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Intelligence Briefs

Danone CMO: traditional marketing practices are over

Paul McIntyre
Executive Editor

12 August 2019 2min read

Danone's first global CMO in ten years, Valerie Hernando-Presse, says traditional marketing is over for consumers - they don't care about brands or names. The way to "thrive and survive" is for marketers and brands to have relevancy, meaning and the boldness to hold a strong position in society (Marketing Week).


Key points

  • Danone's new CMO has a remit from global CEO Emmanuel Faber, who pledged two years ago to create "manifesto brands" that align with Danone's aspirations to become a certified "B-Corp", similar to that of a Patagonia which change their company articles to deliver on social and environmental objectives as well as profits
  • "Health is becoming holistic and in tandem with the environment so you cannot be healthy if the planet isn't healthy", says Hernando-Presse
  • She says she had "the freedom to create the function, my team, our roles, our priorities"  
  • Marketing and brands must have a strong point of view on society and be ready to be divisive
  • "Don't hide yourself behind a customer research agency and ask 'is my purpose ok?'," says Hernando-Presse
  • In addition to traditional success KPIs, Hernando-Presse has developed new metrics for Danone's marketers which include culpability; how far is marketer content engaging; how are they impacting society with their purpose; how they contributed to raise awareness of their purpose/issue in their country; how many people did they touch with their nutritional program?

My Takeout

Mark Ritson will yell at his Tasmanian forest upon hearing Danone's global CMO singing the praises of "brand purpose". Ritson is violently opposed to the notion for brands. But Valerie Hernando-Presse at least acknowledges that if marketers use purpose as a new marketing tool, sans any authenticity, they risk triggering "purpose fatigue" and a "backlash of distrust in brands as a whole". Fair point but marketers can't help themselves - they'll probably mess it up for some sort of hopeful short-term gain.      
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