Dynamic Marketing Manager at SASKO – Nomawethu Ngadlela



Turning lemons into lemonade – how prejudice ignited her individuality and fuelled a passion for building sustainable profitable multinational brands while impacting the society positively at large.



Ngadlela is making a name for herself by repositioning and building household brands, she bemoans the homogeneity in the boardroom and in creative studios where the need to blend in and assimilate into the established corporate culture is robbing many brands the dynamism and richer tapestry of solutions required to take them to the next level.

Upon obtaining an undergraduate degree in marketing from the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Ngadlela had a lecturing stint at the same institution where she offered modules such as marketing and communications, retail, and personal selling. She furthered her studies at this institution, obtaining her postgraduate and later completed master’s qualifications with UNISA.

Career milestones

My experience is truly diverse as I have done beverages, alcohol brands, food, personal care, petroleum etc. I kicked off my corporate career as an academia lecturing at the university, then I got bored and ventured in the oil and petroleum industry in 2012 before I ventured off into the fast-moving consumer goods space at the encouragement of my manager, who advised me that the FMCG industry is the best place to hone marketing and brand building expertise and skills. During this time, I deepened my understanding of what it takes to build brands, use industry trends to gain consumer insights and to drive profitable brands and this is my strange obsession as a marketer,” says Ngadlela.

PepsiCo Career

Ngadlela says joining PepsiCo, the proprietors of SASKO, was the best career decision she made as the company ethos mirrored her staunch principles of working with a brand that is purposeful and unashamedly intentional in contributing to the socio-economic wellbeing of the communities it operates in.

Citing SASKO’s flagship community outreach campaign called Siyasizana, Ngadlela points out that this campaign aims to foster early childhood development by stimulating education outside of the classroom on the field of play, while tackling the scourge of bullying by incubating the growth of balanced adults who will one day make a meaningful contribution to society.

Siyasizana aims to build, restore, and upgrade 1 000 playgrounds in communities across South Africa. At the heart of this campaign is the conviction that play is an important part of a child’s physical, mental, emotional, and social development. These upgraded playgrounds promote healthy and positive play, helping combat bullying and creating safe spaces for children.

Impact of social media

Ngadlela says the advent of social media has disrupted the advertising and marketing industry in a fundamental way. In the past, Ngadlela notes, marketing was a one-way communication where brands talked to their customers. “Now social media and Generation Z cohort demand transparency and are willing and ready to challenge brands. They are more conscientious and prefer to support brands that have a social conscience.

Gen Z’s vote with their wallets and can kill your brand in an instant via social media. Doing marketing now forces us to be more authentic and more transparent that we have been before. Transparency is not perfection: but it is publicly acknowledging when things have gone wrong, taking accountability and responsibility, and making a firm commitment to put corrective action. Any brand that is not prepared to abide by these rules of engagement is in serious trouble,” she says.

Building a $1 billion brand

Ngadlela says she is honoured with the responsibility she has been given by management to lead the SASKO business strategy beyond just marketing in developing SASKO’s ambition for Africa. “This exciting project gives me the opportunity to wear my strategy hat and contribute to the realisation of this business objective. People know SASKO simply as a bread company; however, we are more than just that. We see ourselves as the baking experts and through the $1 billion brand we seek to create a one-stop shop for baking in South Africa,” she explains.

The opportunity to lead this mega project could not have come at a better time for Ngadlela, she is currently studying towards her PhD where her thesis is on building brands with purpose.

Ngadlela’s passion for diversity and retaining authenticity in the face of societal pressure is contagious. She reveals that when she is not engrossed on building brands, she spends her free time giving motivational talks to girl pupils in high schools.

“In my graduation year at high school the pep talk that was given by Ace Ngcobo stayed with me throughout my university years. It reinforced the importance to be true to myself and not succumb to societal pressure to be part of the herd,” she concludes.

1. Can you describe your journey and experience with SASKO?

My journey with SASKO has been incredibly rewarding. Joining the team as a Marketing Manager has allowed me to witness firsthand the brand’s evolution and its commitment to delivering excellence in the baking industry. From conceptualizing innovative marketing campaigns to engaging with customers on various platforms, every day presents new challenges and opportunities for growth. SASKO’s dedication to quality and customer satisfaction has made my experience with the company truly fulfilling.

2. What are the key factors attributed to the continued success of SASKO bakeries?

The continued success of SASKO bakeries can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, our unwavering commitment to quality ensures that every product meets the highest standards of freshness and taste. Secondly, our extensive distribution network ensures that our products are readily available to consumers across South Africa, contributing to our widespread popularity. Additionally, our focus on innovation allows us to stay ahead of market trends and continuously offer new and exciting products to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

3. What strategies has SASKO implemented to keep customer satisfaction and loyalty in a competitive market?

To maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty in a competitive market, SASKO employs various strategies. We prioritize customer feedback and continuously strive to improve our products and services based on their preferences. Additionally, we offer competitive pricing, engage with customers through marketing initiatives and loyalty programs, and ensure consistent quality across all our products. By focusing on these key areas, we aim to cultivate lasting relationships with our customers and differentiate ourselves in the market.

4. How does SASKO motivate employees? Does SASKO encourage creativity and innovation with rewards?

SASKO places a strong emphasis on motivating employees and fostering a culture of creativity and innovation. We believe that a happy and engaged workforce is essential to our success. We also encourage creativity and innovation through various rewards and recognition programs. By empowering our employees, we unleash their potential to drive innovation and excellence within the organization.

5. What new trends and innovations do you see in the industry?

In the bakery industry, we’re witnessing several exciting trends and innovations. Consumers are increasingly demanding healthier options, such as products with reduced sugar, fat, and calories. There’s also a growing interest in artisanal and specialty baked goods, as consumers seek unique and high-quality offerings. Furthermore, sustainability is becoming a key focus, with consumers preferring products that are environmentally friendly and ethically sourced. As such, we are exploring opportunities to innovate in these areas to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

6. What is your vision for growth and development at SASKO over the next 5 years?

My vision for growth and development at SASKO over the next five years is centred around innovation, sustainability, and expansion. We will continue to invest in research and development to bring new and innovative products to market, while also focusing on sustainability initiatives. Additionally, we will explore opportunities to assist us tap into consumer trends to drive growth. By staying true to our core values of quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction, I am confident that SASKO will continue to thrive in the years to come.

For more info on SASKO click here ……


Please sign up to our newsletter and have the latest news, developments and innovations conveniently delivered to your inbox.


Copyright © 2022 - BakerSA - web design cape town