The Campbell Soup Co., the food manufacturer, is mixing a series of “non-negotiable” principles that apply throughout its operations with brand-specific strategies as it develops purpose-driven efforts.

Mark Clouse, president/CEO of the Campbell Soup Co., discussed this subject as part of an online “Cultural Relevance during a Cultural Reckoning” panel hosted by Barbarian, the New York-based agency.

“Our purpose starts with this idea of real food that matters for life’s moments,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Campbell Soup Co.’s CEO: Brands can help drive social change.)

“That’s built upon a foundation of authenticity and transparency, whether it’s the ingredient lines of our products, how we engage with consumers, or disclosure of our diversity numbers in a public way.

“We start there and then work our way into values like … ‘act like an owner’, ‘embrace diversity’, and ‘do right and be real’. These are aspects of our culture that we advance on.”

Drilling down, Clouse explained that its “givens” and “non-negotiables” across every brand include a “commitment to embrace diversity” and a “committed stance against racism and hate”.

To deliver on such promises, he added, the company makes sure that detailed plans and metrics are put in place, and that senior leadership takes responsibility for achieving progress.

“We hold ourselves accountable. We set goals. We discuss them in our boardroom … and tackle problems in very systemic detail,” Clouse said.

From a practical standpoint, the parts that products and people play need to find a careful balance to ensure that “brands show up in their voice”, and so avoid messaging that could seem inauthentic and opportunistic.

“There is a risk that sometimes the individual perspectives may overtake the brand voice,” Clouse said, “so delineating between what our responsibilities are as stewards of these brands … with what we may be feeling personally is tricky.”

Given the range of offerings in its portfolio, from its flagship Campbell’s brand to Pepperidge Farm baked goods and Prego pasta sauces, the role of each brand will necessarily be different.

“We want to be authentic and true to ourselves, but we also want to really understand the voice of our brand,” Clouse said.

“It’s really important to take the time to work through [your voice] with your teams to create guardrails and a framework that then empowers the team to have the conversation.”

Sourced from WARC