Ulster Grocer

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Every day is a good day managing the Tayto brand

Elly Hunter, marketing director, Tayto Group

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BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE

My degree in Food Science, Economics and Marketing took me to London where my first role was with AGB (now Nielsen) analysing and presenting market data to food companies. From there I worked at Safeway Supermarkets running test marketing for food brands in stores. My next role was within the character licensing industry where I sold the rights for brands such as Mr Men, Star Wars, Hanna Barbera, Spice Girls, Dennis the Menace and Tom & Jerry to food brands for products and promotions. I then worked for various advertising agencies with clients including Mars, Disney and Colgate Palmolive. I moved to Northern Ireland in 2003 with my husband (Northern Irish!) and two children. I was lucky enough to get the head of marketing role with Irwin’s Bakery, falling in love with their amazing product range and then moved to the same role at Dale Farm, looking after Dromona, Spelga, Dale Farm, Rowan Glen and Loseley brands. I joined Tayto in 2008.

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?

I am responsible for all facets of marketing for the Tayto brand. There are over 100 products within our range and several sub brands including Craft, Popcorn, Rough Cuts and snacks including Spirals, Onion Rings, Big Cheese and Whisps. I am responsible for bringing new products, packaging and flavours to market, ensuring the best quality at all times and supporting the brand through the full marketing mix. I also ensure that the brand is as sustainable as possible and actively seek new solutions. I work with and support the local community, seek and manage sponsorships and ensure that Tayto delivers the generous exuberance that makes it one of the most iconic brands in Northern Ireland.

WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?

I am passionate about the Tayto brand and love everything about interacting with consumers and ensuring they are #TaytoHappy.

BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY

There is no typical day for me! There are lots of zoom calls and meetings with the Tayto team and my wonderful agencies. Planning, strategising and managing projects. Working on new product development, handling customer requirements, reviewing artwork and managing the process to launch. Dealing with issues as and when they arise and coming up with fun campaigns to promote the brand.

PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

I am proud to manage the Tayto brand, so every day is a good day. In 2019 I successfully relaunched the entire brand with a fresh new look to ensure ongoing relevance in this competitive market. Over 100 products were involved and so it was a very challenging 18 months from the start which involved swathes of research and strategic thought, through to the development of the new branding and packaging to timely launch and onward support. Of course, winning the Ulster Grocer Leader in Marketing award this year made me feel very proud too.

BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY?

Local retailers love the Tayto brand too and are amazing to work with, the teams are so approachable and open to new ideas and ways of supporting the brand.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?

I have two energetic dogs and there is nothing better than going on long walks with them in this beautiful country (even in the rain).

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW

I love quizzes and was lucky enough to appear on The Weakest Link – and won.


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