Kellogg Grapples With Social ROI

Kellogg’s digital priorities for the remainder of 2012 are centered on looking at marketing as holistically as possible through the lens of a paid, owned and earned media model. The company looks at digital marketing on a brand-per-brand basis in an effort to figure out how to make one and one add up to three while also ensuring that all marketing drives earned media.

According to Bob Arnold, associate director for Kellogg North America’s digital strategy, the CPG brand is wrestling with how to gauge success in social media.

What are Kellogg’s digital priorities in 2012?
We are trying to market as holistically as possible from the lens of paid, owned and earned media. We are constantly making sure our marketing drives earned media. Some of the things we have seen becoming bigger across the whole company is programmatic buying. All of our digital media is slowly going that way. Mobile and social search are also big areas for us to focus on. We are focusing on going where the consumers are going.

What are the biggest challenges in the digital space for CPG brands like Kellogg’s?
What is tricky for us is, we are not direct marketers, and it becomes hard for us to understand what is working best. Like Twitter and Pinterest, for example, where there are no industry standards for measurement, it is about gut instinct. So the measurement piece is a challenge, especially in the emerging areas.

What are your thoughts on Facebook as an ad vehicle?
Facebook, in general, is very positive for marketers. From our perspective it all goes back to brand strategy and objective, and where it has made sense, we have used it and it has worked. But I think what’s really exciting about Facebook is it is a great way to identify people who have a strong affinity for our brands. Facebook is a platform that lets these people self-identify themselves. Then it is up to us as marketers to encourage them and get them excited about our brand. That’s Facebook from a loyalty perspective. Driving brand awareness is interesting because of all the data about consumers on Facebook. It really lets us find and talk to the right consumers.

If you had all of the brand managers from the world’s largest advertisers in one room, what would be your advice?
Before talking about digital itself – because that is just one thing in the marketing arsenal — talk about brand purpose and why does the brand exist. Also, think about it from the equity standpoint and why people love your brand. Then, once you have extreme clarity of what that is, you can decide how you want to go about it. Digital is a way to make that come alive. It lets you engage in dialogue with consumers and adjust how you speak with them as well.

What are your expectations for Pinterest?
We have some brands experimenting on Pinterest. At this point, our strategy is to fish where the fish are, and we are doing our best to play within that environment. We are not looking to pull people out of the Pinterest environment and onto our site. Instead, we are focusing our efforts on creating content and making it easy and accessible to consumers. While most of our brands are not in the recipe category, there are some – like Rice Krispies – that are. And for them Pinterest is really logical. Right now, Pinterest is really about branding and awareness around product information and recipes. We want to make sure our content is easy to share. Right now, it is hard to measure the impact of what you’re doing on Pinterest.

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