Senior brand and advertising manager
Nerissa Abrahams joined mobile network Giffgaff nearly five years ago as social media manager after stints early on in her career at children’s retailer JoJo Maman Bebe and natural healthcare brand Nelsons. She has quickly worked her way up, taking on her current role as Giffgaff’s senior brand and advertising manager last December.
Over the past year Abrahams has played an important role in repositioning and relaunching Giffgaff, which helped the brand grow awareness, traffic and market share in a market dominated by bigger-spending rivals. She also helped secure buy-in from key senior stakeholders for the new brand strategy and advertising ideas.
She has also been heavily involved in developing Giffgaff’s influencer programme, which achieves engagement rates higher than the category average, resulting in a huge volume of people engaging with the brand without spending big on media.
Abrahams is a big advocate for putting customers at the heart of everything she does and while she admits it can be a challenge staying on top of their ever-evolving needs and keeping up with the fast-paced nature of the industry, it’s also what makes a career in marketing so exciting, she says.
“The world of marketing changes daily, and so does what people want, so trying to always be ahead of the game isn’t easy,” she explains. “Having said that, it does mean the job never gets boring as you’re always learning.”
Another challenge marketers must contend with, especially given the current economic climate, is budget cuts, but Abrahams suggests this shouldn’t always be seen as a negative. “I truly believe this is where real creativity, curiosity and grit play a huge role. If you have an idea, say it, and don’t be afraid to take risks. I often find the best results stem from not playing it safe.”
While she says traditional media is still a “massive part of the puzzle”, she believes digital channels such as social media have “completely shifted the game” since she began her career, which has led to marketing overall becoming more “transparent and honest”.
Honesty and the need to “hold on to your true self” is also important from a personal perspective, Abrahams says. “The marketing industry doesn’t need a whole load of like-minded ‘samey’ individuals, it needs way more diversity and people from all walks of life to bring real personable marketing campaigns that truly reflect the audiences we are targeting,” she adds.
Abrahams is a key member of Giffgaff’s DE&I squad, lead at the Genie ‘School of’ Programme and a mentor for the Girls Network, which encourages girls from the least advantaged communities.
She has a keen eye for talent and since taking on a management role at Giffgaff has identified underutilised team members from elsewhere in the business and transferred them to the brand team, as well as developing training and onboarding processes to ensure their effective integration.
"The marketing industry doesn’t need a whole load of like-minded ‘samey’ individuals, it needs way more diversity and people from all walks of life."