In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?
Trying to ensure your sustainable brand message is heard in a heavily competitive marketplace means finding innovative and creative ways to engage customers. Kellogg’s digital marketing team has recently been on overdrive to succeed.
Kellogg’s head of digital marketing, Nadeem Amin, told CMO the brand takes its sustainable branding message very seriously and believes it is a great way to engage with consumers in an informative and authentic way.
“I don’t think sustainable branding is a fad, I look at sustainability as good design and good design is good business, it’s a way forward through communication, innovation, relevancy and quality,” he said. “There’s a price to pay if any of these are compromised.
“We also look at what our consumers care about, what do we tell them and how do they want to consume that information. We try to connect with our consumers in an informative and authentic voice and provide as much transparency as we can.”
Shareability and transparency
One of Kellogg’s recent initiatives was the Open for Breakfast campaign, which saw the brand responding via a dedicated digital channel, www.openforbreakfast.com.au, to consumer queries about anything and everything relating to its cereal brands including Special K, Corn Flakes, Rice Bubbles and Nutri-Grain. The questions and responses were then shared social channels, and not only include static content but also videos, infographics, images and vox pops.
“We talked about everything from how we make our cereal, what we believe our breakfast provides to our environmental responsibility,” Amin said. “It invites consumers to ask any question they would like to ask us and we promise to give them open and honest answer.”
From a socially conscious perspective, Kellogg’s Free Book campaign saw Kellogg’s give at least 5000 books to The Smith Family's student2student reading program for primary school-aged children.
“There was a consumer-facing campaign that offered free books for every box of cereal purchased,” Amin said. “The campaign was designed with share ability in mind and the mechanic allowed consumer to get the book, give it to a charity or gift it to their loved one. Looking at the success of this campaign, we may run this again in the future.”
Nutri-Grain Unstoppable initiative has been Kellogg’s most successful campaign to date, Amin continued. The concept was derived from research carried out with ReachOut.com that found today’s teens feel want to do everything and achieve it all but feel constrained, Amin said.
“The study found that while 80 per cent of Australian teens are setting goals for themselves, only 20 per cent actually achieve them. And only 45 per cent felt optimistic about the future,” he said.
“Nutri-Grain felt it could offer an inspirational platform by sharing stories of people who have overcome great challenges. We started with Derek Rabelo, a blind Brazilian surfer who went on to surf the legendary Pipeline in Hawaii and took on other daring challenges like downhill skateboarding. There were few other extremely talented people like Andy Hensel, Nathan Charles, Ali Day and Kendrick Louis who contributed with their own inspirational and Unstoppable stories.”
Relevant and timely content
But one of the challenges Kellogg’s has faced when it comes to attracting, engaging and retaining customers has been ensuring content is relevant and timely.
“Most of the time, we consume content just to see if it is something we need and once we realise it is not we quickly move on. However, in doing so, we reject what we leave behind almost completely,” Amin said. “This is a problem because it means that if we as a brand are not relevant in our content marketing, we will be rejected. So the challenge is to be relevant with engaging content delivered in consumable chunks to the right target audience at the time they want it.”
Tapping emerging technologies is another way of achieving this, and Amin said the brand is no stranger to virtual reality and augmented reality, which he sees as able to deliver great brand experiences.
“I don’t think we are going to sell cereal through VR but we want to explore and respond to our consumer base that uses technology to engage and experience our brand in a unique way,” he said.
Late last year, Kellogg’s released a Nutri-Grain campaign in New Zealand allowing customers to build their own DIT virtual reality goggles from their cereal box.
“We offered three extreme outdoors experiences through VR,” Amin explained. “We provided the lens and printed the VR goggle inside the NG cereal pack. Consumers were directed to download three fully immersive 360-degree videos of mountain bike track, a wing suit experience, and downhill longboarding.”
According to Amin, Kellogg’s has made several strides in digital to further its brand experiences. A few years back, the company built its digital platform from ground up consolidating digital tools and services.
“We came down to two development technologies from seven, and from about 78 plus digital agencies are now down to handful today,” he said. “We also paid close attention on how we work and moved from a vendor mindset to partner approach which has resulted in vastly improved relationships.”
With the back-end technology consolidation, Amin claimed Kellogg’s also streamlined how it delivered digital and invested time and knowledge in simplifying the delivery framework, well defined processes and roles for both internal and external teams.
“This gives us a tremendous agility to respond in a well-structured way but without going into too many approval or review loops,” he said. “The cost and time saved is invested back into our brand building.
“By carefully structuring the base marketing technology platform we are now able to provide speed to the market, innovation, agility, security, cost benefits and performance quite uniquely among our competitors. Through this agility and forward thinking, we are probably among the first CPG clients in Australia to adopt programmatic ad serving. “
Amin spoke to CMO ahead of the Sustainable Brands 2016 event to be held in Sydney later this month.