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Buy Me A Koffee Podcast with Zachary Kingston (Flying Fish)




Welcome to the first episode of Buy Me A Koffee, brought to you by Kaffein Magazine and I’m your host, Lethabo Ngakane.  This show is all about conversations and insights from the heavy-hitters behind the scenes of creative products and spaces that you love.  We hope to leave you with insights into these people, their industries, their day-to-day tools, and the processes of their work.  We’ve partnered up with Flying Fish who are currently running an awesome campaign that aims to put food first and alcohol later.  Today we are joined by Flying Fish Marketing Manager, Zachary Kingston.

Zachary Kingston is skilled in business and brand management, as well as market research.  He is a strong business development professional with a master’s degree focused in Strategic Marketing from Imperial College, London…

Q & A:

Lethabo: According to you, what is brand management?

Zachary: Brand Management is ultimately something that’s in the job description.  It’s about how you go about managing a brand.  How do you take an image, a set of values, concept or purpose, benefits that you want to bring into the market and manage these different moving parts to showcase the benefit to the consumer, and engaging with this brand? Each one of these different points has a whole bunch of sub-points under it but ultimately that is what brand management is about – how do you manage the brand to bring it to life effectively for the value and benefit of the consumer.

L: How did you get into Marketing Management, and what have been the key experiences so far?

Z: I never actually wanted to get into marketing or brand management.  I wanted to become a lawyer, but I was told that maybe the legal approach isn’t best suited for me and as a result of that my mother said, “well, you know what is a lawyer but a glorified marketer?”  They take information that they have at their disposal and they try to convince people of their point of view, and marketing is exactly that, you just get to be more creative with it.  So, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed brand management.  Marketing management; it’s been lots of fun, to whittle down my key experiences to a few is very difficult because each thing is unique and has its own ups and downs, but definitely, the highlight of my career to date has been Flying Fish; it’s a brand that I can really get behind, whose values I align with, and it’s nice to wake up every morning and have a reminder as to how to approach life which is when you are faced with these ‘what the Flying Fish?’ moments you just flow with it, it’s nice to just be able to work on a brand that you can also live the brand on a daily basis.

L: What are your responsibilities as Marketing Manager for Flying Fish?

Z: So, as Marketing Manager for Flying Fish, ultimately my job entails three different aspects.  The first is the brand itself and the creative component when you are trying to promote the brand or product: how do you go about facilitating this all the way from ideation to implementation and market, and managing all the different moving parts that require that.  The second is the business aspect and what I love about being a Marketing Manager is that you ultimately are a business manager.  You need to understand the legal implications of what you are doing, you need to understand the stock levels if you are trying to drive sales, do you have enough to meet demand?  You need to understand the financials: will you be able to reach your KPIs?  Will you be able to create a profitable brand?  And then, lastly, is the managing of the budget because as we all know, in life nothing comes for free so, how best can you use the resources you have available, whether it be funds or otherwise to really drive impact in the market, and how do you substantiate the decisions that you’ve made?  Those three points are what I have to do in a nutshell on a day-to-day basis.

L: Can you share with us what the campaign is all about?  

Z: The current campaign that we are currently flighting as Flying Fish is our Eat with It campaign.  The nature of this campaign is to promote responsible consumption of alcohol by encouraging consumers to always eat before they drink.  So, whenever people think Flying Fish, the hope is that they think of food and they line their stomach with a meal before they start to consume alcohol.

L: Typically, what is the process in executing such a campaign?

Z: With all campaigns, we have to start with what is the consumer truth, what is the consumer insight, and where does the opportunity lie to tap into that?  Where we go from there is a series of different approvals, a series of different stress tests to make sure that how we’ve understood what our consumers have told us they’re feeling, what the research has told us the consumers want, we have responded to in a manner that will resonate with them, because we don’t want to waste our consumer’s time with nonsense.  So, that’s where the process starts and ultimately, once you get through that first hurdle of making sure that your idea does respond to a consumer need or consumer want then it is about coordinating different moving parts: who’s going to produce the TV commercial, the radio?  How’s this going to look?  How are we going to express the brand? Once that second phase has been done, it’s then about the legal sign-off, are we compliant?  When we look at the legal considerations, implied considerations, we whittle down and change what we need to, do we still have something strong on our hands?  If yes, a campaign comes to light.  If not, it’s back to the drawing board.  With this campaign, in particular, it was slightly different because we undertook a world-first with our partnership with Uber Eats to launch the Flying Dish.  But, by and large, the processes would remain the same.

L: What were the specific that goals you aimed to achieve with this particular campaign?

Z: Ultimately, in this campaign what we aimed to achieve is an optic of consumers adopting the behavior of eating before they drink.  What our research showed us is that, while a lot of people are aware that they should never drink on an empty stomach;  The awareness of behaviour conversion isn’t really there, a lot of people do it, but not that many people actually act on this.  So ultimately, what we are trying to achieve with this campaign, is to get people to consume alcohol responsibly and the way we are tapping into this is through the ‘eat before you drink’ narrative, #eatwithit.  Whenever people think Flying Fish, think food and have a meal before you have a drink.

