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Kraft Heinz: ‘If we don’t have consumers at the centre of everything then we’ve lost’

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Marketers are often accused of being distracted by shiny new stuff and focusing on the latest technology and what it can do rather than the bigger picture. And often without thinking about how it will actually benefit the end consumer.

But for Diana Frost, growth director at Kraft Heinz in North America, technology should never be the starting point.

“I love all these conversations about technology. But technology is a deciding factor,” she said while speaking at Cannes Lions today (June 21). “Never forget humanity. If we don’t put people and consumers at the center of everything we do, we’ll lose.”

To ensure Kraft Heinz is organized with the consumer at the center of all of its thinking, the business has implemented a flexible framework, which she admits is “easier said than done” given its size and the size of the company.

But the way Kraft Heinz works is to organize projects around “essential focus groups that are cross-functional in nature.”

“If you were solving an important challenge and a business problem, you would put a focus group on it,” she explains. “It’s not 10% of their time, not 5% of their time – it’s their whole part and you change the governance structure around it. You shift responsibilities around it.

Marketing is synonymous with innovation, and to drive that must first come from engagement and talent.

Diana Frost, Kraft Heinz

She adds that it allows teams to be much more creative because it creates fewer barriers.

“The bureaucracy kills creativity. If you have to have 27,000 people approve of something that you do, or if you have a matrix organization that makes you go from place to place to make that summary, and it’s not just a summary , then that’s what kills creativity.” she speaks.

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“Think of it from a product innovation [point of view], think of it in terms of creativity and communication. But also think of it in terms of disruption and supply chain and innovation through the entire value chain.”Heinz launches first global brand platform

Reshape risk taking

Taking risks is often seen as a way to drive innovation, but Frost says for marketers to feel comfortable enough to experiment, risk-taking must be “reframed” like learning. .

“Marketing is synonymous with innovation, and to drive that must first come from engagement and talent,” she said, adding that the right processes and systems must be in place to let allowing marketers to be creative.

She said Kraft Heinz is “seeding” a lot of ideas and innovations, knowing that many of them will not succeed, but if one out of 10 projects succeeds, it will “transform the company”.

“But if you don’t have [framework in place] and you’re just asking people to take the risk it’s not going to happen because from this vantage point, people see it as a performance review,” she explains.

“Part of Kraft Heinz’s transformation was that creativity had to pass through the entire marketing function. I see marketing as the main integrator, the key collaborator, and it is breaking down those barriers to facilitate innovation across the entire value chain rather than in the creative function alone.”



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