Marketing is a way to get your customers attention, but good branding is a way to keep their attention and create a strong identity for your organisation. Who knows better how to do both, than no other than Together Housing’s very own, Leah Smith, Marketing and Branding Manager! With a passion for Marketing from a young age, Leah took a winding route to become Together Housing’s Marketing expert and she’s glad she persevered.

Below Leah answers question on her route to working at Together Housing and the importance of marketing and branding in an organisation:

Did you go university and what qualifications do you have to have to work in Marketing and Branding?

I studied an English degree at university (with an emphasis on language, linguistics and professional writing). After uni, I studied practical courses in creative media and web design as well as a Diploma in Professional Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)

You don’t need a degree, but the CIM is the most recognised and respected industry qualification and time served in the industry goes a long way.

What advice would you give to someone interested in Marketing and Branding?

Go for it! There are lots of career paths to get into marketing, whatever your learning style or previous experience! There are so many career routes to get into marketing. The main thing you need is passion and flair.

You could start with an apprenticeship, getting real life experience as you learn the principles and theories of marketing. Many people start with a specific talent such as graphic design, copywriting or web design and then broaden their knowledge and skills to become a senior marketer. There are degrees specifically in marketing, but you can also study other relevant subjects such as business studies or the humanities which give you a relevant knowledge base and transferable skills.

Why do you work in this area?

Marketing is such an incredibly rewarding career. You are the cheerleaders for your organisation and quite often the reason people have heard of it or do business with it. Marketing is constantly innovating, so there is a wealth of opportunities to use your creative skills in new, exciting ways.

How long have you been in this line of work?

I started as an administrator in a webmaster team 18 years ago and never looked back!

How would you describe your job?

I always say I have the best job in the organisation. I oversee all the brands which sit within Together Housing Group, ensuring they resonate with the target audience and ensuring the brand guidelines are adhered to. I have the exciting responsibility for the advertising and promotion of the companies and brands within the Group, including a varied range of marketing activities.

Why is your role important to Together Housing?

The marketing team play a vital role in brand guardianship; making sure everything which has our logo on from our letters and leaflets to our vans, to our websites, are consistent, visually appealing and in the right tone of voice for our customers and stakeholders. We also have the responsibility for raising awareness of who we are and what we do, advertising our homes and services to attract new and retain existing customers.

How long have you worked at THG? What’s the best thing about working at THG?

I’ve worked at Together Housing for 6½ years. The best thing is that my role and team are respected and trusted for their knowledge and expertise. As a marketer, you have to love the organisation you work for and the products or services you provide. Otherwise, how could you promote and celebrate it with integrity?!

What was your first job?

My first ever jobs were when I was studying my A Levels I did various bits of retail and bar work. My first full time job was working at a local college, writing leaflets to promote all of their courses.

Tell us a little bit about your career history? What kinds of roles did you take that helped you get this job?

I started my career working in colleges in the webmaster and marketing teams, progressing up through the ranks over 18 years. This gave me a good grounding in all areas of marketing which was solidified by my CIM qualification. I then moved to work as marketing manager for a university which was intense but gave my career the lift I needed to then join Together Housing as Marketing and Brand Manager. I always think it is important for managers to have an understanding of what they are asking of their team, so having worked in web design, graphic design, media buying and copywriting over the years has given me that insight.

What do you like and/or dislike about your job?

Marketing gets me out of bed in the morning, I love what I do, and I really believe in the sector we work in. The main thing I dislike is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes!

What is your career highlight?

The first time I really felt amazing was watching a TV advert I had worked on being screened on Sky Sports at half time of a premier league decider game.  Just knowing all those eyes were viewing my hard work felt out of this world.

My proudest career highlight was the rebrand of five housing associations into Together Housing back in 2017. Seeing the brand identity being built from the ground up and launched to the public was fantastic and I still get pangs of pride when I see our liveried vans driving round now with the branding we developed.

If you didn’t work in Marketing, what would you be doing?

I love helping people to be happy and well – so I’d possibly work in a mental wellbeing role.