CHICAGO: Mondelez International CMO Martin Renaud is defending the company’s decision to call its new marketing strategy “humaning,” despite criticism on social media.
The company defines humaning as “a unique, consumer-centric approach to marketing that creates real, human connections with purpose, moving Mondelez International beyond cautious, data-driven tactics and uncovering what unites us all.”
The company also said that it is no longer marketing to consumers, but creating connections with humans. It added that “humaning is when storytelling becomes storydoing.”
Journalists, PR pros and marketers circulated Mondelez’s announcement on Twitter this week, mocking the use of the word “humaning.”
INBOX: snack company makes my head hurt with pivot to... “humaning”? pic.twitter.com/7SyDurarSG— Sapna Maheshwari (@sapna) November 11, 2020
However, the food products company’s top marketer is sticking with the term.
“There is a lot behind one word and I understand this word can be seen sometimes as a buzzword and people are asking, ‘Why did they do that?’” Renaud told PRWeek. “I assumed that would happen in a way because I wanted my team and partners to stop and think about what we have achieved so far and where do we want to accelerate our journey. I kind of like the fact that people are wondering, ‘Why are you creating such a word?’”
Renaud added that he understands that without knowing the meaning behind the word “humaning,” it can sound “a bit strange.” But he isn’t worried about what critics are saying.
“I would like an invitation to talk about this deeper,” he said. “I hope the criticism is more, ‘Let’s understand what they meant by that and grow together.’ I am so happy to learn from others. It is a two-way conversation I would love to have.”
Renaud noted that while Ogilvy is supporting Mondelez with this initiative, his team worked internally to understand “who we are and where we want to be good.”
He added that the company decided that now is the time to internally launch its next vision because it has achieved what it set out to do when it started a growth strategy in 2018. At that point, Mondelez decided to move from a financially driven mindset to a consumer-centric one.
Mondelez accelerated its digital journey, invested more in paid media and started precision marketing, and that came with a new way of building brands, said Renaud.
“We started to think: What is so unique about our brands and categories?” he said. “The point for me is not to be unique in the world just to be unique in the world. It is to make sure we are doing the right marketing for the categories we are in.”
A recent survey Mondelez conducted found that snacking helps consumers connect with each other.
“We have all of these incredible connection stories and we will unleash our brands If we can really capture that for our brands,” Renaud said. “That is where this idea for connecting to people and connecting with humans came from and that is how we arrived at ‘humaning.’”
The marketing team’s four focus areas are: Leading with purpose, making each product “right,” mastering creativity and being digital first.
“This is the beginning of a journey,” said Renaud. “It is just an agreement that as a team we will [focus on these areas] to help us connect our brands better with our consumers to answer their needs better and drive more results.”
Recent efforts from Mondelez brands around the world include the launch of Oreo’s #ProudParent platform, celebrating families of all kinds as a PFLAG National partner; and Cadbury Dairy Milk U.K.’s Donate Your Words campaign, which aims to combat elderly loneliness.
In India, Cadbury Dairy Milk has been showing its appreciation to essential workers during the pandemic by replacing the logo on its chocolate bars with the words “thank you” printed in seven languages. Proceeds from sales of the “thank you” bars helped provide medical insurance for 17,000 essential workers in partnership with local NGOs
Mondelez International net income Q3 was $1.1 billion, down 22% from Q3 2019. Sales were $6.7 billion, up 4.9% from the year prior.