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A Billion Acts of Good: BRAD HIRANAGA GENERAL MILLS' CHIEF BRAND OFFICER OF NORTH AMERICA SHARES HIS INSIGHTS ON THE CMO MOVES PODCAST.

DRIVE SOCIETAL IMPACT

I think "good"--today, in the context of what's happening in the world--is actually one of the best words. I love the fact that it can be the unifying theme across all of these different brands. So with the mission about being a force for good, we launched these three big pillars. One is around sustainability. So we have this objective to get to a million acres of regenerative agricultural [soil] in the next 10 years. And that is a huge thing--that we can really impact climate change. General Mills is one of the biggest food manufacturers [and] can have a very active role in that. And so we have this idea, whether it's an hour spent of your time as an employee or dollars that you give or things that our brands do, like Box Tops for Education... All these things are good. And so how do we just aggregate that good to do more for the whole of society?

ACCELERATE DIVERSE TALENT

We do a lot of recruiting from around the country and around the world. And I think General Mills has really been leading the way in terms of the kinds of candidates that we bring on from many diverse backgrounds. ... I think where there's an opportunity for our company--we've been focused on diversity and inclusion but still want to be more--is when we get people in the doors, how do we set them up for the most success possible so that we cannot only retain talent, but really accelerate them to get into positions where they can have even a bigger impact?... You need those distinct points of view. You need the diversity of thought to be able to innovate and keep up with the way that things are changing.

SOLVE CONSUMER NEEDS

As a consumer-first strategy, we are getting to a place where we know our consumer across this whole spectrum of their life and understand the moments that [trigger] some kind of problem that we can come in and solve. And so as we reoriented that, all of a sudden these solutions become much more obvious and it creates a ton of opportunities that we're figuring out how to go after for new growth. And I get a lot of energy around that as well because as a company with all these different categories, we've been kind of fragmented in the way we approach them. And I think there's an opportunity to still build brands... but also to think about solutions as a portfolio over the top that's going to lead us into new businesses, not just in products but in services and experiences.

ADOPT A GROWTH MINDSET

As a company, we're really great at scale and efficiency and executing really well. On the flip side, I think we have this opportunity to bring what we're calling a growth mindset to the company.... That's a newer muscle for us to stretch, just because we've been so disrupted as a food industry over the last decade or so, we've had to almost take a step back and say, OK, now we've got to think about growth. How should we do that? I think that we're still trying to build back into us, but that also gives me so much optimism because there are just so many opportunities with that disruption, and people are seeing this is a culture of growth. It's getting to think about innovation in a totally different light, which I think will lead us down paths of things that we haven't done before.

FOSTER INTERNAL CULTURE THROUGH MARKETING

Our brands have become much more consistent, [and we've realized,] hey, there are different consumers out there that we may not have been reaching as much as we should. We want to bring them into the fold and think about that more, whether that's through diversity or gender or whatever else. That has a huge influence on the people that are working inside the company and the culture of embracing diverse perspectives and embracing people that look like me. And so, by us as a company, marketing or building our brands with those consumers, if that person or group represents me internally, then I feel even more empowered by that.

CHECK OUT THE CMO MOVES PODCAST AT ADWEEK.COM

BY NADINE DIETZ

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Title Annotation:WINNER'S PLAYBOOK
Author:Dietz, Nadine
Publication:ADWEEK
Date:Sep 2, 2019
Words:732
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