Kellogg unveils plan to boost global marketing

Kellogg: hires Brand Learning to improve global consistency
Kellogg: hires Brand Learning to improve global consistency

Kellogg is shaking up its marketing processes as it investigates more consistent ways of working among its 400-strong global marketing force.

Following a worldwide procurement pitch in which 10 providers participated, the cereal company has appointed specialist Brand Learning to lead a marketing capability project aimed at embedding common working processes across Kellogg's territories.

The various teams operate under a largely decentralised model. It is hoped the initiative will give the marketing discipline a more strategic role in driving business growth.

Initially, Brand Learning will develop and lead "masterclasses" for Kellogg's portfolio directors, 100 senior marketers who are each responsible for a group of brands. The plan will subsequently be expanded to the entire marketing force.

Mark Baynes, chief marketing officer at Kellogg, said he expected the project to enhance its marketing capabilities and commercial performance.

He said: "We (are aiming) to create a team inspired, equipped and enabled to drive stronger returns in this increasingly complex consumer landscape."

Harriet de Swiet, the Brand Learning group account director who runs the Kellogg account, said: "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."

In November, Kellogg posted third-quarter net earnings of $338m (£213m), a 6% fall on the same quarter a year ago. Net sales declined 4% to $3.2bn (£2bn). The company blamed the performance on increased competition in its core cereal category.

Total reported operating profit in the quarter decreased 5% to $541m, driven primarily by lower net sales and increased advertising investment.

At the time, David Mackay, Kellogg Company's chief executive, admitted the figures were "disappointing" and pledged to roll out "strong commercial plans and higher levels of innovation" in 2011.

Kellogg is not the first global brand to re-examine its international marketing practices.

Ford has developed a similar transformation plan, 'One Ford', which aims to engender a more consistent approach to its marketing.

This will result in cross-regional campaigns. Ford has denied this will result in a compromise on the quality of its local marketing output.

In my view – expert comment

Helen Lewis, Marketing director for brand development, Unilever

We started our marketing academy 10-years ago as we realised we had slipped in eminence in marketing capability and our marketing had become fragmented. 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.

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