With Kraft announcing recently that it would split its business in two, with Kraft Foods Europe forming part of the global snacks division of the company, the company’s European vice president of marketing, Daryl Fielding, explains her new approach to managing her brands.
MW: How does marketing work at Kraft?
DF: We look at deep cultural insights, which is what we are doing for all our brands as part of our new marketing framework. So we have done ethnography studies for Milka, where we watch people living their lives rather than interviewing them about their chocolate habits. We have done this in Russia, Poland, Serbia, France and Germany. If you look deeply at people there are many similarities. That is an absolute requirement – if you are ever going to do decent global communications, you have to find the deep human stuff.
We have been developing and piloting a new approach to marketing over the last year. This changes the conversation internally, with our agencies, partners and consumers. Part of it is looking at strategy for the brands. In Europe, we are also looking at a new customer journey tool.
MW: Can you explain more about the new customer journey tool you have invested in?
DF: We have created a bespoke electronic piece of software that will help us understand where we can best place our marketing investment and where we might lose and gain customers on the path to purchase. So, for example, can people find us in store? Have they heard of us? Have they heard of us but wouldn’t consider us? And are they finding the information they need on the pack?
This is a piece of software in which you input data or priorities based on the collective wisdom of the team and it helps prioritise channel or media investment. For example, with [coffee machine] Tassimo, it is quite a complex path for consumers, because they buy the brewer and then get to learn how to use it. Then they buy the coffee, tea and hot chocolate [sachets].
Advocacy is also a part of it. Really understanding how the consumer makes that journey has created some very different investment decisions around media channels. We now recognise the importance of some channels over others that we hadn’t identified before having this approach. This tool allows us to understand where we should most readily deploy investment.
We have used this tool for Milka and [American brand] Macaroni & Cheese and we already have the strategic outputs for those. We have also done it on biscuit brand Lu and Trident but we don’t have the outputs yet.
MW: Can we expect to see Lu launched in the UK?
DF: From the UK perspective, people aren’t always aware of some of our local heritage brands such as Lu. It is a $1.2bn brand in France and started with a love story between a baker and shop keeper in Nantes in the nineteenth century. It is not here [in the UK]. I can’t tell you about what we will or won’t do with it here.
MW: Other large businesses such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever have recently invested in corporate branding campaigns. Kraft has ’make today delicious’ as an internal strapline. What’s your view of corporate branding?
DF: There are consumers who want to know about the company that makes their product. For those who are interested we have updated our European website and we can also use it to tell our sustainability stories. There is a very good role for the employee brand bringing together Cadbury, Kraft and Lu and that is where we see the role of the corporate brand. But who knows, particularly given the news [that the company will be split into a global snacks business and a North American grocery business], how we will evolve that.
When [global CEO] Irene Rosenfeld returned to Kraft [from Frito-Lay, part of PepsiCo] ’make today delicious’ was developed globally as an internal rallying cry. It is about making yummy food, having fun at work, drive and excitement.
MW: What is your view of how the Cadbury/Kraft merger has been handled, especially in the light of criticisms of Irene Rosenfeld is not attending a department of Business, Innovation and Skills Committee?
DF: As a Brit, it pains me hugely how Irene has been treated here. She is a great woman and I wish she had been made more welcome.
MW: You took on your role in January 2010, just as Kraft’s Cadbury acquisition was going through. Why join then?
DF: For me, it was about joining a company that had awesome brands. I knew [before starting] that there was a conversation about whether Kraft would acquire Cadbury but I joined because of the brands it had [prior to the Cadbury merger joining]. We are very excited and committed to Cadbury. Because I am British, people assume that I am from the Cadbury organisation, which I am delighted and proud to be considered part of.
MW: There have been several changes since the Cadbury buyout, with executives such as Mike Clarke, Kraft’s European CEO, leaving to run Premier Foods. How is the integration going?
DF: For me personally, I am sad to see Mike leave but he was offered the chief executive role at a big UK plc [Premier Foods] and I think he wanted to come back to the UK.
Naturally, people are a little uncertain as with any change, but we are integrating both Cadbury and Lu and that is so far going pretty well.
MW: What relationship do you have with your global chief marketing officer Mary Beth West and chief executive Irene Rosenfeld?
DF: I have a dotted line report to Mary Beth and I see Irene now and again. I saw her most recently in the context of Mike [Clarke] moving on. Irene has a great sense of humour, is very human and bright and I feel privileged to work for a big public company run by a woman. I think ’you go girl’. I don’t think she necessarily makes much of that. For the women in the business, that is very inspiring. On the executive team at Kraft Foods Europe, there are three women on the executive team – the finance director, head of corporate affairs and me.
Daryl Fielding on…
…agency relationships and the ongoing Trident gum pitch
“I believe in a small number of decision-makers – especially around something creative, it is good business practice. Creative work is very subjective and if you have 15 people [deciding on it] you will dumb it down and you will get the work that everyone doesn’t dislike.
Kraft is a very large and complex business and I am a champion of having a tight group of decision-makers. If you are a decision-maker, I think you should be mostly present at agency presentations, at the discussions and at the delivery. I have spent quite a lot of the last six months delivering the work on Milka.
