Brad Hiranaga, Chief Brand Officer of General Mills, talks to WARC’s Anna Hamill on how to fight disruption, transforming a company’s marketing culture and using data to inform decision-making.
To see a list of the brands that General Mills owns is to take a tour through icons of American consumer history: Pillsbury. Betty Crocker. Cheerios. Yoplait. Lucky Charms. Nature Valley. One hundred brands and a $15 billion company, competing all over the grocery store.
But a glittering stable of legacy brands means little in the world of constant disruption, and General Mills has been no different in needing to evolve, according to Brad Hiranaga, Chief Brand Officer at General Mills. And for the 150+ year old company, the disruption has not only been in the type of products that consumers are looking for, but also in how it approaches its marketing.
The last few years haven’t been easy for any mass-market food company, General Mills included. A slow decline in the cereals category – a huge part of the General Mills business – occurred as QSR brands and protein-based alternatives staked their claim. At the same time, the grocery stores that General Mills brands were sold in, such as Walmart and Kroger, launched their own white-label products at value-driven price points.