – I grab a coffee and find a place to sit. In March 2013, Canada led the P&G globally in moving to “Digital 2.0” or Agile Office. That means that 1) everything is digital – no paper, 2) employees are completely mobile, and 3) no one has an assigned seat. There are different areas of the office reserved for different types of work: quiet “focus zones”, chattier “collaboration areas”, meeting rooms, huddle rooms, and lounge-type seating. It’s ideal for changes of scenery, quiet when you need it and noise when you don’t, and 100% flexibility to work where I want, when I want. It’s kind of like finding a seat in the library, minus the constant struggle.

Examples of the different types of seating in the office

What I Do

The job of an ABM or BM demands proficiency in many areas and expertise in a few. You’re a business owner from day 1, tasked with getting your brand into more hearts, minds, and homes of Canadian consumers every day.

My brand is Tide. To you, it’s just soap; to me, it’s my beautiful orange baby. On any given day, I might be working with our media agency to build the perfect media plan, contracting vendors to distribute samples & coupons, collaborating with Sales, Finance, and Market Research to draft a competitive response plan, analyzing shipments & consumption data, or influencing our US partners to deliver the right advertising for the Canadian consumer. Or all of those things, probably.

Tide in the P&G Archives @ Cincinnati Headquarters

A Typical Meeting

We definitely have a lot of meetings in the Brand function, which means it can be tough to carve out the time for “real work” in my daily schedule. That being said, one thing I really love about P&G is how efficient we are. Meetings (and work processes in general) are boiled down to a science. If your meeting doesn’t have an agenda, an objective, and clear next steps, it’s probably not getting attended. I’m the type of guy who likes to save time by crossing a street diagonally, so I appreciate this. It’s a big company, but we know how to get stuff done.

Classic brainstorm session in one of the meeting rooms

Break Time

During breaks, my co-workers and I like to enjoy all that beautiful Yonge & Sheppard has to offer. Of course, Starbucks is a classic, but Whole Foods has really changed the lunch game – definitely an office favourite. There are also a bunch of great sushi & Korean spots also the stretch of Yonge. There is also a Pokéstop just around the corner. Within the office, there’s a small cafeteria, a massage clinic (really), and a prayer room, if you’re so inclined. For after work drinks, the Frog is the go-to.

This is actually me, actually in the office, during a Pokémon-themed team lunch

Quitting Time

I try to take off around 5 or 5:30 so I can stop at the gym before heading home. P&G is great about respecting employees’ work/life balance. In one of my first few months, our then-country President shared his top 5 life priorities with work at #5. I found that pretty refreshing. There is a strong emphasis on working hard and smart, not long.

Words of Advice

It may be selling soap, but at the end of the day, P&G brands are some of the most trusted, respected, and loved in the categories in which we play. For me, it’s pretty cool to be the steward of one of those icons. Like any job, it’s not without frustrations, but the work is challenging and your results are visible on the shelves of Canada’s major retailers and in Canadian consumers’ homes. While I sometimes envy full-time Pokémon trainers, brand management at P&G is a pretty good gig.

Want in? We post jobs on pgcareers.com and we are on campus for recruiting regularly! While P&G’s application process can be daunting, the advice I give boils down to 3 key points: 1) get leadership & data analysis experience wherever you can, 2) come out to recruiting events and chat with other P&G employees, and 3) practice your behavioural interview “stories” on repeat. It helps to follow industry trends, but avoid showing up to your interview asking about core earnings per share.

Here I am with some fun co-workers