Dr Elizabeth Lloyd-Parkes is a marketer and a communicator. Multilingual, she began her career in the Diplomatic Service. Several marketing-related roles followed, all with a necessity for linguistic skills, and an awareness of semiotics and cultural differences.
What do you enjoy about working in marketing?
It doesn’t matter if your strengths lie in epistolary communication, art, research, statistics, IT or many other areas - there’s a role for you in marketing. It gives variety and opportunity for self-development in a way that few other careers can.
What was the single most useful learning experience from your marketing career?
Whilst working for BP Chemicals, it was both fascinating and embarrassing to watch a group of Malaysian delegates’ reaction to a promotional film. The film focused on the ecologically-friendly nature of a particular product, and in order to convey this, the opening section of the film featured a beautiful owl sitting in the branches of a tree. The Malaysian contingent was horrified, as in their culture, an owl is a portent of death. It was a powerful insight into cultural differences and the subjective nature of marketing communication.
What are your research interests?
My doctoral research relates to the expression of the child consumer’s self-concept through the consumption of brands – in other words, how kids tell others who they are through the brands they consume. I have found this absolutely fascinating, and it has led to me having a keen interest in how we market the product that is ‘me’. I am currently researching the perception of online profiles – another captivating subject! Avatars are such an important part of our world these days, that we have to understand how to construct digital identities in an effective manner and have insight into how they may be perceived.
Students’ favourite lectures
One of the sessions that I deliver relates to my doctoral research, and students enjoy the narrative element of the child’s participation in the research programme, complete with ‘youth speak’ and Welsh idiom. Additionally, there are several sessions I run which relate to the use of humour in marketing communications – specifically advertising. I am very fortunate to have such a wealth of marketing experience on which I can draw, and enjoy illustrating theory with anecdotes from my professional life which bring the lectures to life.
Best book for marketers?
Goffman’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is a wonderful read. Although it is not strictly a marketing text (Goffman was a dyed-in-the-wool sociologist), it is a fascinating insight into how people react to the image we present and, in turn, impact on our behavior.
Advice to people considering this course?
Read! You need to be knowledgeable about all sorts of marketing constructs and theories, and you also need to recognise that marketing overlaps with so many other disciplines, for example, psychology. If you understand the broad and all-encompassing nature of marketing, you will be better equipped to forge your career in this area.