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The Key to Innovation in Marketing

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It is every business’s dream to create a long-lasting legacy for their brand that spans generations, demographics, and target audiences. Longevity is hard to come by and sustain, especially with the influx of brands all competing against one another to take up space in the minds of consumers. After all, experts estimate that Americans come in contact with anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every day. As you can imagine, this makes it incredibly difficult to stand out and experience success. It also makes it even harder to sustain that success for extended periods of time. But some brands have managed to figure it out.

For over a century, the Kellogg company has experienced immense success, carving its name into pop culture and the zeitgeist each step of the way. The brand has become a household name for its breakfast foods and snacks. Yet, it begs the question of how has Kellogg been so successful over such an extended period?

To maintain its success for over 116 years, Kellogg has relied on innovative marketing, taking gambles on creative endeavors, and radical methods of measuring its success. Kellogg remains a leader in gaining and maintaining success over many years. To dig deeper into just how this century-old cereal brand has operated, and what other younger brands can do themselves, Google spoke with Kellogg North America Chief Marketing Officer Gail Horwood.

Making Innovation a Priority

Kellogg has been a stalwart company across multiple generations, yet they continue to reinvent themselves and come up with new tactics of marketing their products. Most recently, they were recognized with an Effie and a Sabre Award for their Rice Krispies write-on wrappers. They also won a Digital Content Marketing Award for Frosted Flakes. So, how has a century-old company been able to find success after all these years?

Horwood explains that it’s “not coming up with innovative marketing ideas, it’s executing on them while still using tried and tested tactics that drive impact at scale.” She explains that you don’t need to sacrifice your current marketing strategies to make room for your new innovative tactics. Horwood explains that an individual has the job of implementing these new ideas into current plans. Instead of having these tactics operating on their own and concurrent with preexisting campaigns, they are integrated, which helps save time and money.

The Art of Risk-Taking

Google highlights how Kellogg has taken many risks in the past to promote their products and brand. Some have worked, as we pointed out earlier, while others have fallen flat. To help us understand, Horwood explained that you must understand what your risks truly are. You need to know what happens if a risk doesn’t work out and how it affects your business and your customers, whether that be in sales, reputation, or ROI.

Horwood highlights a recent risk they took: the world’s first breakfast cereal record, a vinyl literally made of their cereal product that played music. The risk laid in the fact that no one had ever created a product like this before. However, what finally made them decide to follow through with the risk was the potential downside.

The purpose of the record was to drum up buzz and discussion around their product, Chocolate Frosted Flakes. They came to the conclusion that this risk of potentially not building the buzz they hoped for wasn’t enough of a downside for them to not take it.

Utilizing Best Practices

Throughout the years of success Kellogg has had, they have learned quite a lot when it comes to marketing their brand and products. In those years, they’ve learned to rely on the best practices each platform presents. Kellogg established a creative effectiveness scorecard that helps them measure how well creative best practices on each platform are performing. This scorecard also lets them regulate their media to balance creative perspective with reach, frequency, and smart targeting. Horwood goes on to quote a Neilson study that states that 47% of ROI is made up of creative effectiveness.

Key Takeaways

For over a century, Kellogg has operated as one of the largest and most recognizable brands on the planet. They managed to stay relevant and successful by adapting at every step of the way. By focusing on marketing innovation, Kellogg has found a way to regularly remain as one of the world’s most popular brands.

Google’s interview with Kellogg North America Chief Marketing Officer Gail Horwood was able to shed some light on how this 100-year-old brand has seen continued success throughout the years. Some key takeaways are:

  • Integration: While it is important to develop new, innovative marketing ideas, it’s important to integrate them into campaigns and tactics that are ongoing. Do not separate them and run them concurrently to existing campaigns. This saves you time and money.
  • Risk-Taking: Recognize what your potential risks may be. How would these downsides harm your consumers, business, reputation, or ROI? If you’ve reviewed the downsides and believe it’s worth the risk, take it.
  • Best Practices: Lean on the best practices of each platform. Learn to balance creativity, reach, frequency, and smart targeting.
  • Improve Collaboration: Close the gaps between groups when it comes to creativity, media, strategy, and implementation. Make it feel as though it is one big team working together, keeping everyone in the loop.

Kellogg has seen sustained success for over a century by prioritizing innovation, allowing their brand to evolve and change with their audience. As history has shown, it has proven to be quite effective for the breakfast brand. Kellogg has laid the groundwork for long-term, continued success by placing emphasis on integration and risk-taking.