Borna started his career in a manufacturing company, before moving into roles with advertising and communications agencies – in sectors ranging from automotive to sports – and then on to JTI.
"My experience has shown me how much support and investment our company places in developing employees. It's exactly what I was looking for when I joined JTI!"
Borna Zlamalik, Brand and Trade Strategy Director
Borna sums up the different roles his asks of him “I’m responsible for brand management, consumer and trade strategy, marketing communications, as well as development of new program ideas, the latter of which is particularly important in our market.”
Tobacco products are often described as fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). This highly innovative sector presents specific challenges to brand managers.
They need sound commercial, trade and financial planning skills, and an intuitive grasp of consumer markets and competitor positioning, as well as a strategic understanding of the their own brands and the business ambition for them. Advertising agency experience like Borna’s is also very valuable.
Ultimately Borna is guided by JTI’s ethical perspective on how and to whom tobacco products are marketed.
This is enshrined in JTI's Marketing Standard and underpinned by its positions
The positions are a series of statements that address many of the complex concerns that society has about smoking and health, and the regulation of tobacco products. Its principles are a set of six ethical beliefs that apply to all of the company’s activities.
Borna is also working in a country that is highly regulated. “Canada is considered one of the most highly restricted markets for tobacco in the world. We’re faced with a changing dynamic every day, and have risen to the challenge and continue to focus on
As well as embracing the challenges of the brand manager role, Borna also relishes the opportunities for career and personal development JTI can offer.
For example, he’s taken part in the JTI Challenger program. This takes one person from each C&TM region to work on an innovation project with global implications. Would-be participants must have been with JTI for less than four years.
Borna recalls: “It took us out of our respective market contexts and got us to think and plan as a virtual global team. It was a remarkable learning experience.”
He also won both the Canadian and the Global Convenience Industry Achievement Awards in 2009. His winning idea – Think Global: Act Local – was designed to help retailers assess their local business environment and more effectively meet customer needs. The finals took place is Las Vegas, US.
“The competition was not JTI- or tobacco industry-specific but allowed me to work on a solution applicable to the entire global convenience industry,” explains Borna.
Since winning, Borna has been putting his award idea into practice for JTI. “This was an incredible in-the-field experience and a chance to truly understand the challenges retailers face in day-to-day business.”