If the marketing world was a jungle, Camelot's Jo Kenrick would be a chameleon, effortlessly adopting the colours of the brand she represents.
While working as marketing director at George, she only wore George clothing, and as head of regional marketing at Asda, she only shopped at Asda. Explaining away this almost obsessional devotion, she says: 'You have to believe in the product; if you don't, you're on a hiding to nothing.'
It's probably as well that Camelot's strict rules mean Kenrick is unable to live the National Lottery brand in quite the same way - staff are not allowed to buy tickets - and she says she can't offer any tips on how to win. 'But funnily enough, you aren't the first person to ask and I suspect you won't be the last.'
Kenrick, 36, resembles a chameleon in other ways too. She has shied away from the limelight, and while she comes across as down to earth and friendly, it is hard to get a sense of who she is outside her current role. Charlotte Blenkinsop, director of PR at CNBC Europe, who worked with Kenrick at Woolworths, says: 'Jo has had an incredibly successful career; she's driven and inspires respect in everyone she works with. But she doesn't let people in easily and it takes a while to earn her trust.'
One person Kenrick has earned the respect of is Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton, who spotted her potential when they both worked at Mars. He has since acted as her mentor, persuading her to make some arguably risky moves. These have included leaving a sales role at Walkers to take a marketing post at Asda, when she had no in-depth experience of marketing; and moving to house builder Wilson Connelly from Woolworths.
Leighton was unavailable for comment, but Kenrick's boss, Camelot commercial director Phil Smith, says her varied career was a key reason for her appointment.
'The lottery is like a packaged goods brand in its response to market stimulus, but other aspects make it more like a retailer. What made Jo's background so relevant is that she had packaged goods experience with brands such as Walkers and Pepsi, as well as a fantastic retail track record,' he says.
For Kenrick, the job was, in some ways, another huge gamble. Sales of the main Lotto draw were in decline, despite a high-profile relaunch, and controversy over comments made by chief executive Dianne Thompson about consumers' chances of winning, combined with the furore over lottery money going to asylum seekers, meant 2002 was an annus horribilis for Camelot. But Kenrick relished the challenge.
'I felt it presented an enormous opportunity to understand why the people who play are still playing, what it is that they love, why the people who stopped stop and how you can talk to people differently. …