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GCS Heads of Discipline: 5 minutes with Chloe Saklow

Blog posted by: Chloe Saklow, 1 June 2023.

There are 7 GCS communication disciplines: Data and Insight, Media, Strategic Communications, Internal Communications, External Affairs, Marketing and Digital. A selection of the GCS community is appointed to represent each discipline. Our Heads of Discipline are:

  • Media – Andrew Darby, Department for Education (DfE)
  • External Affairs – Kate Whitty-Johnson, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)
  • Marketing –  Chloe Saklow, Department for Education (DfE)
  • Strategic Communications – Clara Eaglen, Department for International Trade (DIT) 
  • Internal Communications – Russell Grossman, Office of Rail and Road (ORR)
  • Digital – Ed Bearryman, No10
  • Data and Insight – Pamela Bremner, Home Office

This month we spoke with Chloe Saklow who leads the Marketing discipline across government for a short interview. Chloe oversees the national teacher recruitment campaign and the Get into Teaching support service at the Department for Education. She is responsible for inspiring, attracting and supporting individuals to pursue a career in teaching.

Chloe, tell us a little bit more about yourself…

“I lead the Marketing discipline across government and oversee the national teacher recruitment campaign and the Get into Teaching support service at The Department for Education. I am responsible for inspiring, attracting and supporting individuals to pursue a career in teaching.

I began my career as a Strategic Planner in advertising where I worked on a variety of brands including Calpol and Smirnoff. Later, I transitioned to BBC Worldwide where I had the opportunity to work on drama content and brand development, including reading the pilot scripts for popular TV show like Call the Midwife, Death in Paradise and Luther. Afterward, I joined Johnston Press where I led audience strategy and brand development for priority titles such as the newspaperDriven by a desire to use my skills for a meaningful purpose, I joined government five years ago.

I live in North-West London with my husband, three children – Sadie (11), Oscar (9) and Mabel (7) – and two cats.”

Why marketing? What excites you about this discipline?

“As a child, I had always dreamed of becoming a writer or a dancer. However, my height soon dashed my aspirations of pirouetting for a living. I sought out work experience at various newspapers and creative agencies.

It wasn’t until I stumbled across Strategic Planning that everything clicked into place. The blend of analytical and creative thinking resonated with me; I found myself drawn to the combination of insight, data and intuition that underpin brand development and creative problem solving. I relished the challenge of using my skills to boost business performance and drive success.

As someone who had worked on the agency side, I was keen to explore the world of client marketing. With the ever-changing role and scope of marketing, and the increasing emphasis on customer experience underpinned by data-driven insights, I wanted to gain first-hand experience. The dynamic nature of marketing, coupled advancements in technology and shifts in consumer behaviour, makes for a stimulating and creative environment that I am excited to be part of.”

What’s your favourite marketing campaign?

“As someone who grew up with a love for Marmite, the brand’s iconic slogan ‘love it or hate it’ holds a special place in my heart. However, it’s much more than just a great tagline – it’s rooted in the product’s truth. Marmite’s distinctively salty and powerful flavour, coupled with its heady aroma polarises people. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, Marmite boldly embraces its uniqueness in a way that many brands would shy away from.

In addition to its classic spread in the glass jar, Marmite has expanded its product line to include a squeezy variant and even a chilli flavour. Despite these new offerings, the brand has remained true to its ‘love it or hate it’ concept. Its latest ‘Baby Scan’ campaign calls on pregnant women to find out some vital information about their baby – whether it will be a Marmite lover or hater, showcasing its playful and irreverent spirit.

Marmite proves that staying true to your brand’s identity can pay dividends.”

What made you want to take on the HoD role?

“To me, this role represents a unique chance to influence the direction of government marketing. Marketing plays a crucial role in achieving the three pillars of the strategy – Collaboration, Great People and Innovation – and I am excited to be at the forefront of this effort.

Our government marketing mission centres on (1) raising the reputation of marketing, (2) building more of a sense of community across the marketing profession, (3) continuously improving our capabilities and skills, (4) forging new connections within and beyond the government communications community and (5) championing innovation.

Moreover, I am thrilled to be working with Jo Parry, the Deputy Head of Discipline. Working together is incredibly enjoyable and we are sharing many laughs along the way. We have a fantastic and expanding group of volunteers who are equally passionate about our mission. It feels like we’re just getting started.”

Lastly, what podcast do you recommend all marketers listen to?

“As someone who can’t get enough of podcasts, I will limit myself to three short and sweet recommendations. First up is Where do we begin? Hosted by Esther Perel, a relationship therapist who takes us through a single counselling session with a couple in each episode. She delves deep into the layers of their story, providing valuable insights into human behaviour that can inspire marketers everywhere.

Next up, On Brand with Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK. Sutherland interviews both established and up-and-coming brands about their successes, challenges and future opportunities in the advertising, marketing and media industries. His sharp and candid observations make for a captivating listen.

Lastly, I highly recommend Lenny’s Podcast, which was suggested to be by a Project Delivery Manager I worked with. Host Lenny Rachitsk interviews top product leaders and growth experts, making it the ultimate learning platform for Product Managers. As someone who is relatively new to the world of product delivery, I can confidently say that it’s also an invaluable resource for marketers looking to expand their knowledge and skills.”

On 25 May 2023, Chloe and the Deputy Head of Discipline for Marketing led the GCS Call. You can watch this back on the GCS website.

If you haven’t already, in your GCS Connect profile please make sure that you have selected your main discipline. This means that you’ll get relevant discipline information and other GCS colleagues can connect with you more easily. 

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