Please share an example of an innovation that didn't turn out as expected.
‘Around 2016 or 2017 pulled pork was really popular at festivals. But it was also a little bit the domain of hipsters, which is not necessarily where McDonald's sits. We wanted to progress and introduced the McWrap pulled pork. It created a lot of complexity as it wasn’t in our DNA to do that. We also got a lot of backlash on the web. It was a big learning point: you must reinvent yourself within your DNA and understand where you have the right to play. There is enough innovation possible within our own space.’When did you realize you wanted a job in marketing?
‘I'm a bit of a marketer by accident. I studied management and organization and could not choose a direction. So, I ended up with general classes, including marketing. Mars were brave enough to take me on and there, for the first time, I saw a truly branded company. I think they had 10 or 12 billion-dollar brands worldwide back then. It was all about brands, talking to ad agencies, talking with creatives, defining strategy, and I started to like that. I did the whole commercial side of the organization, but I enjoyed marketing and branding most - especially the philosophy behind it, and trying to recruit consumers. The moment you put out a campaign, waking up early the next morning, thinking: ‘Oh, this is a bit scary...’ I like that.’What's your advice for next generation marketers?
‘Really understand the DNA of your brand, what the brand means for consumers, the role it plays. If the brand wouldn't be there, what would the world miss? What would your consumer miss? Be faithful to what the brand really is, because that is the equity that sits with the consumers. The gold is in there. If you have a brand that withstood the test of time, there's probably some relevance in that role. You need to adapt to the changing context and understand how you can fulfill that role within three, four, five years from now, and then work towards that.’Which marketing trend keeps you awake?
‘The fragmentation of the media landscape. If brands do not learn how to reach a mass audience in the coming years, then they might lose out. Many brands still spend 50 per cent or more on linear TV. But in the US, streaming television is already bigger than linear. In two, three years from now you cannot buy simple ad space anymore. So, how are you going to reach the masses then?’Google and Meta?
‘Well, yes. But building your brand through digital is quite hard. I mean, do you like pre-rolls? You’re thinking: why is this brand irritating me? So, finding a relevant way to the world of our consumers in the future is going to be a completely different art or discipline. That's what we need to prepare for.’
Image sources: McDonald's - Our History