Growing up, Bonin Bough wanted to be an astronaut. He would look up at the stars and wonder when he would get near them.
It's that same big thinking and passion to explore uncharted territory that has led him to become one of the industry's most innovative digital marketers.
Mondelez International, VP, global
media and consumer engagement
February 2012-October 2012
Kraft Foods, VP, global media
and consumer engagement
PepsiCo, senior global director
of digital and social media
Weber Shandwick, EVP, and director, global interactive, social, and emerging media
Ruder Finn Interactive, founding
member, SVP, interactive strategy lead
Since becoming VP of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez International in October 2012, Bough has been a driving force behind garnering the attention of consumers and media world-wide for many brand initiatives, such as Oreo Daily Twist and the Cadbury Dairy Milk 2012 Olympics campaign.
One of the most talked about efforts, in which Bough played an integral role, was the popular Oreo Dunk in the Dark tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout.
However, Bough says this effort is not just an "isolated incident."
"We've been preparing and building the muscle memory necessary to deliver on real-time marketing globally," he explains.
He declined to say if there was an increase in sales following the Super Bowl tweet.
One of the underlining pieces of the company's real-time marketing efforts is a combination of process and technology through Expion, a social media software company that powers Mondelez's social media command center called mPulse Lab.
The lab, which launched a trial run during this year's Super Bowl, has 78 different dashboards that scan social media channels to find mentions of Mondelez brands on Facebook and Twitter.
Bough says "PR is already operating in real time" as it's about pitching stories and moving with cultural changes, but paid media hasn't moved to that model yet, which is why Mondelez is working on mastering real-time marketing across all functions.
While people tend to only highlight the single Super Bowl tweet, Bough says Oreo created culturally relevant content in different global markets, such as India, Brazil, and the UK, for 100 days in 2012 during Oreo Twist Daily. Local teams would keep in contact during the effort, he adds, because sometimes one region would publish content on Facebook that could be lifted globally, such as a post by the India team on the movie Iron Man.
Bough, who joined Kraft in February 2012 before it split into the US grocery company Kraft Foods and global snack business Mondelez International, handles all forms of media at the latter. He creates partnerships and develops strategies to engage consumers, including digital, TV, and print for Mondelez, which has a vast family of brands, such as Chips Ahoy, Nabisco, Trident, Honey Maid, and Ritz.
Communications is a separate function from a leadership standpoint, Bough says, but is tied into every function within the company. "What's great about the way the organization is structured is that it's a seamless partnership between paid, earned, and owned," he adds. "It's about how we look at that changing landscape, which is how the consumer sees our brand. People don't see our brands in silos. It's about having a holistic communications plan."
One of the mistakes he believes marketers make is trying to create a 360-degree communications platform. He says there are too many touch points and systems for 360 degrees. The focus should be on figuring out each step of the consumer journey.
The Oreo Wonderfilled campaign, which launched in May, is an example of one of Mondelez's holistic communications plans, explains Bough. The initiative included launch events in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, as well as digital, social, and TV elements, an in-store component, and a consumer-engagement piece.
For a successful communications plan, Bough says one of the first steps the company takes is looking at consumer insights and finding where and how they share in-formation, and then actually drawing it out on a "connections map that looks like an old-school Internet website map."
The next phase is measuring the impact of each touch point and the influence they have on each other, such as the effect of mobile on TV or PR on mobile.
"The biggest failure is that people measure with isolation and don't look at the whole ecosystem," says Bough. "It's like ingredients in a recipe - each one doesn't taste great, but when you put them together, it gives you a great dish."
Julie Hamp, Toyota's CCO for North America, hired Bough to serve as senior global director of digital and social media when she was the CCO and SVP of consumer relations at PepsiCo. To this day she still calls him "the rock star."
She says he has a way of looking at a business as a media company rather than just a brand and has the natural ability to teach others his methods.
When Bonin Bough was at PepsiCo, he held “digital fitness sessions” with the CEO Indra Nooyi, says Julie Hamp, Toyota's CCO for North America and former PepsiCo CCO and SVP of consumer relations.
"He personally sat down with her and went through everything from our platform initiatives to emerging technologies to what it takes to develop digital competency in an organization," explains Hamp.
