Tamara Howe, Kellogg’s new CMO aims to lift share of snack food and extended breakfast

Tamara Howe KelloggsKellogg’s new chief marketing officer, Tamara Howe, has pledged to bring marketing closer to the commercial and sales sides of the business as she sets in place her plans for the brand in 2016.

She also revealed the company has begun looking for an agency to handle its “dynamic creative”.

Speaking for the first time since she was appointed to take over from former CMO John Broome, who has joined Unilever, Howe said that there was tremendous opportunity to grow into new sectors such as snack food and continue to build the consumption of breakfast foods across the entire day.

“I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been at Kellogg’s for a long time so I really enjoy the company and the brand and the people and the business,” Howe told Mumbrella.

“John…was really passionate about great communication and that’s the great legacy he’s left behind.”

Howe oversaw the first campaign under her watch over the weekend, a new motivational campaign for Special K.

Kellogg's hope to build a mass following with its new message

Kellogg’s hope to build a mass following with its new message

“A couple of things that I’m focused on in the role is bringing more integration and commercial marketing skills to the team and having more of a holistic lens around the customer and the shopper…to enable us to build better relationships with sales.

“And also to have really strong credibility to be the catalyst for growth within the business.”

Howe said a particularly focus would be working more on the shopper side of the business.

“Certainly in the Australian landscape – I have come off of being in the US for almost five years – I think shopper is still an emerging capability in this market and one that still needs driving at Kellogg’s as well. So we’re focused very much up on that.”

While there has been a rise in cut-price competition from own-brand labels in the major retailers such as Coles and Woolworths and the arrival of home brand cereals in Aldi, Kellogg’s continues to dominate planograms in the major supermarkets.

“Kellogg has a very strong portfolio of brands and I think that has always been our advantage,” says Howe.

“Nutri-Grain is a really good case in point for that; when the private label copies have come out, if you like, we have proprietary technology on Nutri-Grain, which means that it’s very difficult to copy that food and therefore at the end of the day consumers tend to come back to Nutri-Grain and we don’t lose a lot of volume to private label.

“Investing in our food and our brands is very important to us.”

Kellogg’s has recently announced a partnership with people data activation specialists, Krux, to help build more engaged relationships with customers.

“Our ability to really maximise our work in media and digital (comes) through a deeper understanding of how consumers are engaging with that digital media – driving the right message to the right person at the right time on the right device. So we have appointed Krux as our data management partner to bring that holistic view to our digital ecosystem,” she said.Special K Nourish bars

“And then as we unlock the insight from the data we then want to leverage that in a dynamic way.

“The other partnership we are working on at the moment is who we need to partner with in dynamic creative. That is a big focus for us right now.

“We are not ready to announce anything on that yet.”

Howe said Kellogg’s is looking for: “the ability of the creative to flex very quickly according to the date that we get out of Krux. So our ability to really change the message with many multiples of different copy, imagery, etcetera, and to flex that in real time.”

Issues such as transparent marketing to children is also on her agenda – an issue which regularly creates headlines for the brand.

“We’re very aware of the sensitivities regarding marketing to kids and, as you said, we follow all the regulatory codes – the AANA Childrens’ Code and the AFGC’s marketing initiative – we’re committed to all those guidelines and I guess our other policy is just around transparency.

“We are very transparent with all of our foods, in all of our communications, in regards to the food.

“I think while it continues to be a topic of interest to everyone we want to continue to be part of that dialogue, and again we believe in choice and transparency.

Howe said despite the maturity of the Australian market there remains scope for growth.

“I think it’s still a tough business out there, but we are buoyant because the occasion is growing, so that gives us a lot of confidence,” she said.Pringles tube

“We are always renovating our food and launching new products and making sure that we have the most relevant options for consumers to choose.

“The other thing is within channels there is a lot of growth to be had, so the expansion of particular channels in the business is growing, which is good as well.

“We see 20-30 per cent of consumption of cereal, for example, is outside of that breakfast occasion so absolutely I think that’s a huge opportunity.”

She noted that while snacks through brands such as Pringles now represent 50% of Kellogg’s business overseas, they still account for just 25% of the business – another area of growth potential.

“There is a lot more headroom there.”

“The biggest challenge (overall) I think is bringing that more integrated approach to the team and really being  a partner with my fellow sales colleagues to drive up as a commercial team rather than what can often be an ‘us versus them’ mentality. And that doesn’t set us up for success.”

Simon Canning


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