On a journey of transformation it is important to accept failure to reach your goals

We are on a journey of transformation at Groupe Bel and making it work can be tough. It is twice as difficult because what we were doing was working well. A year and a half ago we spent around 90% of our media budget on TV or traditional media and the results were effective.

Change management driven by crisis is one thing and makes it easy to get the entire team behind a radical reinvention but it’s tougher when what you already do appears to be working. Our solution has been to adopt Groupe Bel’s traditional collaborative approach to marketing and give our teams the tools to make that change. We may spend more talking about the change but once the process has been agreed we all align behind those new goals.

There have been three key things that have helped us start the transition to a new communication approach. First, at the heart of the process has been the need to sharpen the brand purposes or the missions of our core brands: The Laughing Cow, Mini Babybel, Kiri, Leerdammer and Boursin.

We know that consumers are looking for healthy, quality products and this is central. But we also want to connect with our second consumer truth that we can contribute to moments of happiness in a world that is more stressed and full of pressure.

Second, the collaboration within Groupe Bel was a revelation to me but we also wanted the dynamism and constant daring spirit that other companies do better. The new generation of leaders is more daring and will go for more ambitious goals trying to accelerate and put more pressure behind projects.

Our new mantra is that even if we did right one or two years ago, we can always do better. We are injecting this ambition, this daring into our organisation.

And third, the other key change has been the launch of our new ‘brand experience’ approach. Launched over a year ago, this was designed to help our teams develop truly engaging campaigns in a digital era. That meant refocusing our central team into training. The top priority for my team is marketing capability, using a new programme called ‘Road to Marketing Excellence’. We have reworked all our marketing tools and our training focuses not just on the technical challenges, but also the mindset to take it on.

We spend time sharing frustrations and talking about how secure we feel in making this journey. It is so important to say that we need to learn to accept failure as part of our efforts to establish new rules that change the way we think and act.

We have challenged our teams to use a part of their investment on new touchpoints or new ways to bring alive a touchpoint, measure that initiative and back it further if it is successful. We are going step by step, learning and reinvesting in what works, as well as asking colleagues to share their successes and failures so we don’t have to make the same mistakes in multiple markets.

We do not set top-down targets but in five years we should be investing an important part of our budgets outside traditional media. We are already seeing money moving from media to content and in some markets where we have less budget on a brand or a challenging position, we are putting 100% of the investment in non-traditional channels.

We are truly embarked on our journey of transition.

WFAlogo resizedMarianna Coronel is supporting the WFA’s Project Reconnect, which champions what’s good about marketing and showcases what impact it can have on the lives of the people we serve. It intends to raise the bar just a little in terms of some people’s perceptions of our industry.

Follow the cause @WFAReconnect and @WFAMarketers.

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