This week we chatted to Michael Benson, Marketing Director of Church & Dwight UK Ltd, a world leader in household and personal care products. Founded in 1846, they have operations globally and are listed in the S&P 500.
Michael is an accomplished marketing director with over 25 years’ first class global brand building experience, working both client and agency side for companies including Unilever, Diageo, Interbrand and now Church & Dwight.
He is passionate about brand building and has extensive international experience successfully delivering growth for consumer brands in UK, Europe, North America and Asia.
Why is CEW membership important to you?
It’s a source of great inspiration and education. There are so many entrepreneurs and creatives in our industry, and CEW acts as a networking hub to help foster strong connections between beauty professionals, executives and brands. It’s an impressive network that also supports, connects and nurtures the emerging talent within our industry.
What is the most exciting aspect of your current role?
I’m lucky to cover such a breadth of brands in beauty and personal care. Each one is distinct and has different challenges; no conversation is ever the same so I’m extremely lucky to work across such a varied and exciting portfolio. I’m always motivated by the fresh challenges and ideas that come from our brands, as it drives increased creativity and excitement within our teams.
What are you most excited about for your business in the next twelve months?
We have a game-changing new product that is launching in the next 12 months, in one of our categories. I’m hugely excited as it’s going to cause a stir and re-imagine beauty routines. We’re committed to providing products consumers rely on, so innovation is of paramount importance so we can continue to satisfy our customer’s needs.
What do you feel is the most important quality for someone to possess in order you have a successful career?
Passion is an essential ingredient to having a successful career. You must love the type of work you do and be over-enthusiastic about it, especially at the beginning. Be a geek about it! You’ll then find it’s fun as you develop and learn, which helps you progress successfully, and your work will become more rewarding.
How important has mentorship been in your career journey?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had some great mentors at various touchpoints of my career. They’re an integral part of your professional development as they help you see things about yourself and your business, in a different way. You can learn from their past challenges and mistakes which will allow you to gain a fresh perspective on matters. The knowledge and experience they impart also help you navigate career choices.
From your perspective, what is the biggest challenge for the beauty industry in the next two years?
Previously, I would have said it was creating truly sustainable (in the environmental sense) products and business models, but now it is the ‘cost of living’ crisis that will be with us longer than we think and will make a significant impact on our industry. Consumers will invest in fewer luxuries, so many brands will be affected and suffer. Brands and services will need to reframe the value they offer if they want consumers to part with their hard-earned cash.
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