RT: You have a challenging job working on some of the greatest brands and ensuring they stay relevant. What is your mantra to ensure you communicate right?
RD: I have several business adages that I try to carry with me throughout my work day. One that has always echoed in my head is “how you do anything, is how you do everything”. I think this is particularly true for communicators and corporate and brand communications. The power and importance of authenticity is central to any purpose position these days. Companies and brands need to be very intentional about their actions as one decision or disjointed position can quickly define your story and your reputation for years to come. It also speaks to the need to prioritise and focus on doing the handful of things that matter most to the best of your abilities.
RT: Mondelēz has a historic legacy in India, thanks to Cadbury, which is almost a generic name for chocolates. What helps it stand out given that competition has increased dramatically over the last decade?
RD: We have been proudly making in India for more than 72 years and bringing some of India’s most loved brands to consumers over the years including Cadbury Dairy Milk, Bournvita, Oreo, 5Star among others. After seven decades of love, CDM continues to remain India’s favourite chocolate brand. I think we have remained an icon despite growing competition because our products connect with the consumers on an emotional level. We do this through breakthrough advertising and continuous consumer-centric innovations. We firmly believe in the power of purpose and have exercised it in different forms over the years. Our latest Generosity campaign (#SayThankYou) for Cadbury Dairy Milk is a testimony to these ideas in action.
RT: Mondelēz has aimed to redefine its purpose as consumers looked for healthier and more sustainable ways to satisfy their cravings. How do you communicate this purpose?
RD: Communicating corporate purpose is the easier part. It is embedding that purpose inside the company, ingraining it in our decision making as a business that is both more difficult and more important. We are two years into our purpose journey and we are learning and improving every day. Though robust leadership engagement, marketing capability building and ongoing storytelling we have established our purpose as the lens through which we see the world. We have integrated Snacking Made Right not only into our corporate identity, rituals and routines, but also our 4-year roadmap for how we measure success as a business. We fundamentally believe purpose cannot just be a story that lives outside of the operations of the company. It needs to be infused in the organisation and I am very proud of how far we have come in such a short period of time.
RT: What is the most exciting aspect of working in a chocolate and snacking company?
RD: My children are ages eight, seven and five. I try very hard to see my job through their eyes as the wonder of our brands and categories bring them endless joy. While not every day feels like a magical day inside a chocolate factory, remembering the important role our brands play in consumers’ lives fills me with great pride. You see this most pronounced in a time like the pandemic. Consumers all around the world have reached for the comfort and security of our brands and that is not something we take lightly. Every single day we need to earn that trust.
RT: What should the communication professional look forward to in 2021?
RD: Unfortunately, much of 2021 will look a lot like 2020 in terms of the management of the pandemic and our global path to recovery. If you are a successful communications professional, then you thrive on change and challenge. The good news is 2021 will continue to bring plenty of each! Our leadership has spoken about the importance of ‘accelerating into the turn’ and making sure that we define and shape how we want to emerge stronger from this crisis and double those efforts over the next 4-6 months. Corporate communications were essential in 2020 given everything we have faced internally and externally. At Mondelēz International our corporate affairs teams are looking forward to continuing to prove the tremendous value we can bring in the year ahead.
Russell Dyer is VP & Chief of Communications & Government Affairs at Mondelez International. He is a Keynote Speaker at SPECTRA.
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