MEET THE BOSS: Made for marketing

Baitshepi Sekgweng

Like many of us, as a child Peo Porogo dreamt of becoming a doctor, seduced by the idea of saving lives.

However, fate had other plans for the Ramotswa revelation, whose destiny lay not in medicine but in the cut-throat world of marketing.

Still only 38, Porogo’s CV makes for impressive reading and boasts 16 years experience across the Telecommunications, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and Banking sectors

Part of the First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) family since 2016, as just rewards for her hard work, last September Porogo was promoted to lead the bank’s Marketing and Communications department as Director.

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Let’s find out what makes her tick…

  • What does your daily schedule look like?

My main responsibility is to make sure that our bank’s brand stays relevant and impactful in the ever-changing banking industry. It’s a big job, but I’m always up for the challenge! My days are pretty varied, but I always make sure to touch base with my team regularly.

I offer them guidance and celebrate their achievements, but also make sure they make corrections when necessary. It’s all about working together to achieve our goals!

In addition to my team, I also work closely with our partners, the Board, staff, and customers to make sure that we communicate effectively with everyone. It’s a big job, but I love managing stakeholder relationships and making sure that everyone is on the same page.

  • And before joining FNBB, what were you up to job wise?

Before I joined the amazing team at FNBB, I worked in a few different industries. I started out in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) then I moved on to telecommunications and banking. It was a wild ride, but I learned so much along the way!

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I’ve had a really diverse Marketing experience, which has been both challenging and exciting. I’ve had to directly engage with customers through sales and business development, which has taught me a lot about what customers want and need. I have also been involved in market intelligence, insights, and strategy development.

  • So what is your department’s mandate?

Our team is responsible for the branding and marketing of the bank. We make sure that the FNBB brand stays competitive in the highly competitive and mature banking industry.

We also provide segment-focused marketing, which helps us achieve our overall FNBB strategy. We want to make sure that our customers have the best possible experience with us, so we focus on making everything seamless and easy for them.

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That’s why we’re always working on ensuring a seamless customer experience through our various channels, like our branches and online banking.

  • What methods do you use to reach out to clients to ensure FNBB remains visible?

Have you heard about the awesome FNB App? It’s a super handy tool that we have developed to help our customers manage their accounts and stay safe online. With the FNB App, you can protect your debit/credit cards and get fraud tips that we send out periodically. We want to make sure that even during tough times, our customers can rest easy knowing that their information is secure. But we know that not everyone has the app yet.

That’s why we also regularly send out SMS notifications and information via email to keep our customers in the loop. And if you are a social media enthusiast, you can always follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to get the latest news and updates.

  • You have worked in banking, retail and telecommunications, how do the three industries compare?

The industries are different but are all very interesting to work in. What has been interesting to navigate in a bank is, unlike in retail and telecommunications where Marketing is core, in Banking it’s a support function meaning the businesses leads and marketing follows but I believe I have worked hard at FNBB to ensure that Marketing is at the core and forefront of what the bank does.

So, during my time here I have ensured that the team stays innovative and initiates strategic campaigns and sponsorships that contribute to business growth and lead the businesses.

  • And how has your background helped you in your role at FNB?

The companies I worked for before definitely set me up for success, everyone that has worked for SAB [South African Breweries] during my time will tell you that the Marketing we did there was world class. The desire for excellence and people centric approach, the training and the experience I received from there gave me a good understanding of my role in the value chain of the businesses I represent whether its innovation, product development, strategy execution, brand profitability or people management.

  • Let’s talk Covid-19; how did the pandemic affect FNBB and how are things looking now?

Covid-19 was definitely a shock to all of us, wasn’t it? But here at FNBB, we are all about adapting to change. That’s why we like to call ourselves the ‘Bank of The Changeables!’ When times got tough, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work figuring out how we could help our customers even more. Helping people is just part of our DNA, so we re-imagined how we could be even more helpful to our customers during these difficult times.

It was during this time that we launched ‘The Changeables’ campaign where we were asking our customers to change the way they bank, and it was during this time that we saw the highest take up of our digital platforms particularly the FNB App and Online Banking.

  • What other challenges does FNB face in achieving its mandate?

At FNBB, we are all about embracing the digital age with our Digital Migration Strategy (Bricks to Clicks strategy). We want to make banking as easy and convenient as possible for our customers. The challenge is that some customers still believe that one has to visit the branch in order to get assistance. But we want to drive customers to digital, because that is where the rest of the world is heading.

  • On a personal note, growing up, what were your dreams?

Like most of us growing up in Botswana, I wanted to be a Doctor. Then I discovered a profession called Physiotherapy because one of my neighbours went to study in Australia and I wanted to study there too. I landed in Marketing by luck, my dad had two interns who started working with him when I was applying for varsity and when one of them shared that she studied Marketing, which I had never heard of by the way, I said that that’s what I will do and here we are!

  • It’s safe to say Medicine’s loss was Marketing’s gain as you’re widely considered quite the guru in the industry! What milestones stand out for you?

Thank you. That’s a huge compliment as I am still learning a lot from a lot of people in the industry. I have been fortunate enough to be part of some of the biggest product design and launches in Botswana, from launching the biggest musician in the country’s branded phone, Vee Phone while I was at Orange, segmenting the credit card market to move from just one Blue card to introduce Gold and Platinum cards while at Barclays, rebranding, formulating and launching Redds cider while at SAB.

But the biggest one will forever be the rebranding of FNB from the old to new logo; it was a phenomenal experience to be part of something so big as it was not just a logo change but change of how we help customers: ‘Re-imagining help’ as we coined it.

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  • So what makes a good marketer or marketing department?

It’s not an easy job, that’s for sure. But if you are up for the challenge, you need a whole host of skills to be efficient and successful. First and foremost, a great marketer is a problem solver. You always look for solutions to your customer’s problems, whether it’s finding the perfect product for them or figuring out the best way to get their message out there.

But in order to offer those solutions, you need to really understand your customers – that’s where listening comes in. As a marketer, you have to be a great listener: to your clients, to your customers, and even to your fellow marketers.

  • People often confuse Marketing with Public Relations: what’s the difference?

Here’s the deal: Marketing is all about communication. It’s about getting your message out there to different audiences, whether you’re talking about products, services, sales, or just trying to raise awareness for your brand.

Public relations? Well, that’s a part of Marketing that’s all about engaging with stakeholders and generating good will for your brand. It’s like the friendly, smiling face of your marketing team – the one that’s always out there building positive relationships and making sure everyone loves your brand.

  • Thanks for clearing that up. Going forward, where would you like to see FNBB improving as a brand?

I want to see our bank continue to be all about our customers. That means doing more research, gathering more insights, and learning everything we can about what our customers want and need and keep putting them at the center of everything we do.

So, if you are a customer of FNBB, rest assured that we always work to make your banking experience better.

  • Yours must be an extremely stressful job, how do you handle the pressure?

It’s not always easy. But one thing that helps is being passionate about what I do. When you love your job, it’s easier to push through the tough times and keep working towards your goals. And speaking of goals, mine are all about putting out amazing work on behalf of the FNB brand.

  • So where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Looking to the future, I know one thing for sure: I’ll still be doing Marketing! It’s a field that constantly challenges me to think creatively and come up with new ideas, and that’s something I love.

  • And finally, away from the office, how do you relax?

Stepping away from my work is not always easy but I make sure that I take time out to do pilates and cycling which help me recharge for the day ahead. I also enjoy spending time with kids and elderly people, my grandmother is my source of joy and laughter and I make sure I see her at least once a week.

Made for marketing

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