L: What were the key findings and challenges experienced when heading such a unique campaign?

Z: Personally, outside this campaign being unique and a lot of first challenges that came with that weren’t insurmountable.  I think that the toughest one was: as a jester brand, Flying Fish, we are a brand that’s about fun and light-hearted energy to occasions, how do we land a responsible drinking message in an authentically Flying Fish fashion?  We know that our consumers don’t like to be preached to, don’t like to be lectured to so, how do we drive this really serious message in as I said earlier, in an authentically Flying Fish way?  That was the biggest hurdle to overcome, I think that we’ve done it in a way that the brand can really, you know, stick its chest out for, hold its head up high, and that is true to the essence and energy of Flying Fish.


L: How do you ensure, from start to finish of the campaign that communication between you, the internal and external stakeholders remains true to the brand?

Z: This is about integration and organization. Ultimately, if you want to make sure that everyone involved is remaining true to the essence of the brand, remaining true to the positioning of the brand then, we need to have all parties; internal and external stakeholders involved from the start so that they understand the brand, they understand the journey we are trying to go on and, as we go on this journey, we are constantly checking-in, sense-checking, and insuring we’re aligned on what is best and that we are indeed bringing the Flying Fish narrative and brand to life in the way that we want to.  So again, it’s about making sure that everyone is on board from the get-go all the way to the finish line, and as we go on that journey, constantly aligning to make sure that no one derails or deviates from the path.

L: How do you think that this campaign best appeals to Flying Fish’s target audience?

Z: One of the key defining factors of the Flying Fish target audience is their love for life, and their love for flavour, so we wanted to consider how can we as a brand that has an amazing, playful product, further tap into that and meals is one of the ways we can do that.  People love the flavour in their food, they love bonding over a drink, but they also love bonding over a good meal, and so far, what we’ve seen of this campaign is that consumers have really responded strongly to it.  They’ve responded in a very positive manner, and I think this goes to show that if you listen to your consumers and you give them what they’ve been asking for, you will have a recipe for success. Credit must go to our consumers;  The menu on the flying dish, for example, was completely created by them, and by having an ear to the ground – being able to make sure that everything we do is informed by our consumers, we can make sure that the things we put out to the market will appeal to them.

L: What metrics are important to you in measuring the success of this campaign?

Z: This campaign is a unique campaign in so far as you would have your normal brand measurement metrics: are you selling enough product?  Do you have the right brand equity?  Are people engaging with your campaign?  Those are, you know, some of the high key factors that you want to have in a strong marketing campaign.  This campaign, in particular, it’s a smart drinking initiative.  Really, what you want to measure is the change in perception and change in behaviour.  So, what we did ahead of the campaign is: we head a pre-study looking at what are the metrics in terms of people’s behaviour when eating before they drink, perception of eating before they drink, and our hope is that by the time this campaign comes to an end we’ll see an uptick in both people knowing that they should always eat before they drink and more importantly, people acting on that knowledge in a positive fashion and always lining their stomach before they have some alcohol.

L: How do you stay updated on the trends and tools of your industry?

Z: We are very fortunate to have an amazing team who is always on the lookout for what is happening, what is going to be something that is fit for the future and prime for the brand to be ready for tomorrow and what is our consumer insight?  What do consumers look for? and what will ultimately be a trend and not a fad?  With regards to the latest tools, fortunately, we are living in the twenty-first century.  We always have access to the internet, to reports, and to new ways of thinking and doing things which allows us to be in the cut of innovation.

L: How do you rest during, and after such a demanding campaign?

Z: How do I relax during, after such a demanding campaign? I find that Flying Fish always helps me to get into my zone of course after I’ve had a meal and besides that, I’m an avid gamer.  I love gaming, and of course, my wife and son are the light of my life, and they’re always ready to help me relax and calm down.  Those three things are really {inaudible} get me through the intensity of the work.

L: Any last words of wisdom for our listeners out there who aspire to become successful Marketing managers?

Z: I would say that the trick in marketing is always to stay humble.  Assume you’re wrong.  Always assume you’re wrong, always take the stance.  Just because you like the idea doesn’t mean your consumers will and always, always ground yourself in what your consumers want not what you want, and what you’ll find increasing over time, is that you become more equipped, more primed, you will gather more knowledge as to how to ensure that your campaigns are successful and distinct as opposed to just say… that the tick-boxes or are potentially recipes for disaster.

L: We’d like to thank Zachary for taking the time to join us and share some info about this dope industry.  Thanks to all the listeners across the globe for tuning in to the very first episode of Buy Me A Koffee brought to you by Kaffein Magazine and I’m your host, Lethabo Ngakane.

This Podcast was transcribed by Tsheola Asavela click here to listen to the entire episode

Lethabo Ngakane is a writer, art director and entrepreneur. I love people, experiences and submerging myself in great content. My passion is to exchange and share emerging creative talent with the world.

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