Anna Chokina is actually a worldwide marketer, having labored for Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal and PepsiCo across Russia, the UK and the US.
She was born and raised in Moscow and for the first three years of her profession labored in direct advertising. Nevertheless, she soon realised she needed to be “part of the decision-making process” and so decided to move client-side in 2003.
Having never labored for brands before, Chokina felt she wanted “a proper education in marketing to help me transition”, so took a yr out and moved to the US to enrol in business faculty.
After graduating, Chokina spent the subsequent decade at P&G. She started out in Russia working on two female care manufacturers, before looking for a transfer to the US when her husband was relocated, where she took on the $500m Tampax model. Chokina then moved to London for the first time the place she swapped strategy for techniques to take on a client advertising position, which she says was surprisingly rewarding.
After two years in London, Chokina went on maternity depart together with her first youngster. On returning she was provided the newly created position of enterprise leader for the company’s pet care business. She describes the position as “a mini general manager for any given category but without the bottom line”.
Chokina had asked her supervisor at the time if she might come again 4 days every week but was informed she couldn’t. Whereas she says she liked her 10 years at P&G and “doesn’t have a bad word to say about the company”, this was the one occasion she felt annoyed. “Now, knowing what the job was, I would have managed to do it four days a week and it would have been a better choice for me, at least for the first six months after coming back from maternity leave,” she says.
After proving herself in pet care, Chokina was moved to feminine care and healthcare – one among P&G’s largest classes. “It was the same role and scope but the business was about 20 times bigger,” she says. P&G’s female care business had a 70% market share and was a sizeable part of P&G’s general business so it meant she acquired a whole lot of senior administration attention. One advantage of that was her workforce was made up of the highest expertise, however this introduced with it a “different dynamic”.
“It stretched me as a manager because I had to find ways of growing these amazing, capable people and help them find new challenges to make their work exciting, so it was a very different managerial challenge. But the business challenges were also greater and there was more scrutiny from top management. It taught me to work differently and to lead by influencing not by doing.”
Chokina left P&G after 10 years as she felt there was no scope for promotion to the subsequent degree, which would have been advertising director. She was approached by PepsiCo and ended up shifting back to Russia to take on the advertising director position for its snacks business. Her husband was already working between London and Moscow they usually decided it will be good experience for their son to experience the tradition.
Nevertheless, while the transition from P&G to PepsiCo was clean, she realised she was “too comfortable”.
“Because the business leader positions at P&G were so big it wasn’t the promotion I was expecting from a capability standpoint. It wasn’t difficult or stretching enough for me. I wasn’t learning as much,” she says.
After almost 5 years in Russia, Chokina determined to maneuver again to the UK as she realised she not “shared the same values as my country”.
Regardless of being a well-travelled marketer working for a few of the world’s largest brands, Chokina had yet to take on a very international position. So when the chance at Avon came up she jumped on the probability to manage a worldwide group for the primary time, all the more thrilling, she says, as the model appears to “bring the business model into the 21st century”.
First step on the ladder
Procter & Gamble, assistant model supervisor, Discreet Japanese Europe, 2003 – 2004
“I was very fortunate to have one of the best training you may get in advertising at that exact time. I feel these days digitally-led corporations and small companies [might have something different to offer] but at the time it was the perfect you can get. I began in Moscow as an assistant brand supervisor on one of the femcare products and liked it.
“But then my husband needed to move to New York to work with Deutsche Financial institution. I advised them, I’m very sorry, I really like P&G however I have to resign as a result of I want to move to the US for private reasons. But they stated why don’t you think about a few of the groups stateside? I was amazed because I’d solely been on the company for a yr and I felt that was simply a huge step on their half to have such faith in me and supply me something like this.
Creating new merchandise
P&G, senior assistant model supervisor, Tampax North America, 2004 – 2006
“My job was to steer on two major innovations for the brand. It was my first experience of improvement from zero to launch: so the idea, then the product, then the advertising.
“Being in Cincinnati where P&G’s global headquarters is also allowed me to tap into some of the best talent and some of the best coaches and mentors and capabilities the company had. But having done it for three years it was a bit exhausting having to travel from Cincinnati to New York every weekend, so both myself and husband decided to look for cities where both Deutsche Bank and P&G had offices and London was one option.”
P&G, customer group advertising supervisor, 2006 – 2008
“I went from the upstream all the best way to the downstream, and I keep in mind considering: I really like my job in Cinncinnati – it’s so strategic, so superb – how fascinating can shopper advertising be? It’s just tactical work with retailers, it’s not going to be fun. However I was so mistaken. I actually beloved it. Once you develop a brand new talent that you simply didn’t assume you even wanted, that’s when it’s probably the most rewarding.
