Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Firebrand of a Foodie - Paul Davies, Brand Director, Sharwood's

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Firebrand of a Foodie - Paul Davies, Brand Director, Sharwood's

Article excerpt

Not many marketers would make a decision without being 100% sure of all the facts. For such a marketer to operate within a company traditionally known for embracing consensus makes Paul Davies something of an anomaly.

However, Sharwood's impatient brand director says he needs clarity. 'I don't like grey and I hate indecision. You either do this or you do that - the bit in the middle, I'm not interested in. I prefer to make a decision that is 80% right rather than wait.'

Such a stance might portray the 34-year-old as a loose cannon, but it works: his unorthodox approach has seen Sharwood's expand beyond the security of ambient sauces to gain listings in the chiller cabinet and the snacking sector. And he's not finished yet. 'There is still a lot to do in terms of really taking Sharwood's effectively back to where it was as a more foodie proposition,' he says.

The brand has been around since 1889 and 'was massively innovative and leading-edge'. Plans for the next phase of growth involve 'trying to get ahead of ourselves. It's all about challenging consumers to try something different. At the moment we are exploring lots of Thai products and wondering if Japanese is the next wave of cuisine.'

Davies' enthusiasm is demonstrated by his inability to finish sentences as he is already talking about the next thing on his mind. With his big smile and expansive gestures, it is easy to see how the Welshman earned the nickname Shrek.

However, beneath the animated exterior lies a deep thinker. The 20-minute walk home to his wife and eight-month-old baby allows him to ponder the day's events. Colleagues also describe him as 'the academic'. He gained a distinction in his MBA 'because I wanted to do the best I could'.

Topmost on his mind is doing things differently. 'I think a lot and everything seems pretty clear to me - which could make me a little dogmatic at times,' he admits. But it is this extensive thinking that lays the foundation for his 'huge attention to detail', notes Dairy Crest foods division marketing director and former colleague Richard Tolley.

This focus on the smaller things is as important to Davies as a major launch into a new category. 'Just tweaking the packaging can make a massive difference,' he says. …

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