Careers: What's it really like inside - Innocent

Do you get to drive around in those Innocent cow vans?

Absolutely. One of the best things is that after a while you forget you are in one and you drive around imagining the whole world is smiling just for you. That makes you smile, and so the karma flows. I can strongly recommend the experience.

Do Innocent marketers get involved in developing smoothies?

Everyone here gets involved. The development kitchen is in the heart of Fruit Towers and you can pop in for a taste or to pass on an idea. Last year we realised there weren't many healthy drinks out there for kids.

By April we had smoothies for kids on sale. The way we're set up means you can see your ideas through to completion and see results quickly.

Your web page is pretty eccentric. Do you get much consumer feedback?

We get about 200 letters, emails and calls a week from all sorts of people, from kids to grannies to men on oil rigs. It is empowering to be able to pick up the banana phone (helpline) and talk to consumers at any time.

What are the perks of the job?

Being treated as an adult - if you like to start late and leave a bit later, or need to work from home, no one asks what you are up to. We go on a snowboarding weekend once a year and go on picnics and trips out if the company is doing well. There are free yoga classes, and a masseur visits the office once a month.

Is it an appropriately calm office?

At the moment we are working hard on lots of marketing ideas for the summer; at other times of the year it isn't as hectic.

What is Innocent like for training?

We get constant feedback and coaching, assessments every six months and access to a comprehensive training programme. When people need to be trained in specific areas, they get bespoke training.

What about salary and benefits?

Innocent pays competitively at all levels of the business. We get a performance-related bonus, private health care, a small equity stake and the use of company cars at the weekend. My contract also states that I get 'as many free smoothies as you can shake a stick at'.

How do you come up with new ideas?

Everyone is free to input. In our idea sessions we all draw our ideas out very badly on bits of paper and share them around. Bad drawings seem to go a long way for us.

CAREERFILE

- Innocent has 60 UK employees, including 10 marketers.

- Co-founder Richard Reed leads the company's marketing.

- Key brands include Innocent smoothies, smoothies for kids, juicy waters, really lovely juices and fresh yoghurt thickies.

- Innocent headquarters is based at Fruit Towers, 4, The Goldhawk Estate, Brackenbury Road, London W6 0BA.

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