“It was sensible business experience for me. It’s as business as advertising ever will get. I was working with the gross sales groups on business plans for the retailers, serving to to translate them into a win, both for us but in addition for the retailers.
A new challenge
P&G, business chief, pet care UK, 2008-2010
“[After being on maternity leave] I was asked to return again on pet care, which was a tiny class in P&G rankings, however the job was very massive.
“We had a tiny share in the class, a three% share in the grocery channel and 15% in the speciality channel, so we have been just sandwiched between Nestlé and Mars. The category had been declining for five years straight and since it was a smaller class for P&G, talent-wise I didn’t have the high flyers in my group, to be trustworthy.
Whenever you develop a new talent that you simply didn’t assume you even needed, that’s when advertising is probably the most rewarding.
“We decided we were going to be ruthless; we killed all of the initiatives except for two things, one was a specific campaign for cat food business IAMs and the other was a promotional strategy change from half price events to save a third. We were smart, and focused on these two key drivers. We put all the money there and it started to work. For the first time in five years we managed to grow share, so that was just brilliant. It was very difficult but very rewarding.”
P&G, enterprise leader, femcare and personal healthcare UK, 2010 – 2013
“In femcare we had 70% market share so the stakes have been excessive. There was one competitor with a 15% market share, which ran a half-price event in the course of the recession in 2010, which we needed to match. But we, in fact, needed to run half worth on our 70% share, so not solely did it value us lots it additionally devalued the class. The class began to decline in value phrases and so retailers, rightly, got here to us and stated, ‘well P&G, you’re market leaders on this class, what are you going to do?’
“We developed quite an elaborate technique to deal with this concern. We launched a tier-three model that was designed to precisely handle the needs of the shoppers who purchased the competitor model. We tried to know the primary profit shoppers care about, and designed a product that beat the competitors on that specific benefit however then we stripped out every part else.
“Then commercially, we determined to match what other manufacturers have been doing – even when they did 75% off we might match it. Revenue clever we improved our place and our market share grew to 71% .
A clean transition
PepsiCo, advertising director, snacks, 2013 – 2014
“Russia is a large market for PepsiCo, it’s truly greater than the UK, and the snack portfolio is value $800m. I assumed, ‘this is my dream job, I’m going again to Moscow I’m going to see my mum and this is also a promotion’. Then I found I was pregnant, so before accepting I had a discussion with my hiring supervisor and he stated, ‘do you know what, we want you for the long run so join now, go have your baby and then come back’. It made me assume very highly of PepsiCo as an organization and undoubtedly increased my loyalty.
“I joined Pepsi and relocated to Moscow and it was just a very comfortable transition from P&G. The corporate culture was very welcoming. Talent-wise, the Pepsi team was brilliant, my team in PepsiCo Russia was just as talented as P&G, although maybe a little less developed. In Pepsi they invest more in training the higher you go as opposed to P&G where you get the most training when you’re at the bottom.”
Execution beats technique
L’Oréal, basic supervisor, L’Oréal Paris, 2014 – 2018
“L’Oréal could be very conscious that its corporate tradition is totally different and consequently they don’t put some of their new hires in key positions in the job from day one. For 3 months I was shadowing a colleague in Italy, then Germany, then I used to be doing store checks in regional cities – no one knew I might be becoming a member of.
“I actually enjoyed working in magnificence, it’s a very totally different enterprise model to P&G and Pepsi nevertheless it expanded my administration acumen because coming from P&G you understand how to launch a brand, easy methods to grow market share, what must be completed to win out there place, but truly L’Oréal does it utterly in a different way and generally it wins over P&G.
“My key learning was execution beats strategy in beauty care.”
First international position
Avon, vice-president, international face care and personal care, 2018 – current
“Through the recruitment process I met Jonathan Myers, our chief operating officer, and CEO Jan Zijderveld who joined from Unilever just over a yr in the past. They shared the brand new technique and vision for Avon to grow to be the way forward for social selling with me and I used to be simply very energised by it.
“I’ve worked a bit of bit on turnaround tasks but not to this scale. The size is simply mind-blowing. I’m being very mild with the group as a result of individuals are totally different with how they handle change.
“I would like for Avon to become a place for talent. I would like for people to want to come and work for Avon marketing because they see cool things happening from us, so that’s another big focus area for me.”
Anna Chokina’s CV
vice-president, international face care and private care
basic manager, L’Oreal Paris – Russia
advertising director, snacks – Russia
Procter & Gamble
business leader, femcare and personal care UK
Procter & Gamble
business chief, pet care UK
Procter & Gamble
buyer workforce advertising supervisor – Sainsbury’s, Superdrug, Boots – UK
Procter & Gamble
senior assistant brand manager, Tampax – North America
Procter & Gamble
assistant model manager, discreet – Japanese Europe
EURO RSCG KLP
account director, Bounty Worldwide