This post is written by third year Marketing student Sam, currently enjoying a placement at William Grant & Sons UK.
I have been working within the marketing team at William Grant and Sons UK for almost two months now and have been exposed to all aspects of the spirits industry. WGS UK is one of the biggest premium spirits companies in the world and own popular brands such as Hendricks Gin, Glenfiddich Whisky and Monkey Shoulder.
It’s fair to say that I’ve been very busy! I travelled to Nottingham on my 2nd day to attend a workshop for one of our craft vodka brands, as well as attending the company’s annual conference in Scotland a few weeks later. Whilst I was up there I got the chance to tour the famous Glenfiddich distillery and learn more about how whisky is made. This was by far the highlight of my placement to date and was a great way to meet people early on! I’ve also had opportunities to go out into the trade (bars and restaurants) and see how our field team work with clients and customers too, which means I’m not stuck in the office all the time!
But it hasn’t all been fun and games, as insights executive my role involves supporting our brand managers and the general marketing team by carrying out competitor analysis and offering insight into why consumer trends are occurring and how we should therefore market our products. It’s a very consumer behaviour focused role which is something I’ve always been interested in. Right from the word go I have been given responsibility and have had the opportunity to offer my ideas in a creative sense as well, when attending workshops and brand events, which I’ve really enjoyed. There has been a challenging learning curve when using new software’s and learning about the industry and all its terminology! Trust me there’s a lot of it! However, the experience of my colleagues and the relaxed company culture has made the transition from university to working life easier than expected.
One project I have been working on is analysing the performance of our brands and their competitors within the rum market. This is in preparation for a workshop in Glasgow at the end of the month, where I will present my findings to some of the marketing team.
Already within my first couple of months my placement has begun to help me clarify what career path I may want to pursue within marketing and confirms to me that I chose the right course. The one bit of advice I’d give to 1st and 2nd year students is not to panic! If something doesn’t come along straight away, keep persisting and putting in the effort with applications.
It’s a young and really exciting industry to be a part of and it’s fair to say walking into a bar will never be the same!