Marketing innovation depends on cultural transformation: Cadbury, Oreo media chief

Speaking to mark the launch of Mondelez International's new Mobile Futures mobile marketing program, global media lead Bonin Brough talks about how he's fostering change by embracing start-up culture

External validation is key to instituting change and embracing new digital and marketing models, the global media lead for Cadbury, Oreos and other well-known snack brands claims.

Mondelez International vice-president of global media and consumer engagement, Bonin Bough, made the comment during a panel presentation marking the launch of the snacking giant’s Mobile Futures program in Australia. The focus of the panel was to look at what brands could learn from start-ups, and vice versa, to help drive new, innovative ways of engaging with consumers.

“External validation drives internal validation, yet very few people leverage that,” Brough told event attendees at start-up base, Hub Sydney, on 7 May.

“If you look at the last two-and-a-half years for our brands, the coverage has been about an Oreo tweet heard across the world, it’s the 3D printed Oreo – it’s all the things that highlight us as the poster child for how you transform marketing. As a result of us using communications externally and internally really well, we have forced ourselves into having a reputation that the organisation now has to live up to.

“If we’re out there saying this is the type of organisation we are, we need to reflect that internally… Every place we can, whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, we tell the innovation story of what we are driving because it also changes the mindset of the people working for us. All they see is how we’re changing the face of marketing.”

Brough also attributed the brand’s ability to embrace new digital models to tapping into a network of start-ups. “You have to go to where people are changing the world and building companies,” he said.

The Mobile Futures program, which has already launched in the US and Brazil, sees a selection of Mondelez International brands collaborating with start-up organisations to bring new mobile marketing offerings to market.

Read more: Why Mars and Qantas are investing into in-house digital skills

In Australia, five iconic Mondelez brands – Cadbury Dairy Milk, Marvellous Creations, Cadbury Favourites, Philadelphia cream cheese and belVita breakfast biscuits – will partner with five start-ups to help scale existing mobile services through marketing investment. Pilots must be launched to market in 90 days, and also involve brand leaders from Mondelez working inside the partner start-up’s organisation for one week. Each pilot is backed by $40,000 in funding.

The Australian initiative is focused on influencing the consumer path to purchase and closing the purchase loop in-store. Mondelez provides a brief on the brand challenge, and start-ups are asked to submit a rough cut of the start-up. The top 15 start-ups then present to the wider organisation before five are chosen.

Start-ups involved in the Mobile Futures partner network include Evol8tion, Pollenizer, LMBA, BlueChilli, TechBeach Manly, Spacecubed and ATP Innovations. Others interested in joining the program can apply via the Mobile Futures website until 1 June.

In an interview with CMO, Brough said the program was key to driving much-needed mobile skill sets and marketing investments within Mondelez itself, and fostering an “intrepreneurial” culture within the organisation.

When Mondelez launched in October 2012, one of the key priorities was an aggressive investment into mobility. The intention was to spend 10 per cent of all media investment in mobile channels, Brough said.

“When we stepped back and looked at consumer usage of this device, we realised this is one device used at every single aspect across the consumer journey,” he said. “Even more important, it’s also there with you when you’re close to the point of buying our products.

“What also became clear is that 24 per cent of media consumption is happening on a mobile device globally, yet mobile is getting less than 1 per cent of investment.”

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To get this investment up to double digits, Brough said it needed to build the capabilities to deliver mobile content, as well as embrace the disruptive culture fuelling mobile interaction with consumers.

“We can put videos, banner ads, search communications out there, but there’s this whole new world of engagement opportunities with mobile, where the roadmaps haven’t been written, and the books and best practices don’t exist,” Brough continued. “It’s about creating systemic culture change that will carry on over time and transform us as marketers.”

The Mobile Futures program has three goals: To identify the technologies shaping the future that Mondelez can run programs and spend marketing dollars with; create a platform that helps foster start-up success; and change the culture of the organisation.

An example of a pilot launched by Mondelez globally is with social navigation app, Waze, with 40 million US users. The start-up’s app is designed to help consumers beat road traffic and provides a map which also includes pins of physical landmarks such as a hotel, petrol station or convenience store.

Mondelez worked with them to show some form of marketing message for consumers who clicked onto those pins, Brough explained, creating a new ad unit for the app. It also worked with retail partners on specific offers to ensure they could track the entire path to purchase and whether those consumers redeemed vouchers in-store.

“We saw uplift of 10 per cent from that pilot,” Brough said. “While it doesn’t change the business overnight, but as a result we’re now scaling our work with Waze in the US, Brazil and the UK. It shows the life potential of these pilots is huge for start-ups and for us.”

Brough added another outcome for Mondelez is being able to operate at the pace of a start-up and become a more responsive marketing organisation.

“How do you become the number one mobile marketer in the world? Part of it is the resource piece, but the other part is you have to incentivise and institute cultural change in a way that’s exciting, and allows the people who work in your organisation to be proud of changing the way they think.”

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