The global holistic content and owned assets lead at the FMCG giant explains the process of creating content for global brands around the world.

Read the whitepaper 'Local, global or glocal: Effective brand governance in the age of marketing transformation' here.

Headshot of Alexis Herail

Alexis Herail, Global Holistic Content and Owned Assets Lead, Nestlé Global

How complex has governing and managing global brands become recently?

We live in an integrated communication world, where simply developing TV copy doesn't suffice anymore. And then there’s also an explosion of contact points – social media like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube – where a consumer engages with brands. This takes the complexity a notch higher as brands must be present where their audience is. For instance, the media budget is more heavily skewed towards digital now with 51% investment in 2021 for Nestlé.

We are trying to streamline the way we manage and develop our content. We buy media for all these different contact points and formats to engage with our audiences, across the stages of the consumer experience framework to deliver effective communication.

Are your brands more global these days or have they always been very global?

Nestlé has approximately 1,800 brands but a limited number of them are global. Our footprint is a lot higher with local or regionally-managed brands. Having said that, a few – like Nespresso and Nescafé, for instance – are global. Managing these global brands imposes a new way of working. We need to know how brands are classified (i.e. global vs. local), in order to successfully manage Nestlé’s brand fundamentals and its content operating models.

To develop integrated brands at Nestlé, we have an approach called ‘Brand-Building the Nestlé Way’ (BBNW); it’s the Nestlé framework for the brand-building community all over the world.

The framework defines key components a brand needs to prepare for any communication. This includes everything from essential tools in defining target consumer portraits, audiences, crystallising the brand purpose to developing the big idea and the brands’ communications. They’re guidelines and Communication Toolkits we have developed especially for global brands, and we use technology for this.One new element of Nestlé’s brand fundamentals from the ‘BBNW’ framework are the Strategic Content Territories (SCT’s). These are three to five territories that define a given brand with an associated topic. So, all Nestlé brands are developing strategic content territory guidance and storing them on a brand management integrated platform called the Nestlé Content Hub Category Portal powered by Frontify.

What about the contact points from the retailer's end? How has that changed overall?

With the development of the web and e-retailers, what we call ‘evergreen content’ has become critical.

‘Evergreen content’ is all the content that is tied to our product – descriptions or product names, the imagery, the product videos, everything. This has become increasingly important because we know it affects the search results on the web. We know that even Amazon is becoming a key destination channel when it comes to product searches. It’s also why our brands need to develop this ‘evergreen content’ in a very industrialised fashion.

Furthermore, evergreen content even considers product imagery, which is now completely built using CGI. We also use advanced imagery that is showcasing the product out of the box.

We need to have strong credentials when it comes to our online shelves as it helps consumers understand the product better and it deeply impacts conversion rates.

What are the considerations for you when it comes to global brand governance?

We created a new content operating model. When you're managing a global brand like ‘Starbucks At Home’ , for instance, you need to have this consistency in look and feel across all markets. That's why we have the ‘Coffee Content Studio in South Africa’ that is developing a large part of the brand’s key content needs on an annual basis. It’s coming bottom-up from all the zones and the markets.

Furthermore, all markets need to know the content calendars with schedules. The way to harness these Communications Toolkits correctly is to equip our global brands with the right content operating model and constantly develop content for all digital channels. This enables the markets to take up last-mile adaptation, culture and language checks.

Any guidance from when it's gone wrong in the past? Any stories on when it's gone wrong in particular?

I don't have a special story on how it went wrong. But I do know that it can go terribly wrong when you don’t give all your markets the content they need. When we are not equipped with all the guidance from the brands, things can go off.

We use influencer marketing, we could have seen some initiatives where the influencer that was promoting could have developed content that was off-brand. It’s cases like this that make Brand guidelines & Communication Toolkits so important.

How does it all work with agencies in terms of asset distribution?

All our brands have what we call lead creative agencies. For example, we have MRM for Starbucks At Home that develops all the prime communications.

This is not sufficient, though. The brand needs to create communication for its online shelf, social, and much more. This is why we have a Coffee Content Studio. It develops annual content plans for the brand for markets across countries.

It is a team of copywriters, designers, and filmmakers in one place so that we can shoot and develop content depending on the needs of the season. For example, it was very hot this season, so we developed a lot of ice coffee recipe assets. This set-up helps us react quickly to trends and consumer needs.

How are you trying to reduce digital assets wastage?

The first thing that we are looking at is that our assets adhere to creative hygiene. ‘CreativeX’ is our first wastage-reducing tool when it comes to effectiveness. For example, if we are using long-form videos on a Facebook feed, when the recommended best practice is 10 seconds maximum, then we are not maximising the effectiveness. So it’s these rules that we apply at scale now for over 500k digital assets per year.