Andrew Cook

Andrew Cook

University of Wollongong
Assistant Brand Manager
Andrew studied Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Marketing) at University of Wollongong

What's your job about?

Yates is a market leading garden and lawn care marketer and manufacturer, as part of that, my role manages the lawn care category.

With Yates, I manage a portfolio of brands in the lawn care category, whereby essentially manage it as a business, monitoring sales and trends, identify growth through NPD and sales opportunities while defining the direction for the numerous lawn care brands under my portfolio. A single week roughly includes meetings with a dedicated lawn technical team regarding NPD, sales analysis to track sales out of Bunnings, monitoring stock levels and working on communication plans across the lawn brands.

In short, I’m in charge of a mini business, managing margins and profits, marketing spend with a focus on how to grow brands and sales. There is also lots of fun and interesting projects like packaging innovation and development that can be real game changers.

What's your background?

I grew up in Oatley, a suburb in Southern Sydney located on the Georges Rivers. It’s a quant suburb with a large beautiful park covered in bushland, where I take my dogs for walks and play soccer regularly. I went to High School across the river, at Jannali High which I thoroughly enjoyed. From there, I attended the University of Wollongong, where I started my degree in Commerce. I thoroughly enjoyed Marketing and knew I wanted to take that direction, though I’ve always been relatively good with numbers so picked up Accounting as second major.

During my time at University, I started casual work at a local Hotel as a glassier. Over the years studying, I worked my way up from glassier to bar attendant, to bar supervisor, then making my way to Hotel Manager. I thoroughly enjoyed this role, as it really broadened my experience and assisted me to deal with difficult situations. It also put part of my studies into real life context.

After finishing university and working for several years, I decided it time to search for a “real job” and put my years of study into practice.  I found a graduate opportunity for DuluxGroup and after several interviews and a category synopsis presentation on paint rollers, I found myself employed with DuluxGroup! I’ve currently been with DuluxGroup, for just under three years and look forward to many more.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, I believe someone with a different background could work in marketing. I believe you just need to show passion for your category (brands) to gain understanding of the market you work in, while learning to manage your brands and products as a mini business. With Marketing you need to be open minded and consumer focussed, though that can be gained through experience and insights.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Part of my job that I love, is reviewing data and market/category trends and changes to find insights and gain understanding of consumer behaviour. I find it fascinating as market trends and consumer behaviour are forever shifting. Out of this also comes several exciting projects regarding new products, packaging innovation or format changes which we can develop to excite the customer and consumer.

What are the limitations of your job?

One limitation of my role is that is never enough data you can have. To understand sales data and be across the profit mix of your brands, you have to have a keen eye for numbers. Numbers, budgets, analysis make up a large part of my marketing role. Though this does allow you to make educated decisions, which is a positive!

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

Three pieces of advice for my younger self, if I were still studying...

  1. Read up on companies and their graduate programs earlier. I left this too late for most companies and was very fortunate to find an opportunity at DuluxGroup. I’d suggest searching earlier to find out what opportunities and roles exist, as well as making connections early.
  2. Read up on real life case studies, they are invaluable for learning and allow you to imagine the theory in practice. My experience with this was very limited to the text book case studies, though the resources at University are endless, go nuts and search to enhance your learning, making sound points/arguments in essays/exams.
  3. Make time to chat to tutors and lecturers, even for five minutes, speaking one on one, they are able to pass on information that can help elaborate points or theories that may otherwise take time to understand in a textbook.