Following the sessions, Bough was asked to lead the company's first global digital center of excellence. His work served as the framework for brand initiatives by highlighting the company's need for infrastructure, content management, creation strategy, and the best talent.
"He is someone I would work with and work for any day," adds Hamp.
Bough's role at Mondelez gives him the opportunity to "bring a digital campaign across multimedia points and make it happen from TV advertising to print to digital," adds Hamp, which allows him to bring integrated experiences to an entirely new level. Mobile is a particularly important focus area for Bough, with the goal of getting the company to spend 10% of its global media budget on mobile. Mondelez does not release details about budget information, but the indus- try average for mobile spending is 5%.
"We all know this world is moving more toward mobile," says Bough. The mobile plan for Mondelez has four pillars: video equivalency, social TV, impulse media buying, and in-store activation.
With video equivalency, the main objective is to gain reach among consumers, which is why Bough is making sure the company views mobile video in the same strategic place as TV. He says mobile video is also key in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China, which is where the company is spending the majority of its emerging market investments.
Social TV is about engaging consumers through connective viewing experiences and looking at opportunities where mobile and television can work together. Cadbury launched a Shazam-enabled ad in the UK last year, allowing viewers to use the mobile music app to identify the song in the commercial. In the area of impulse media buying, Stride Gum worked with tech start-up Waze earlier this year to bring mobile coupons to consumers.
The final pillar emphasizes the retail environment and point of sale. Mondelez is working on "building a more robust in-store experience through connections with [mobile] devices," Bough explains.
Consumers used to look at displays, but are now so engrossed with mobile devices that Mondelez is looking to augment packaging and displays to better engage customers.
At the beginning of 2013, the company launched an initiative with its Nilla Wafers brand using an interactive technology called near-field communications that allows consumers to make transactions and ex-change digital content through their phones. For the program, customers tapped their smartphones near a shelf display and were instantly engaged with branded mobile content. The effort extended consumers' interaction time with the brand and drove increased purchasing without offering coupons or price deals.
In addition to the pillars, Mondelez signed a mobile-only deal with Google in May that stretches across 16 countries and includes mobile search, display, and websites. The brand declined to offer further detail on the Google deal as of press time.
With everything Bough has put in place, he has made sure to get his Mondelez colleagues on board and teach them anything they don't know, says Dana Anderson, SVP of marketing strategy and communications.
"He knows how to lead a group and get them excited about things, which tends to be digital and mobile related," she explains. "He does so with such energy that he sweeps them along on the journey, and that's also fun for our folks."
Bough, who reports to Anderson, has "walked freshly into the future," she adds.
She says Bough has done an incredible job of introducing Mondelez's internal teams to its partners, such as the work done on the Mobile Futures program after the Kraft split. The effort brought together tech startups and brands last October to develop and launch mobile pilots within 90 days that increase impulse purchases and improve in-store marketing.
"What I love about the program is the impact it has on marketers," says Bough. "We focused on tying startups to our brands, but it was also about how we became a new organization and focused on the thought of being the world's largest startup."
Out of the 126 startups that applied to participate in the program, Mondelez chose nine finalists. The program aimed to teach both the brands and its accompanying startups how to build capabilities quickly, act on them immediately, get results, and then go into the marketplace, says Bough.
Eight months after the program kicked off, Waze, which worked with Stride Gum, was bought by Google for more than $1 billion. Another piece of the initiative was about celebrating an entrepreneurial spirit within Mondelez and fostering a cultural exchange among the teams, Bough adds.
Some of the Mobile Futures pilots are still ongoing, but Bough says the next step is to see which ones the company can scale across multiple brands and markets.
Mondelez brought the teams back in August to develop their own startup concepts, leveraging the company's unique capabilities, such as distribution or pack- aging. Bough explains that the company will select two of the ideas to incubate for 90 days and Mondelez will then pitch the concepts to venture capitalists.
While Bough hasn't worked at Mondelez for long, he has had an enormous impact on the staff, explains Anderson.
"He is a whirlwind and we all enjoy how big he thinks," she says. "When we're talking, what comes out of his mouth is bigger than anybody else. It's contagious. People lift themselves up and say, 'Yes, let's do it,' and that's the most joyous thing to see."