General Mills Promotes Doug Martin To Brand Director

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Sign of his mark at General Mills, Doug Martin gives up the title of marketing director held by his predecessor.

Martin’s preferred title, brand director, fits better with the company’s strategy, said Martin, who begins today as director of disruptive growth and brand director at the food giant in Minneapolis. Martin has served as Director of Disruptive Growth since July of this year and was appointed Interim Marketing Director in July following the departure of Ivan Pollard. Her new role officially begins on January 3.

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The following interview with Martin has been slightly edited.

What does disruptive growth look like at General Mills?

We have a few groups within the company that we bring together for a growth ecosystem. We have an internal incubator for organic startups that we launch called G-Works, and a corporate venture capital capacity called 301 Inc. that invests in outside companies.

We’re bringing them together to think about how we’re going to create the next growth engine for General Mills: large-scale businesses that can be meaningful and make a difference. We ask how we can view them holistically, and also ask if there are any capacities that we lack.

G-Works was born from a team of three people two years ago and now we have a few brands. Bold Culture uses precision fermentation as an alternative to dairy products. Is it time for Yoplait to put precision fermented yogurt in every supermarket in America? No, the scale does not exist. But is this an incredible opportunity that we need to build right now? Yes. So we have a cream cheese that we are currently testing on the market.

Another good example is a brand called Good Measure. There’s something like 30 million Americans living with diabetes, so we’re building a brand that directly targets their needs. Food to eat without having a huge impact on blood sugar is the kind of thing that requires quite a deep knowledge of the community and very specific formulations. This brand has been tested at Hy-Vee and is doing quite well. It’s not ready for everyone everywhere, but these are great opportunities for growth. We should be experimenting and operating with them now.


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