May 22, 2022

Digital Marketing Education

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General Mills promotes Doug Martin to chief brand officer

In a signal of his imprint on General Mills, Doug Martin is abandoning the title of chief marketing officer held by his predecessor.

Martin’s preferred title, chief brand officer, aligns better with the company’s strategy, said Martin, who begins today as chief disruptive growth officer and chief brand officer at the Minneapolis food giant. Martin has served for the past two years as chief disruptive growth officer. He was named interim CMO in July following the departure of Ivan Pollard.

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The following interview with Martin has been lightly edited.

What does disruptive growth look like at General Mills?

We have a couple groups within the company that we’re bringing together for one growth ecosystem. We have an internal incubator for organic startups that we are starting called G-Works, and a corporate venture capital capability called 301 Inc. that’s investing in external companies.

We bring those together to think about how are we going to create the next growth engine for General Mills: scaled businesses that can be meaningful and difference-makers. We ask how we can think about them holistically, and also ask if there are capabilities we are missing.

G-Works started from a three-person team two years ago and we have a couple of brands out now. Bold Culture is leveraging precision fermentation as an alternative to dairy. Could it be time for Yoplait to put a precision-fermented yogurt in every supermarket in America? No, the scale doesn’t exist. But is this an incredible opportunity that we need to be building right now? Yes. So we have a cream cheese we are testing in the market now.

Another great example is a brand called Good Measure. There are something like 30 million Americans living with diabetes, so we are building a brand that is squarely targeted at their needs. A food to eat without it having a huge impact on blood sugar are the kinds of things that require a pretty deep knowledge of the community, and very specific formulations. That brand has been testing at Hy-Vee, and is doing quite well. It’s not ready for everyone everywhere, but these are big growth opportunities. We should be experimenting and operating in them right now.