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News Plus 17 Nov 2021 - 3 min read

Nestle overhaul: Ex-Unilever media and digital lead Anneliese Douglass to expand in-house creative for retailer e-comm surge, backs cross-media measurement

By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor
Nestle's Anneliese Douglass

Veteran Unilever media and digital lead Anneliese Douglass joined Nestle last month as Marketing and Communications Director as part of broad structural changes at the Swiss FMCG giant. Backing Nestle’s creative and media agencies through the talent crisis, braver creative work and expanding Nestle’s in-house agency, The Hive, with WPP’s Hogarth to meet booming supermarket e-commerce grocery demand are on Douglass’s agenda.

An important part of my role is to make sure that the agencies have the help and the support they need to retain talent. It's not just their job. It's also our job to be great clients, to help them to retain that talent.

Anneliese Douglass, Marketing & Communications Director, Nestle

Anneliese Douglass left Unilever in July and after three months gardening leave started last month in a restructured marketing role. 

Her appointment coincides with AANA Chair and Nestle’s eBusiness, Strategy and Marketing Director Martin Brown moving to a new role running the company’s consolidated coffee business. Globally, Nestle announced an overhaul of its geographic structure, expanding to five regions with the giant US and China markets now operating in their own right. 

“This move will bring us closer to consumers and customers, unlock new business opportunities and enable us to be even more agile in a fast moving consumer environment,” Nestle CEO Mark Schneider said in a statement. 

In Australia, Douglass now heads Nestle’s revamped and centralised marketing and communications remit with a “dotted line” working with marketing and brand teams in each of Nestle’s business units - and the e-commerce business, which has now moved under Nestle’s sales structure as Woolworths and Coles adapt to permanent consumer online shopping changes brought on by Covid. 

Douglass told Mi3 expanding Nestle’s in-house agency, The Hive, formed in 2020, to meet new retailer e-commerce demand was a priority. The Hive is a hybrid model in which WPP’s Hogarth employs and manages creative teams which sit within Nestle’s Australian HQ. The venture with Hogarth was “working really well”, Douglass said.

Instead of it being that digital adaptation agency and asset studio, it will become a kind of incubator for creativity, which focuses on through-the-funnel thinking,” she said. “It’s about ensuring a creative idea is relevant at every touch point all the way through to e-commerce.

“So as well as looking at what are the different audiences you are using from a media buying perspective and then creating creative that is relevant for those audiences - that's still important - but there's also the opportunity to think about how are we also addressing the lower funnel and driving people to e-comm, given the growth that’s happening there. 

“Any FMCG company’s job is to work with Coles and Woolworths and have the right structure that works with their structure.”

Beyond content and creative – Douglass says she wants to foster more “fame” in Nestle’s consumer communications, her remit also covers Nestle’s centralised media, data, communications and consumer engagement services. The latter includes teams across call centres and social media.

Douglass said her other key priorities for the coming 12 months were building out Nestle’s global marketing culture, ensuring Nestle’s agency partners were supported through the current talent crisis.      

“We’re definitely seeing the pressure in agencies because of the reliance they have on overseas talent. An important thing I think for my role is to make sure that the agencies have the help and the support they need to retain talent. It's not just their job. It's also our job to be great clients, to help them to retain that talent.”

Nestle wasn’t yet seeing an exodus of people that others were experiencing.  

“Part of my job is really about how do you make Nestle marketing really sticky so that those that are within it stay and want to stay for all the right reasons. This is why the culture part of my role is important. The business priorities for me are very much about capability and training. It is very much about culture and as well content development, media and data.”

Douglass said moves by global advertisers to create a single cross-media measurement currency were also important – an initiative the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) flagged earlier this year was a priority here. 

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