Hermanus-born Silke Bucker, Castle Lite’s Brand Director, is a woman on a mission.
From a young age she has always been intrigued by social systems and the way people make decisions.
Her career took her away from Hermanus to the comparative metropolis of Johannesburg.
Bucker studied marketing, making it all the way to a master’s degree in commerce, which she completed the same year she joined South African Breweries (SAB) as a sales rep at the age of 24.
Never backing down from a challenge, she made this job her own and soon moved into marketing, which is her passion.
Bucker’s marketing career has seen her promote the SAB brands Castle Lite, Carling Black Label and Carling Blue Label. This is work she is truly proud of, for it has made a real difference to consumers.
Among her marketing initiatives are the Carling Black Label Cup, Castle Lite Unlocks and Hip Hop Herstory.
“As a marketer you dream on working on iconic brands,” Bucker says, “and what brings back better memories in South Africa than the amazing Castle Lite, Carling Black Label and Castle Lager ads. It is a privilege to make my mark with brands this size.”
She believes the responsibility that comes with running brands of this size far surpasses just selling beer, because consumers need to see what the world can be. “Whether it is amplified moments of enjoyment, inclusivity or gender equality, the responsibility sits with us to not show the mirror but shape a world we all want to be part of.”
Asked what she enjoys the most about her job, Bucker says: “I have an amazing team and am surrounded by great people, whom I learn from every day. It is challenging, but I grow and develop in one of the biggest fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in the world, and while doing that I get to nurture up-and-coming talent to do the same.”
Bucker’s relentless pursuit to be the best and never to stop learning is what makes her so successful.
“I love challenges and I love understanding reasons behind behaviour. This innate curiosity, coupled with the will to succeed, has helped me through many tough times.”
Her advice to young people is to set their own clear goals, to “work hard to achieve them, for no one is going to pave the way for you.
“You need to find what it is you love, and work at being the best at it every single day,” she says.
One of Bucker’s “success habits” is to read a book a week, fiction and non-fiction. This helps her to learn from others, all of whom have stories to tell and lessons to learn.
“My advice to young professionals is take the time to get to know yourself. Find out what are your drivers are and what makes you different and unique. Then take the time to develop these skills even more and use them as your competitive advantage.
“We are so focused on our gaps and things we are not good at that we forget there are a whole lot of things we are great at – learn about your gaps and address them, but focus on your strengths.”
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