A guide to consumer brands in Buckinghamshire
This is the second part in our blog series about organisations operating in the consumer space across Brand’s core regions. Initially we focused on the region of Leicestershire, and are now switching our attention to the thriving region of Buckinghamshire. So, if you’re a marketing job-seeker based in and around the Buckinghamshire area, and are keen to find work in the consumer sectors, this will be a guide to some of the organisations that operate within the county. Given the volume of brands in Buckinghamshire, we’re going to structure this blog around different consumer sectors as opposed to specific locations.
Food and Drink
To begin, I’ll be focusing on food and drink. If you’ve got aspirations to get a job as a Brand Manager, Insight Manager, Trade Marketing Manager, Innovation Manager or Category Manager, this is a great industry to look at. Buckinghamshire is bursting at the seams with companies in this space, though a lot are not your typical household names everyone would recognise, other than Hovis in High Wycombe.
Now, it wouldn’t be a real 21st century food blog without including something vegan. So I’ll start with Great Food UK in Milton Keynes who have the GOSH vegan brand that everybody must have heard of…. joking. But I hear it’s very popular in the vegan community, and no animals have been harmed in the making of their products, as long as you recycle the plastic! Joining them in the Milton Keynes area is Santa Maria the Mexican style brand champion, and Mars Horsecare (yes, you read that right, Mars’ horse food division) so not really consumer but as we’d covered Mars in detail in the last blog I thought I would highlight that their horse food is marketed out of Milton Keynes and not Leicestershire.
A short trip south to Aylesbury, and you’ll come across the spices and mixes brand McCormick, as well as the fitness weight loss brand Huel, who produce a powder that you drink made up of all sorts of fantastic-but-sugar-lacking ingredients – I know because I have used it before myself, it does what it says on the tin but perhaps not for those who prefer a steak and beer, to a salad and water. On the healthy side of things we also have the predominantly pesto associated brand Sacla in Beaconsfield, Kiddylicious the children’s health food brand in Amersham, Natural Balance Foods (Trek & Nakd Bars) in Worminghall, and finally, every child’s not-so healthy guilty pleasure Slush Puppie in High Wycombe.
Restaurants and Food Retailers
Before moving into retail, and the long awaited automotive monopoly of Buckinghamshire, I’ll quickly close off food with a run through of some of my favourite food retailers. Milton Keynes is almost the pizza capital of the UK with both Domino’s and Papa John’s basing their head offices there, and that roadside classic, Wimpy, have their head office in Marlow. Yes Wimpy, they are still going, I’ve never eaten there but they have been banking profits from truckers and travellers across the country for many years! In terms of opportunities at these companies, the pizza retailers will likely have large digital teams as they push loyalty and online orders from their customers via their digital platforms, and also very talented creative offline marketers for their in-store materials and constantly changing menus.
Retail and Fashion
Next we cover retail and fashion. For the fashionable ladies and men, Fossil and Bronnley in Milton Keynes, New Era Cap Company in Aylesbury, and Mint Velvet (one of my favourites) in High Wycombe. And for everybody else; Staples in High Wycombe, Frosts Garden Centres in Milton Keynes, and the Peter Jones-saved Jessops in Marlow. Retail companies will likely recruit Trade Marketing Managers, Digital Marketing Managers, Ecommerce Managers and other digital and in-store specialists. Though, we do expect, as has been the case for the last few years, a continued shift towards digital, but it is touted there will be a resurgence in direct marketing positions too post the GDPR introduction.
Another strong area of recruitment for Brand Manager Jobs with a strong showing in Buckinghamshire is the toys industry, with retailer The Entertainer in Little Chalfont, Topps Europe the sports related cards manufacturer in Milton Keynes, Spinmaster Games in Bourne End, and until recently Toys R Us in Maidenhead. Yes, Maidenhead is not technically Buckinghamshire, but after every child of the 80’s & 90’s favourite retailer recently bit the dust I had to fit it in somewhere.
Next we’re looking at non-food related consumer products, types of positions within these companies will perhaps vary a bit away from heavy category and brand management, and again venture more into trade marketing and product manager positions, along with more generalist marketing manager roles. Brands you might recognise easily such as Energiser and Wilkinson Sword are in High Wycombe, the latter known by most guys for it’s continuous battle with Gillette, trying to out-do each other by adding an extra blade on the end – soon I feel men will be able to shave their entire faces with one swipe! And another specialist and premium male grooming brand to finish off is King of Shaves of Beaconsfield.
If you had keyboard lessons in the 80’s, as my colleague Joby did, then you will likely be a Yamaha fan even if you don’t ride motorbikes…his symphony of Tubular Bells on the piano in the restaurant at last year’s Christmas party will haunt my dreams forever. The other durable brands in Milton Keynes are Fisher & Paykel the kitchen appliances company, and RFE the Reebok & Adidas fitness equipment supplier. I will round this section off with The Pilot Pen Company in Bourne End, Hypnos Beds of Princes Risborough, and Acco Brands of Aylesbury.
Now it wouldn’t be Buckinghamshire if I didn’t have a section on Automotive, so if you were not already aware, Buckinghamshire, and in particular Milton Keynes, is home to a whole array of automotive brands. It’s pretty much the automotive capital of the UK. High Wycombe and Marlow are the odd ones out with Hyundai and Volvo respectively, while Milton Keynes is host to Audi, Volkswagen and Suzuki. There are also more brands in the immediate vicinity of MK, out in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, and it’s not just limited to manufacturers, but retailers, insurance providers (Mercedes Bens Financial Services in MK), equipment manufactures and other related driving brands such as breakdown services. So if the automotive industry is where you want to go, this is a great location, and from a marketing perspective a whole array of European and international marketing, PR and communications, digital and brand roles across the spectrum, and in particular a great base for product managers as well.
Overall I think it’s safe to say if you want a role in consumer marketing, be it as a Brand Manager, Channel Marketing Manager, Product Manager or just about any specialism of consumer marketing role, Buckinghamshire is a fantastic place to live and build a career!
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