Kellogg's takes global approach

21 January 2011

NEW YORK: Kellogg's, the food group, is developing a more coordinated approach to global marketing, a move indicative of a broader trend observable among many brand owners.

The manufacturer of Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies boasts roughly 400 communications staff worldwide at present.

After a pitch featuring ten procurement specialists, it has appointed consultancy Brand Learning to improve the existing "K-Way" of championing its products.

The objectives informing the tie-up include forging "common tools and ways of working" across various geographies.

In the first instance, this involves holding a five-day meeting for Kellogg's 100 portfolio directors, in Chicago.

These executives will then be responsible for educating the remainder of the corporation's relevant employees.

It is hoped this project can overcome the disjointed structures which inevitably follow on from establishing an international presence.

Mark Baynes, Kellogg's chief marketing officer, argued the organisation's latest initiative could deliver tangible commercial benefits.

"By investing to build world-class marketing capabilities we aim to create a marketing team inspired, equipped and enabled to drive stronger returns in this increasingly complex consumer-brand landscape," he said.

Harriet de Swiet, Brand Learning's group account director for Kellogg's, suggested the rapidly-evolving industry climate demanded an appropriate reaction.

"The speed of marketing has changed so much that, if you are going to work with global brands, you need people who are all on the same agenda," she said.

Unilever, the maker of Knorr and Ben & Jerry's, launched a dedicated Marketing Academy in 1999, having recognised certain prior limitations.

"We started our marketing academy ten years ago as we realised we had slipped in eminence in marketing capability and our marketing had become fragmented," Helen Lewis, Unilever's marketing director, brand development, told Marketing Week.

"When you want to globalise, that slows you down. It has brought to the business a common language, greater understanding and focus."

"Our chief marketing officer, Keith Weed, is encouraging our marketing leadership to take more ownership of this so that we practise what we preach."

Such strategies are not restricted to the FMCG sector, with financial services provider MasterCard naming a new group head of global consumer marketing and group head of global media last year.

The duties attached to these roles incorporated optimising expenditure, and "global oversight and management" of media, planning and budgeting.

"As a global company, we seek executives with a global purview and expertise that enhance our leadership and bring fresh perspective," said Alfredo Gangotena, MasterCard's chief marketing officer.

Elsewhere, Xerox, the document management firm, recently unveiled an innovative multimarket campaign, described as the "most ambitious" in its history.

It contained other brands - like Procter & Gamble's Mr Clean, Target's Bullseye dog and a bellman representing Marriott Hotels - to demonstrate how Xerox serves major customers.

"It's all about communicating the new Xerox in fresh and engaging ways to disrupt legacy perceptions of the Xerox brand," said Christa Carone, Xerox's cmo.

As previously reported, General Electric has also sought to transform corporate models in this area, fostering collaboration irrespective of physical location.

Data sourced from Brand Learning, Marketing Week, MasterCard, Xerox; additional content by Warc staff