Interview with Claire Harrison-Church
Claire Harrison-Church is an award-winning marketer who excels in getting quickly to customer focused business strategies and in setting high bar for creative execution. Claire’s approach is to challenge the norm whilst building strong relationships to take people with her and to inspire her team to do the same.
Claire joined ASDA as VP Marketing overseeing a marketing budget of £160m and team of 130. Claire’s focus on putting customers at the heart of her thinking resulted in her being asked to be VP Customer Proposition & Planning in which she succeeded in getting Exec sign off of a new 3 year customer strategy covering pricing, customer experience, range and online.
Claire is a keen advocate of career development for women, she is a member of Women in Advertising and Communications London (WACL). And is also now a NED for Marketing Edinburgh, helping to promote Edinburgh as a great city to live, work, study and visit.
You’ve got some fantastic companies on your CV Claire. KFC, Sainsbury’s, Boots, Unilever and ASDA. What have been the highlights for you?
I loved learning the fundamentals of marketing at Unilever. Following Unilever, a big highlight for me was joining KFC and helping transform the brand in every aspect; advertising (soul food campaign), store design, new products. Then at Boots I had real affinity for the customers, so developing advertising like ‘Here come the Girls‘ campaign was a real highlight as was learning about 121 marketing through Boots advantage card. And finally, I have bored my friends many times talking about supermarkets, but I’m really proud of my time at Sainsbury’s – developing new strategy 'Live well for less’, helping focus on own brand and price through brand match price comparison.
What do you see as being important for marketers and businesses today?
Businesses need to focus on their customers, that’s really obvious, but sometimes hard to balance with delivering shareholder returns, at least in the short term. For marketers it's important that they help drive a customer agenda within a business but are also commercially astute so can also help deliver the P&L. What I do think marketers are innately good at, is looking at opportunities to drive top line growth. What they mustn’t be seen as is simply the people who decide how to spend the marketing budget.