#WiMMeets Shekara Singh - CMO for Zando

21 April 2022

#WiMMeets Shekara Singh - CMO for Zando
Welcome to #WiMMeets - a series of short interviews with marketing leaders from across Africa and around the world. The series will present a different side to senior professionals with the aim to share the things that matter to them and inspire others. 
In this interview, we sat down with Shekara Singh, CMO for Zando.
Scientist turned marketer living in sunny South Africa. Chief Marketing Officer at Zando, a leading fashion, tech and e-commerce retailer based in Cape Town.

WiM Africa: What gives you energy and drives you forward when you are not feeling at the top of your game?

SS: Mostly it comes from curiosity and, foresight and hindsight. Over the years, I have come to appreciate the benefits of reflective practice, being able to consider what did or didn’t contribute to past successes and failures, and what could be different this time around. It’s the allure of continuous learning and engaging with networks of people in a wide range of professions and talents that gives me drive forward.


WiM Africa: Which advertising campaign, from any brand, has been the most memorable for you and why?

SS: Has to be Unilever’s award winning “Dirt is good!” campaign for their laundry category that stood out early in my career as one of the most compelling advertising campaigns launched. It really honed into the heart of the consumer by taking a key insight that laundry for mums may be a grudge activity, and completely pivoted toward the notion that when kids play, they learn, so while playing in the garden or in the kitchen may get you dirty, you’re learning as a child, and that’s good, so dirt is good. The campaign grew market share, drove differentiation in what had been a normalised product feature/benefit focused advertising category, and won the hearts of consumers. To this day I still believe one of the most influential things in my career has been the experience gained working with some of Unilever’s largest global and truly consumer centric brands.


WiM Africa: What three pieces of advice would you give to a woman marketer aspiring to a senior position about getting to and staying at the top of their profession?

SS: Put people first and stay true to yourself, as you progress in your career, it becomes less about technical skill and more about the ability to motivate, deliver and grow with people in your teams and organisation.

Embrace change and challenge your comfort zone, from these experiences you learn most about yourself and how to stay agile and adaptable with growing ambiguity in today’s marketing profession, from new martech to evolving marcoms, consumer behaviour, preferences and generational influences, it’s valuable to be as nimble as possible.

Keep good networks, even outside of your immediate profession. Learning from people is one of the most effective ways to stay abreast and, remain creative and relevant.


WiM Africa: Which one person, dead or alive, would you say inspires you the most and why?

SS: My mentor, Daniel Maine, who is a journalist, turned scientist and now an author. He is the most avid reader I ever came across but he is also the most generous and committed person to helping people grow and develop in their professional careers. He has been giving me books to read since my twenties (the very first one was Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence) and I’m always inspired by his constant respect for knowledge and the power of sharing it.


WiM Africa: If you were stuck on a desert island what three things, excluding electronics, could you not do without?

SS: Pencil and paper to write or sketch. A sleeping bag.


Discover more #WiMMeets interviews here!


Sign up for updates