Lifestyle

Branded - Suwannee Stewart

Senior Brand Manager, Grace Foods and Services

Thursday, February 07, 2013    

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How did you land the job?

I was previously the trade marketing manager (TMM) before the position for senior brand manager opened up in Grace Foods & Services Company. I had been the TMM for five years. In this position, I initiated the formation of a unit which later became known as the Trade Marketing Unit (TMU) and managed a large promotions arm of the company. However, I had always wanted the opportunity to get into brand management in a company like Grace Foods with exposure to dominant market leaders and brands with years behind its belt. Many people like marketing (and especially brand management) because they think it's easy and everyone can do it... I like it for just the opposite! I believe that brand management is a seriously challenging job, the kind of job that doesn't make you want to go into another department when you're done... Because you give your all and then some! Grace, the "good food people", offered me just that... the opportunity to represent powerhouse brands and gain much exposure... and I accepted, gracefully.

How long have you been in the job?

I assumed that portfolio in August 2011 representing market leaders such as Grace Cock Soup, Grace Frankfurters and Grace Ham, as well as other big brands including Grace Canned Beans and Vegetables. A year-and-a-half later, and I'm still wowed by my brands. Every day I get the opportunity to watch and learn from consumers, suppliers, friends and family who teach me new ways to use my products... always inspiring me to search for even better ways to present value-added offerings to those who may be in search of convenience or value, or just a great-tasting Christmas ham! Since this year, another powerhouse brand was added to the complement of my portfolio, Grace Vienna. I am excited at exploring innovative ways to market this brand and leverage our relationship with Grace Brand Ambassador Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce (who children now openly refer our Viennas to)

What's great about your job?

Grace people. There's good and bad in everyone. But at the heart of it all, I think we just want to be the best we can be. Some of us are able to reach far, some are okay where they are. I love that overall Grace people have a definite resilience about them... strength of character... determination of steel. We get the job done and we do it well. We are known for being a strong partner and solid sponsor. We are loved for our support of Jamaica, and Jamaican-ness. Working with Grace people is the single greatest part of working at Grace Foods. I have a deep respect for the Marketing team and I cannot do what I do without the support we give each other.

Tell us something we might not know about the Grace brands you represent?

Grace Cock Soup was born out of an innovation over 25 years ago by Keith Jones in our Grace Foods Processors (Canning) plant. The name "Cock Soup" was not so well accepted at that time, given the more conservative culture which existed in Jamaica in the '80s. However, the name was born out of the fact that traditionally soup was made from the meat of a rooster on Saturdays and as the "Cock" was dubbed the informal name of the rooster, it stuck with the soup. Over time, the innuendos and jokes about our Saturday soup diminished until now Grace Foods has become the market leader in a recipe for Cock Soup. Other companies have tried to follow suit but they just can't quite get our formulation mapped. Since then, we've innovated and introduced a whole range, adding the latest Grace Mannish Water, Vegetable Soup and Pepper Pot Soup to the line. Additionally, Grace is the only company to have the variety of frankfurters, sliced meats and ham types that we do! No other company boasts this kind of variety. We offer a great package from which the consumer can choose (literally!) - a type of frankfurter every day of the week and still not be out of options. From chicken to pork to turkey, smoked to jumbo to regular, we have you covered. And don't forget the bologna, salami, sliced ham or sandwich slices to make the quick sandwiches for the kids for school. Lastly, if you're at a match or a game, you want to try a cup of Grace Cock Soup and a Grace jumbo hotdog, topped with Grace Ketchup, perfect combination to keep you going while sporting!

Why are Grace products attractive options for consumers?

Our products are strong, dominant brands that bring value to the consumer. Grace indeed "brings good taste to life". The best in quality by global standards, whether our products are sourced in Jamaica or overseas, Grace goes the extra mile to guarantee 100% goodness in all we offer to you. You feel good too when you know that you are giving back because at Grace we serve our country through our Foundation and outreach and community activities, which are at the core of what we are about, touching the lives of many Jamaicans. We give livelihood to our farmers, our local factories, and our people at home.

Where can consumers find out more about your brands?

Please visit our website at www.gracefoods.com in the Caribbean or the United States; www.gracefoods.ca in Canada; www.gracefoods.co.uk in the United Kingdom. Our websites are there to provide you with all you need to know about who we are and what we do, whether you are home or abroad. You can also follow us/talk to us on Facebook at facebook.com/gracefoods; For Soups follow us at Facebook.com/gracesoups; For Grace franks and meats, follows us at facebook.com/Gracefranksandmeats. As for the latest in the world of Vienna is our kids' website just launched which you can visit at www.vinniekidsclub.com to play games and have fun while learning interesting trivia. If you require further information, feel free to call our offices at 922-3440-9.

WIN! WIN! WIN!

Suwannee Stewart, senior brand manager, Grace Foods and Services has six gift baskets to give away to six lucky Thursday Life readers.

Each basket has packets of Grace Cock Soup, Grace Mannish Water, Grace Gungo Peas, Grace Canned Baked Beans, Grace Ketchup, Grace Chicken Chunks, Grace Luncheon Meats and Grace Vienna Sausages.

To win, simply answer the following question:

Who developed the concept for Grace Cock Soup?

The first six Thursday Life readers to send the correct answer by e-mail to: marketingpromotion@jamaicaobserver.com by noon tomorrow, Friday, February 8, 2013 will win a gift basket from Lascelles Wines and Spirits.

Please include your complete name, occuption and contact number.

Winners MUST come in to accept their prize on the afternoon advised.

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