"A key driver in my work is to know I can have an impact on people and society every day."

Petra Bremer

Brand Manager

Brand Manager

This September marks Petra Bremer’s first anniversary at Albert Heijn, one of Ahold Delhaize’s family of brands. It’s been a whirlwind year. “Here, I’ve been given the opportunity to work in an industry that affects millions of people on a daily basis. Having that enormous impact drives me every day. Additionally, it allows me to continuously develop and improve myself.”  

As a young girl, Petra dreamed of being a journalist. “I have always been the inquisitive type: I wouldn’t stop asking questions until I was given a satisfying answer. During my studies in communication science, I did an internship at a local newspaper in Suriname. That’s when I realized that journalism wasn’t for me after all. Most of the news I reported on was negative, which didn’t resonate with my generally very positive personality. I wanted to tell nice, upbeat stories. Also, I wanted to be able to measure the impact of those stories. That realization resulted in my shift toward marketing, where I found I could do both: share positive stories and measure their impact.” 

After more than 10 years at ING Bank, Petra decided to take the plunge and join Albert Heijn as Manager Brand Experience Digital Convenience. “I find it fascinating to work on the cutting edge of innovation, creation and data. One of the key drivers in my work is to know I can have an impact. I’m now able to help influence how millions of customers eat and drink. Through the numerous interactions we have with them via our app, we inspire them to make healthier food choices, raise awareness of their environmental footprint, and can really be present in their daily lives. We create solutions and strategic innovations that truly make a positive difference in people’s lives. That’s one of the things I love most about my job.” 

 

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Introducing ‘Oma’ and the Albert Heijn Premium app to the world 

When asked which achievement this year makes her most proud, Petra smiles. “The introduction of ‘Oma’ in our commercials immediately comes to mind. We explicitly chose an older lady as our spokesperson in the campaign, which focused on the digitization of our loyalty card (the ‘bonuskaart’). Knowing that older people often perceive digitization as something that’s complicated, we wanted an ‘oma’ who made it all look so simple. We’ve also introduced a new loyalty program, Mijn Albert Heijn Premium. This program offers our customers lots of benefits, such as a 10% discount on organic products. Aside from attractive discounts, the app also offers customers insights on the amount of money they save. But there are even more accomplishments worth celebrating! We created online tutorials that guide customers through new features step by step, as well as the possibility of checking out at the store by scanning their bonuskaart, instead of having to print a receipt. Just how fantastic it would be if we could do away with those countless tickets that end up on the ground forever! Those innovative changes are the best. I'm very proud of the team with whom we've built and marketed this.” 

While Petra thrives on all these developments, the fact that they’re all team efforts make it even better. “I’m very much a team-oriented person. Although I don’t have a team in the traditional sense of the word, as a true linchpin, I work closely with hundreds of people internally – for instance, with product owners, UX professionals and digital channels. I also work externally with people in advertising and media agencies. Watching something we worked hard for as a team come together and succeed is the most satisfying feeling.” 

On a mission  

Petra is on a mission to “underline Albert Heijn’s food technology position,” or, in simpler terms, to transition shopping at Albert Heijn from a physical experience to an omnichannel journey, in which the digital proposition plays a key role. “I’d like our customers to genuinely feel guided while grocery shopping. My goal is to help them move forward by encouraging them to make healthier food choices and reduce their carbon footprints – and see them become even more loyal customers.”  

 
A fish in the water 

Petra has always been drawn toward self-improvement. ”In everything I take on, I constantly want to do better. It’s one of the many aspects of this company that I appreciate – there are endless opportunities to experiment, grow and develop as a person. If you have a good idea, speak up, and you’ll get the chance to make it happen. While that ‘just dive in at the deep end’ mentality and fast-paced environment both resonate with who I am, I also need to take a step back and disconnect every now and then. Ten years ago, I discovered yoga. It was a real game-changer. Yoga enables me to let go of everything, and completely focus on me and what I am doing. From then onwards, I practiced yoga at least two or three times a week. Now that I’m a certified yoga instructor, I get to enjoy it even more.”  

 Her dynamic work environment and regular yoga sessions aren’t the only elements that make Petra feel like a fish in the water. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t jump into the IJ river behind her house. “Every day my alarm goes off at 6.20am. By 6.30am I’m in the water – 365 days per year, and yes, also when it’s freezing! I’ve always loved water, and ice-cold water even more. The whole thing takes only 15 minutes, sometimes even less, meaning I’m home and showered by 7am, perfectly in time to wake up and dress my children Evi and Stijn. It’s an ideal start to the day, and provides some wonderful me-time that energizes me for the day ahead.”

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Name: Petra Bremer (1984) 

Studied: MA Communication Science (University of Tilburg, 2009) 

Living with: My husband Daan, Evi (5) and Stijn (4) 

Hobbies: Yoga, having a drink with friends, styling and reading  

Wake me up in the middle of the night for: A hug from my children, followed by a good music festival or a fresh croissant 

Favorite holiday destination: Latin America 

Life-changing event: The birth of my children  

Biggest source of inspiration: Steve Jobs 

Best advice I’ve ever received: “There’s only one person who can take care of you, and that’s you”  

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