Associate director for brand and marketing communications
Dilraj Athwal is the associate director for brand, marketing and communications at EY, which he joined after stints at JOE Media and Samsung. He kickstarted his career as a market analyst at Kantar, and spent almost seven years working across the Lynx brand at Unilever.
Described as innovative by his nominator, Athwal is credited with helping shift how the B2B giant EY is perceived for its advanced tech capabilities.
This includes AI, which is something Athwal is embracing in his work and feels is the biggest opportunity for marketers. “Regardless of the organisation’s size and access to resource and budget, AI has the potential to have a sizeable impact on a brand’s operations and ultimately performance if used correctly,” he tells Marketing Week.
Marketing has “evolved significantly” since he started his career 15 years ago, says Athwal, notably the influence of social media and data. “Data has always had a role in my career but there has been a clear transition from data and insights being used largely by the ‘consumer insights’ teams in the marketing department to data being a large part of decision making across the mix,” he says.
Beyond the regular issues of “battling for budget” and resources, Athwal thinks one of the biggest challenges facing marketers is sustainability. “How will marketing contribute to positive change amongst consumers to adapt from non-sustainable practices?” he asks.
“Having worked very closely with AI and in the emerging technologies space over the past year or so, there are certainly exciting times ahead for marketers,” he says. But while the growth of AI is something Athwal is excited by, he notes it will also pose a challenge for marketers, as he questions how organisations will implement it to drive brand performance and growth ahead of their competitors, while also remaining “ethical and responsible”.
His advice for those weighing up a career in marketing? “Do it!”
“The industry is multifaceted and not just about the creative side. Marketing has many layers, be it creative, analytical or strategic,” he says. “A career in marketing is rewarding regardless of choosing B2B or B2C.”
Marketers shouldn’t overcomplicate things, urges Athwal, who says the first step to a successful career in marketing is taking the time to understand the brand, the end user and the product in depth. “Your communications strategy, creative execution and media channels will be all the better for it.”
"The industry is multifaceted and not
just about the creative side, marketing has many layers be it creative, analytical or strategic."