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SITTING DOWN WITH ANNETTE KOMES OF GSK: A RELATIONSHIP BUILT ON TRUST
Over our 35 years in business, Vision Creative Group has always prided itself on service and client relationships. After all, it’s the relationships that make projects succeed, that expand what’s possible, and that remain even after retirement. One of the best examples of this is Vision’s relationship with the incredible force known as Annette Komes, a now retired former employee of GSK Consumer Healthcare. We sat down with Annette to discuss everything from the trajectory of her career over the years to her experience working with Vision. Annette worked most closely with Lori, our VP of Account Services, who sat down and became part of the conversation halfway through. We’re so excited to share our truly fascinating conversation with you.
TRANSITIONING FROM PFIZER TO GSK CONSUMER HEALTHCARE
On paper it would appear that Annette traveled to all different companies throughout her career, but it’s more accurate to say that Annette is what remained constant while her workplace shifted beneath her feet. Before being at GSK Consumer Healthcare, Annette began at the consumer division of American Home Products called Whitehall Robins. Then, while Annette worked her way up from an administrative assistant to a manager over time, the company turned into Wyeth, which was then acquired by Pfizer. “The department grew, and we took on more responsibilities. I started working on ChapStick and then picked up Robitussin.” Retrospectively, though, the change feels drastic. “The brands were growing and the marketing landscape was changing.” As these changes occurred, Annette found her way to the brand that she would stay with for the remainder of her 25-year career: Advil.
CHANGING TIMES & TACTICS
With the shift in the marketing landscape came an increase in marketing tactics. The consumer promotion world was quite literally changing around Annette. She explains, “The marketing tactics grew to encompass more…like in-store signage, semi-permanent shelf trays, and even news pouches. As our department became responsible for these new tactics, there was a learning curve – working with new vendors, understanding the specs and application. A good example is shelf tags – you review the design on screen and it looks great, but then you realize that the tag is only two inches wide and the type is going to be really small! How are we going to make this work?”
A TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP
When asking Annette to look back on Vision’s role over the years, Annette explains that Vision’s knowledge, expertise, and responsiveness allowed us to be an essential partner. She adds, “There were plenty of things that I relied on Vision for. It’s always been a high standard, a high level of work that has been brought to me. And they [Vision] knew as much about the products as I did, about the category, the landscape, and the retailer expectations. It was great to have a partner that knew all of that too.” A large part of this partnership was a result of Annette’s incredibly strong relationship with Lori. Annette notes that she knew that she could call on Lori for help no matter what and she would be there to support her.
Back in the day, the evolution of “360 marketing” brought its own slew of changes for Annette, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, and Vision. “It was something we had to work on together… there was increased focus on ensuring that every consumer touchpoint would be the same experience, and this became the standard going forward.”
With this new world came an even larger volume of work, and attention to detail became even more critical. Creative had to align completely and consistently with no room for error. Luckily, Annette and Vision had a strong relationship. With a foundation of trust, we were able to count on each other. “I’ve always been able to rely on Lori and the team to be a great partner to manage all of that, to help me not miss anything. That trust and that collaboration were very, very important. And it made the relationship last as long as it did. There’s got to be a level of trust on both sides.”
There are two sides to every relationship, however, and Lori explains that Annette’s role and their connection was crucial to their success.
“She always got Vision what we needed and was open to collaboration and listening,” Lori says of Annette. “She took her job really seriously and spent the time organizing things before handing them to Vision.” When asked what she misses most about Annette, Lori answers with a smile and without hesitation, “Her knowledge and her personality.” The two have remained great friends to this day and love to reconnect. We miss Annette so much at Vision, but we’re so grateful for all the amazing work we did together!
You can check out one of our favorite projects for Advil featuring in-store consumer activation on our site and learn more about our collaborative process!
Don’t miss out on more content from our incredible interview with Annette on our social media in the coming days! Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook for more!
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