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Introducing Claire Canty – winner of the Rising Star of the Year award at the Masters of Marketing Awards 2015

Claire Canty
In 2015, as part of our commitment to supporting emerging talent, Michael Page sponsored the Rising Star of the Year award at the Masters of Marketing Awards. The winner was Claire Canty, Senior Brand Manager at Weetabix. Claire has achieved huge success at Nestle and Weetabix in a relatively short period of time and took some time out of her busy day to share her career highlights with us.
Claire is a member of Britain’s Future Board, an initiative that Michael Page is running to give award winning high achieving professionals a platform to tackle industry issues, share insight and inspire the next generation. Claire and her fellow Board members will share advice and news on the Michael Page website throughout 2016.

Please tell us about your career to date

After graduating in Economics, I gained a place on the Nestle graduate scheme and joined the confectionary business in York as an Assistant Brand Manager. In just over a year I was promoted to Brand Manager on Yorkie and the Chocolate Gems, a £90m portfolio, where I developed and executed a multi-media re-launch plan for Yorkie that step changed its stagnating performance. It included a new TV campaign, ‘Shopping Bags’, which was the highest scoring advert in Nestle history, and resulted in me being promoted off the graduate scheme several months early. A location move then led me to Weetabix Food Company, where at just 24 I became Senior Brand Manager, working on some of the nation’s leading cereal brands including the multi-channel launch of Weetabix Banana, our most successful Weetabix variant to date which doubled business forecast and won Product of the Year. I was then promoted to the ‘crown jewels’ of the business at just 25, the No. 1 breakfast cereal Weetabix Original. In just 12 months I’ve turned around its declining position to achieve its highest value share in five years and returned the brand to MAT penetration growth and volume growth for the first time in two years through the leading Weetabuddies as well as a major brand re-launch this year – our Incredible Inside campaign. After winning the Rising Star of the Year award at this year’s Masters of Marketing, I’ve made the brave move into the sales team this month to be the National Account Manager on Waitrose, Co-op & Ocado. Through this two year placement, I aim to gain further commercial experience & a broader business understanding to support my long term career development ambitions in marketing. 

What are your career highlights?

 Earlier this year I took on the challenge of inspiring more kids to eat Weetabix in the morning, by proving to them Weetabix is a really yummy and fun way to start the day. To do this, working with BBH, we created the Weetabuddies! We created a world of food enhanced, entertaining characters, by combining Weetabix biscuits with an assortment of healthy toppings, which truly captured kids’ imagination. Bringing them to life in a multi-media campaign, we inspired kids to make their own Weetabuddy in the mornings. It smashed all our expectations driving 14% growth year on year, 1.5m Youtube views making it Weetabix’s biggest viral success to date, and a phenomenal set of Ad tracking results with brand desire at its highest ever recorded level! I’m extremely proud of what the Weetabuddies have achieved, and to me, it’s really demonstrated the power of a simple, visual communications idea that has consumption right at the heart.

What initially attracted you to marketing? 

I've always loved the variety of marketing and the fact it is both an art & a science. Having done an economics degree, I very much enjoy analytical science aspect of marketing whether that’s strategy building and finding stories & opportunities in large amounts of data. But I also enjoy throwing science out the window when you find an ad that that makes you feel something emotionally. It's a field of work that stretches both your left & right brain, meaning two days are never the same and it’s definitely that variety that gets me up in the mornings.

What career ambitions are you still to achieve? 

I'm incredibly ambitious and very driven to progress within marketing as swiftly as possible, first gaining a strong commercial foundation through my current sales role to ensure I’m a very rounded & commercial marketer. I've always set myself the goal of being marketing director in my early 30s and I am very much determined to achieve that! 

If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing? 

I'd probably be a dance teacher! I've always loved dance, and have done ballet, tap & jazz from a young age, as well as teaching children of all ages through my teenage years and at university in my spare time. I still get to a dance class when I can as it's a brilliant release! 

Meet the other members of Britain’s Future Board.