Saanya Narang is Brand Manager at The Coca-Cola Company and studied Business Administration and Marketing at Kent Business School. We caught up to discover more about her path to success and the exciting projects she gets to work on for the super brand.
What was life like growing up?
Growing up we moved around a lot and one of the most impactful times of my life was going to high school in Istanbul.
I did the International Baccalaureate which was an intense 2 year program at Istanbul International Community School. It felt like I was living in a movie. Istanbul is a city that is full of mystery, culture and a juxtaposition of east and west. Life there was surreal, bizarre and wonderfully enriching.
Who were your inspirations?
My inspiration has always been my parents. My dad has had a brilliant career in marketing and I’ve seen him always chase his dreams and travel around the world with his job. His is extremely ambitious and hardworking but the thing that has always stood out to me is his humility and forward-thinking nature. Regardless of age or title, he relates to millennial’s and Gen Z’s and create a workplace culture to suit everyone.
My mum inspires me with her passion for learning and trying new things. Every time we move countries, she picks up new hobbies and is constantly growing her skillset. Whether that’s through art, becoming a fitness instructor, doing PR for the International Women’s Club, joining the board of international schools or doing every hike possible- she never ever stops learning.
What led you to the Uni of Kent?
I was living in Istanbul when I applied for uni and the University of Kent appealed to me because it was known as the European University so I was excited by the amount of diversity and experiences I’d have.
My course Business Administration and Marketing appealed to because it had a hands on approach to marketing but also taught the skills required to be a manager one day. When I visited the university for the first time, I fell in love. The grass was green, the bunnies were hopping around and the whole campus was just stunning. It felt safe and homely and it was the best decision of my life.
What are your fondest memories of Kent?
Definitely the people I met, especially my fiancé who I met outside Venue during Freshers week of our second year of Uni! Kent was a whirlwind 3 years and a blur of fond memories: from partying at Cuban every week, having the Katsu Curry at Dolce Vitta, walking around the beautiful campus, having group study sessions with Kent Business School students and late nights at the Templeman Library. Kent was amazing!
Did you make lifelong friends? Are you still in touch?
I made the best lifelong friend- my fiancé!
A few of my best friends are from Kent as well so I’m extremely blessed for the people Kent brought into my life.
Talk us through your path to working at Coca-Cola.
I did a Global Masters in Management with a concentration in Consumer Behaviour and Marketing at The London School of Economics.
After my masters I worked as a Digital Marketing Executive at Novotel as I wanted to gain exposure in digital marketing. I then worked as an Account Manager at Saatchi & Saatchi where my client was St.George Bank.
I really enjoyed working on a financial client that I decided my next move should be in a bank itself. I joined the Consumer Advertising team at Commonwealth Bank and had a great time working on a variety of campaigns across: Private Banking, Everyday Banking, Home Loans and Partnerships within the CBA app.
I now work as a Brand Manager at The Coca-Cola Company which is a bit of a marketing dream job!
How did your Kent education play a part in securing this job role?
My degree at Kent paved the foundations for my career in marketing as the course was extremely hands on and I worked on some really cool projects.
I loved all the group work which meant I made friends but also learnt stakeholder management skills. The plethora of marketing classes was also great because it gave me a good foundation and understanding.
I’m also glad I had classes like International Business as it aided in strategic thinking and understanding how businesses operate around the world- which is invaluable for someone like me.
Tell us about your job
I work as a Brand Manager on Coke at The Coca-Cola Company in Australia so I am the brand guardian for all things Coke in Australia.
I lead brand campaigns ATL & BTL for Australia, work on new product innovation, support the Bottler on their customer and shopper agenda as well as approve all consumer facing materials. It’s a big role but I love being able to work with a number of stakeholders across our operating unit, agency partners and the bottler.
The best part for me is definitely working on large brand campaigns; a recent one being our Meals 2023 Recipe for Magic campaign featuring Gigi Hadid that just went live.
I’m also leading the Coke Festive 2023 campaign for AU which is a huge bucket list moment for me as Coke and Christmas is simply iconic! Coke is also a partner for The FIFA Women’s World Cup so that has been a very exciting project to work on and has the whole office buzzing!
What is a typical day at Coca-Cola?
My typical day is busy however I’m grateful that I can work from home. I go into the office about twice a week or when I have in-person meetings. I wake up around 7.30am and start my day with an Oat Cappuccino.
Whether I’m in the office or at home I start my workday around 8.45am and catch-up on my emails before my meetings start. Most days I have meetings throughout the day but try and block out time for “desk time” which is when I can write my briefs and go through my emails.
I also try and make time for a quick lunch break to stretch and refresh for the second half of the day. Around 3pm I need a Diet Coke to keep me going till the end of the day! I try and finish work by 6pm but I normally end up online later on in the evening again (it’s a habit I’m trying to break!) I workout in the evening and then my second job starts- wedding planning!
What would you say to people about to start at KBS?
Put yourself out there to all opportunities! Whether it is nights out, coffee dates with a new friend, study sessions, society mixers, career fairs or just attending classes.
The friends you make along the way make university so much fun and also help you immensely. The KBS friends I made were amazing and my biggest support throughout uni. We all worked hard together to make it through and it wasn’t about competition but to help us succeed.
If you’re creative and have great communication skills, then a career in Marketing is for you.
Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), our Marketing course will help you to develop an understanding of cutting edge theory and industry-relevant practical skills in handling social media, web material, advertising, and broader brand development.