PROFILE: Brand Renovator - Katherine Rose, Marketing Planning Director, BBC Magazines

Marketing, February 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

PROFILE: Brand Renovator - Katherine Rose, Marketing Planning Director, BBC Magazines


If there is one message to consumer publishers as the latest ABCs are unveiled, it is 'Be very afraid'. For in the uninspiring brown buildings of BBC Worldwide, in the shadow of the White City flyover, resides a secret weapon. Her name is Katherine Rose and she is the new marketing planning director for BBC Magazines.

Despite a low profile with the trade press, Rose's CV would have recruitment consultants slavering at the mouth. Her career is a roll call of big FMCG companies, including Sara Lee, Cadbury Trebor Bassett and Heinz, as well as baby foods specialist Milupa.

So why should competitors be concerned? Rose says: 'The thing I've always been able to do is go into businesses that are static or not performing and put together a plan, short term or medium term, to turn it around. Virtually every business I've worked in, I've turned around.'

This is by no means an empty claim. At Cadbury, where she was product manager on Cadbury's Eclairs, Rose led a relaunch aimed at shifting it away from a commodity product back to its 'Cadburyness'. A brand that had been in decline for five years grew 10% in the year following the revamp. At Heinz, as marketing manager in charge of infant formula, she grew share for Farley's Baby Milk from 10% to 17%.

But there is no need to just take Rose's word about her achievements; three people who have worked with her describe her as 'super bright'.

And Paul Cousins, director of strategic consultancy Catalyst Marketing, who has worked with her at BBC Worldwide, describes her as 'awesomely professional'. He adds: 'She is one the best strategic marketers I've come across. She is incredibly decisive, very insightful and relentless in her attention to detail.'

If this description makes her appear a touch dry, former Radio Times marketing director Simon Clarkson adds: 'She's perceived as having a hard exterior, but she cares a lot, particularly about her team.'

Rose, 38, moved from packaged goods to magazines three years ago. While less experienced marketers may have been daunted by such a dramatic change of scene, Rose's solid FMCG marketing background, and in particular her time at Heinz, gave her the necessary confidence that she could add value to the publishing world.

It was in her role as marketing director for the BBC's lifestyle titles, and specifically on BBC Good Homes, that Rose was able to make a measurable difference. The homes market had been in decline for the past two years and BBC Good Homes had fallen in line with the market. A key problem was the magazine's lack of differentiation from other mid-market homes titles.

Rose and her team carried out extensive research of the wider homes market and conducted segmentation of the reader base for BBC Good Homes. …

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