How Mondelez is Creating Value by Hacking their Corporation

Originally posted on Expion’s Blog

When we think about the word hacker, it often raises concerns about being violated. Cell phone hacks, credit card hacks, illegal invasions of privacy.

But at Expion’s Social Summit in Raleigh B. Bonin Bough, Vice President of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelēz International, suggested a second definition, hackers as experts of programmatically solving problems.

Many big organizations have been slow to adapt at the speed of digital. Bough highlighted companies like Dropbox, Square and Pinterest who have all achieved valuations in excess of $2B in a short period of time. Conversely, companies like Levi’s and Radioshack have comparatively plateaued in terms of growth in a similar time.

For Bough, this hits home personally. He referenced a study Bain conducted that stated by 2020 every single consumer package good sold in a grocery store will be connected to the internet. As a company that sells more than 8 billion products per month, it’s feasible that Mondelēz could become one of the world’s largest technology companies.

But to Bough, Mondelēz wasn’t prepared for this change. How could big organizations like his reinvent career opportunities and team structures to prepare for this new generation of created value?

The answer is in the new phase of marketing Bough calls Hackonomy, or creating value by breaking things where there is a lot of value to be unlocked by breaking process and breaking norms. Click to tweet this.

One of the most popular embodiments of this mentality is Facebook and “The Hacker Way.” 

Coming out of hacker ethics, The Hacker Way is “an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo,” said Mark Zuckerberg in a letter included in Facebook’s S1 filing in 2012.

For the rest of us, it begs us to ask the question: “How do we reinvent ourselves daily, and how do we allocate resources to enable this hacker mentality?

Bonin gave some examples of how Mondelēz is hacking their marketing efforts internally.

Hacking Media

When you’re one of the world’s largest consumer package goods companies, you spend a lot of money on media, $198.7 million in 2012 in fact. 

Mondelēz found that they were reaching diminishing returns sooner than expected over the course of the past few years. After researching, they found that the only significant change that might account for this explanation is the growth of smartphones and tablets.

As uncovered in the #Expion14 Generation Z/Millennial Panel, Mondelēz’s next generation of consumers weren’t watching TV in the same places. They were moving to decentralized platforms like Vine, Twitter, and Facebook, or watching on tablets. This change isn’t a replacement for TV; it happens in addition watching live. When a commercial hits during a live broadcast, consumers see it as an invitation to pick up their laptops or phones.

So how do you take back the reach of millions in production of content and media spend and make it applicable for social audiences who are hopping from device to device? 

You atomize it.

Bonin and his team discovered that they could create twice the effectiveness of a television spot when they engaged in social at the same time. 

When you think about that, if you’re a CPG marketer spending 80% of your budget on TV, to make that work twice as hard for you is phenomenal.

So they took their activations and made them social. For a Wheat Thins “Sponsortunity” on The Colbert Report, they used Twitter’s video tools to clip and share pieces of the Colbert spot across various branded Twitter accounts.

After the integration, they found that they were able to create unduplicated reach resulting in almost 4x more people seeing the spot on Twitter than just buying the integration on TV alone. This didn’t even take into account the earned media that resulted from Colbert’s viral delivery as well.

They decided to take atomization one step further and built their own show with Fuse TV, creating a complete ecosystem for social marketing:

– Trident consumers tweeted about music and culture

– Trident and Fuse took tweets from consumers to form the basis for show topics on the Trident Fuse ‘Trending 10’

– People watched the show, saw their tweets on TV, and started new conversations in real time on Twitter

– Trident then cut up the TV show clips, shared 22 video clips across Twitter, and also created new Trident preroll ads for the clips from their own Trident TV show (because “nobody wants to watch the same preroll ad on 22 pieces of content” says Bough)

– Both new and old Trident consumers saw the ads, clips and tweets and started talking again, forming trends for a new show

– Rinse and repeat

The brand literally has a purpose at each stage of content creation and consumption, as you can see below.

Illustration by @nickcicero (not a real artist)

Hacking the Super Bowl

By now, pretty much everyone in marketing knows about “The Oreo Tweet,” a turning point in social marketing when Oreo’s team reacted to the blackout at the 2013 Super Bowl.

A small team sat inside a war room and pushed out the tweet that was created in the right place, at the right time, with the right message, resulting in Twitter madness, and advertising history.  

What’s interesting about “The Oreo Tweet” is not that it sparked the beginning of a new movement, but it was actually the culmination of a long running “hack” internally at Mondelēz to put the pieces in place to be able to make such a moment happen. 

Leading up to the Super Bowl, Oreo had been running their Daily Twist campaign, creating content for 100 days, not just for the US Market, but also were localizing content in six other countries.

That’s 600 pieces of content in 100 days that had to run through strategy, multiple agencies, creative, and legal approval every single day.

Through that process they developed the “muscle memory,” as Bough described it, to replicate and optimize that workflow. Additionally, they gained the ability to draft, publish and approve global content, while tracking and highlighting top performing content with Expion to build a successful process all the way through the creative lifecycle across multiple brands. 

For their team, the goal was not just making fun content in real time that resonated with pop culture. It was about hacking the workflow and culture around publishing social content inside the organization for the future.

Mondelēz has embodied the hacker mentality as they approach marketing communications, pushing their employees within these roles to go outside of traditional boundaries and processes to experiment with new ideas and to inspire others to unlock this value buried within.

You can watch the full presentation below, and we can all take a page from Bough’s mantra when he says – “The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Hack it.”

*Disclosure, Mondelēz Internatonal is a client of Expion



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