Marketing Management During COVID-19 – Claire Hamblion

In this edition of ‘McFelder Meets…’ we caught up with the wonderful Claire Hamblion to talk about 2020’s unexpected silver linings, marketing management during COVID-19, and (of course) translation…

Hi Claire, thanks for chatting with us. For those who don’t know what keeps a Marketing Manager at Supreme Petfoods busy, can you tell us a bit about your role and responsibilities?

Well, my role covers everything and anything; brand management, packaging design, new product development, advertising, maintaining the website, in store point-of-sale, marketing presentations, business to business, social media, intellectual property… That’s just about everything I think!

Wow, so you’re a bit busy to say the least. How has marketing management during COVID-19 changed?

Well, another big part of my job before March was exhibitions. So, before COVID hit I was travelling around the world fairly regularly, too. Fortunately, as pet food manufacturers we fell into the ‘key industry’ category, so we didn’t let up at all. In fact, we’ve had our best year ever. The demand for our products was really high over lockdown and we were determined to fulfil all the orders we had coming in. There’s also been an uplift in pet ownership over lockdown, so that’s boosted business, too.


Take us back to life before your current job. What did you do? Have you always worked in marketing?

Yes, that’s right. Prior to Supreme Petfoods, I worked for a marketing and design agency. I was actually involved with the Supreme Petfoods brand there, too! Eventually they approached me and I switched from agency to client-side. So, at this point I’ve had a relationship with the company for about 15 years!


So, you’re a long-time expert on the Supreme Petfoods brand. Can you talk a bit about the brand itself?

The brand is something that we’re always developing. We’re working on the brand story right now, actually. In terms of guarding the brand and making sure everything we do fits with our image; this is something we take very seriously. In the past, I don’t think we were quite up to standard in this particular area. At this point we’ve invested a lot in getting our brands where we want them to be.


And tone of voice is obviously a big part of that, isn’t it? Can you tell us a bit about your approach when it comes to maintaining tone of voice and translations for a global audience?

It’s interesting actually, we initially struggled to find a marketing translation company that can accurately communicate our brand. Rather than one that simply translates word for word. Certain English phrases and wordplay often suffer and lack meaning in translation. Previously, when we would get work sense-checked by native speakers we’d be told that it wasn’t right and didn’t make sense. This was a sticking point as it just meant a lot of extra work in re-writing the copy. The work that the team at McFelder has done so far marks a definite improvement in terms of the brand.

It’s crucial to the business to properly communicate the brand. Our international audience is key; we’ve been exporting for about 20 years now and are currently selling our products in around 30 countries. In some cases, we work with a distributor who handles the marketing with a bit of guidance from us but for our key markets (Holland, Germany, France, and America) we do all that ourselves.


Can you explain to our readers what sort of projects we at McFelder usually get involved in and how it helps marketing management during the current COVID-19 situation?

 It has been a variety of different things, web content mainly. The start of our working relationship coincided with the relaunch of our website in spring this year – so the timing could not have been better in terms of people looking online. Because we were doing less in terms of exhibitions, digital was always a really important way for us to communicate with customers. McFelder’s service is really good! The way everything is done is very efficient, with clear communication and pricing… there’s a good process in place. All in all, McFelder saves us time. When we’re sending your translations off to our native speakers, they’re not having to do a huge amount of work, as before, in order to get the text in a place that we’re happy with. It’s just a much more efficient way of doing things.


Thanks Claire, the feeling’s mutual. Find out more about Supreme Petfoods’ incredible line of products over on their website, and about our services, here!


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