[Chief marketing officer] Mary Beth West supports this and it is what we are doing with the global Trident gum pitch at the moment. I am sensitive to not hurting the incumbent’s feelings and I have got some lovely work from JWT in London, but when we looked at the bigger picture, we felt that we weren’t getting the work we wanted. You would always prefer to do it with your existing agency partner and the pain barrier is high, particularly across so many countries. But if you don’t feel you are getting the work you want you have no choice but to look elsewhere.”
…her previous role at Ogilvy, running the Dove account
“Consumers told us the advertising for Dove was dull and they were right [and as a result, the successful ’campaign for real beauty’ was developed].
Probably the second Dove ad we made went too far. It was for body lotion and we used women with flaws like scars, freckles and moles and it went a bit too far with the scars. It was shot in black and white and I don’t think we had the right director. The women didn’t look as though they thought they were beautiful.
To an extent, if you are creating and curating a brand and you want to be new and exciting, you almost need to go to the edge of it to know where that edge is. So I don’t think it was a bad thing to have done. The Dove journey was one where I was quite scared because it was so different. I’m often scared but I do it anyway. People have said I’m fearless, but I’m actually quite fearful, but go ahead anyway.
…being commercial director at Independent News and Media, June 2008 to October 2009
“That is a bit of an aberration in the whole trajectory really. I wanted to do something that really challenged me and got me out of a rut at Ogilvy. I was approached by the Independent. I wasn’t looking for another job, but I thought it would be interesting and it is a great brand.
It was a different discipline [sales, rather than the role at creative agency Ogilvy she had had]. I was hired in good economic times as a strategic person who would grow the business. But the market went downhill very fast and what they needed was a tactician, which I am not. So I felt within six months that it was a mistake.
We were living through ad revenues being down 40% for the industry and there was a boardroom battle including [Sir Anthony] O’Reilly and [Denis] O’Brian [who offered to help buy out the title with their own cash in 2009 before Alexander Lebedev bought the business]. So anyone that can sell anything in that environment should get some credit.
I was the right person at the wrong time, so after six months, I felt they needed a different breed, someone a bit more old school. Eventually Simon Kelner [the then editor] came around to my way of thinking.
The Independent was a great change of gear and I don’t regret it for a minute. Simon was awesome, it was just that the environment was almost impossible to perform in.
I was all set to go and start my own brand consultancy but Kraft approached me completely out of the blue. I felt that it almost looked like the business I would set up given a blank sheet of paper, so why would I not go and do it?”
Marketer to marketer
Anita Kinniburgh, marketing manager, Global Ethics (the One brand) asks Daryl Fielding: what issues do you predict will arise with so many brands seeking to engage consumers on a more intrusive level – and through so many forms of media?
“That is really interesting. I think that the role of creativity and imagination will become increasingly important. People don’t have time to be engaging with everything. Capturing people’s imaginations or being incredibly useful is going to become increasingly important. We have had TV advertising for 50 years – in 50 years time there will probably be new classical ways of marketing but we are just learning and discovering that at the moment.
There has always been a limit to consumer attention and what triumphs is creativity, imagination and providing something valuable, so that is why you need creative agencies.”
Louise Routledge, head of UK marketing, Bookatable asks Daryl Fielding: do you think digital marketing has advantages over more traditional techniques when it comes to creating the sort of ’consumer centric’ campaigns you’ve been tasked with at Kraft?
“I am very passionate about the judicious deployment of resources, because there is a terrible tendency to go after the new thing.
Modern marketing says ’we must have a Facebook page, or oh god, should it be an app?’ and I think you have to fully recognise the role of that in the marketing mix.
In some products, it is way more important than others. It is fundamental for Philadelphia -which has a strategy around versatility and getting people to cook with it – so we have recipes online for example.
For other brands, the role of digital media might be very small. I get very frustrated when companies are constantly asked what percentage of the mix is in digital. I don’t really care. I care that we are doing the right thing in digital with the right brands. People aren’t dwelling a long time on the internet looking for biscuits but they are looking for recipes.”
Patrick Vandingenen, vice president, food, health & beauty for The Walt Disney Company EMEA, asks Daryl Fielding: with an extensive global portfolio of food brands, how do you overcome the competition of private label? And what do you think of venture brands such as Tesco’s ChokaBlok?
“You overcome the competition of private label by adding value to the brands and differentiating them. The thing that has been difficult has been the volatility and speculation [in terms of commodity prices]. I think neither retailers nor Kraft wish to put prices up but inevitably things aren’t sustainable from a business point of view unless you do that.
Quite a few retailers are [producing their own non-branded goods] and that is their right. Competition is always good for the consumer, we always face fresh challenges and you ultimately try to create proprietary products and brands that consumers prefer. It sounds easier to say than to do. Oreo is such a unique thing; Toblerone too. “
Daryl Fielding CV
January 2010 to date Vice president, marketing, Kraft Foods Europe
2008 – October 2009 Commercial director, The Independent and Independent on Sunday, Independent News and Media
1998-2008 Various roles at Ogilvy including head of account management and global business partner, Unilever, leading the development of Dove’s campaign for real beauty.
1996-1998 Board director, BMP DDB working on Labour’s General Election campaign
1989-1996 Board account director, Lowe Howard Spink running Vauxhall Motors business
1981-1989 Account management roles at Chetwynd Haddons, DDB, Abbott Mead Vickers